Zoe Kravitz bravely opens up about the battle so many women face

It’s easy to believe that the beautiful celebrities we see on screen must have great body image – but that’s not always the case. Zoe Kravitz, who you might recognize her as Christina in Divergent, just took a big step towards reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders.

Zoe, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, recently opened up about struggling with both anorexia and bulimia in high school and into her early 20s. “I had a really hard time when I was 16, 17, 18,” she told Complex Magazine. “Just [a hard time] loving myself.”

Though Zoe admits that being surrounded by fame probably increased the intensity, she thinks all women face similar insecurities and “systemic ideas about beauty.”

“I think it is part of being a woman… I felt pressured,” she said.

While Zoe has been in recovery for the past two years, she recently played an anorexic character Marie in the upcoming movie The Road Within, which forced her to revisit some of her past troubles.

“That’s part of what actually attracted me to the role; I think it’s really important to talk about body image and the struggles a lot of women have with food – especially in the entertainment industry,” Zoe said in an interview with Nylon Magazine.

Despite her clear purpose and determination, Zoe admits the physical and mental demands of the role were a challenge. She recounted one time when she felt like she wasn’t skinny enough, despite being able to see her rib cage. “I put my body through so much and at first it was really hard to even have a conversation because I was so lightheaded all the time,” Zoe said.

At first, she resisted gaining the weight back after filming ended (she had dropped 20 pounds, weighing a mere 90 at the time of filming). Eventually, she realized that she had to regain control of her body and her mind.

“I feel like something has left my body, like some part of me is gone now, something that was making me so insecure,” Zoe said. “And it feels amazing.”

Now, Zoe is speaking out to help other girls who may need to confront their own battle with eating disorders. Her portrayal of Marie doesn’t end with a happily-ever-after, but it does show that she is a strong young woman – she is more than her eating disorder.

Ultimately, Zoe thinks the problem is that women are taught that it’s not okay to think they’re beautiful. “It’s either: you’re conceited, or insecure, as opposed to just loving yourself,” she said. When paired with a society that prioritizes beauty as one of the most important qualities for women, it can be difficult to ignore that pressure.

Zoe’s words are another important reminder that unrealistic beauty ideals affect everyone, no matter who they are. But, as she shows, it is possible to work through those negative emotions and find a healthy balance. And by the way,  you are TOTALLY allowed to think you’re beautiful, because it’s true.

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