Riverdale Star Opens Up About Overcoming Eating Disorders And Embracing Body Positivity

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Riverdale‘s Camila Mendes talked about the promise she made to herself when she made the decision to quit dieting three months ago.

She told People:

I was really obsessed with dieting. I don’t know if it was psychological but [when I quit dieting] I felt like I was gaining weight. Just that fear of ‘oh my god I’m gaining weight now,’ but I’ve really made this promise to myself that I’m gonna stick to this.

Back in February, Mendes had announced she was #DoneWithDieting on her Instagram:

When did being thin become more important than being healthy? I recently went to a naturopath for the first time in my life. I told her about my anxiety around food and my obsession with dieting. She phrased a pivotal question in such a way that struck a chord with me: what other things could you be thinking about if you didn't spend all your time thinking about your diet? I suddenly remembered all the activities I love that used to occupy my time. At some point in my life, I allowed my obsession with being thin to consume me, and I refused to make room in my mind for any other concerns. Somehow I had stripped myself of all the pastimes that brought me joy, and all that was left of me was my anxiety around food. My passion for education, cinema, music, etc. — all the interests that used to occupy my mind — had been eaten away by my desire to be thin, and it made me miserable. I'm done believing in the idea that there's a thinner, happier version of me on the other side of all the tireless effort. Your body type is subject to genetics, and while eating nutrient-dense foods and exercising regularly will make you healthier, it will not necessarily make you thinner, and the current system fails to make that distinction. I’m sick of the toxic narrative that the media consistently feeds us: that being thin is the ideal body type. A healthy body is the ideal body type, and that will look different for every person. I’m #donewithdieting – join me in this movement and share your story!

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Mendes, who disclosed that she had previously struggled with eating disorders has been extremely candid about her issues with body image and the media portrayal of her image, including speaking out against the photoshopping of her and co-star Lili Reinhart’s bodies on recent covers of Cosmopolitan Philippines.

Since then, Mendes has taken the opportunity to spread body positivity and more realistic representations of feminine beauty by posing makeup-free in People’s 2018 Beautiful Issue.

Which fans embraced:

But, as she told People, even when working her body positivity like a bawse, she admits she still has less-than-confident days dealing with her self-image in the public eye. Even confessing to a “fear of losing control.”

But Mendes says she now has a strategy in place for those anxiety-ridden days and confesses that good friends make all the difference:

I feel like I know I have enough friends who support me through those times, like I’ll call a friend and be like, ‘I really don’t feel good about what I ate today,’ and she’ll be like ‘Dude, it’s fine.’

And fans seem to be responding to her overall message of acceptance positively: 

Mendes sees a future where the beauty standard shifts towards health and expands to include all shapes and sizes:

I think we’re getting to that point where there are different types of beauty and we just need to understand that…why try to push myself to look a certain way because the fashion industry has told me that that’s the way you should look?


H/T: People Magazine, Twitter, Instagram



Written by Vanessa Nix Anthony

Vanessa is a freelance-flame-haired-word-ninja-for-hire with a passion for storytelling. Her writing has been featured in The Oregonian, Baltimore Magazine, Oregonlive, KPTV, Metro Parent, and Trulia, among others. She’s the author of the Amazon title, “In Less than a Year,” and her successful Portland-based copywriting agency, The Portland Writer has been helping businesses tell their brand’s unique stories for over a decade. When she’s not writing, cooking, or making magical worlds out of cardboard for her son, Vanessa is hard at work illustrating her forthcoming children’s books or belting out karaoke to favorite 80s or Disney villains tunes. TWITTER: @nessnix, INSTA: @nessnixtony