Riverdale star Camila Mendes has opened up about her battle with an eating disorder, and how she was in denial about needing help until her acting career took off.
“I don’t even think I knew I had an eating disorder until I was in the industry,” Mendes, 24, discussed in a panel for PopSugar with model Candice Huffine on Saturday.
The 24-year-old star admitted to downplaying her personal struggles because her big sister was also bulimic.
“I had this mentality … [my sister’s] situation was a lot more serious than mine so I’d always find comparisons like, ‘Oh, I’m not like that so I must not have an eating disorder like I just purge every once in a while, it’s not a big deal, right?'”
It wasn't until Mendes eventually got involved with Project Heal - a nonprofit organization that helps raise money to aid people recovering from eating disorders - that she realised she was also suffering from the serious mental illness.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve been in denial about my issues,'” she said.
It was dealing with fittings on set of The CW show that pushed Mendes to eventually get help. “I started to see a therapist and started getting serious about recovery when I couldn’t get through a fitting.”
Every few episodes of the show entailed a two-hour fitting session that Mendes claimed to be “overwhelming” because she was trying on clothes for her character Veronica Lodge, that she wouldn't ever wear, like tight dresses, short skirts, and outfits that showed more skin.
“It was like so the opposite of what I like to wear and it was really uncomfortable,” she said. “It made me really insecure, so it got to a point where I couldn’t get through a fitting. Thirty minutes in, I was crying … I was like, ‘Why don’t things fit me a certain way?'”
Thankfully, the uncomfortable process pushed Mendes to deal with her body image issues.
“That’s when I made a change and I started seeing a therapist and I highly recommend it,” she said.