You probably know Lily Collins from her most recent movie made for Netflix, To The Bone. The movie generated a lot of buzz, especially being about a 20-year-old anorexic girl who is in and out of recovery programs. Movies are visual and it makes a difference. Most reviews warning against watching the movie were based in the idea that visual representation hits harder than words on a page. If young women were to hear or read about a peer with an eating disorder, they might not feel the same emotional trigger as seeing an unhealthy weight on screen. What further polarized reviewers was the fact that Collins herself lost weight for the role.
Collins also had reservations about the movie before filming. Only years before, Collins was struggling with an eating disorder herself. Being known for her roles in acting, she was afraid speaking about her eating disorder publicly would “overshadow” her acting career. However, quite the opposite happened. When Collins published her essay collection titled Unfiltered, she reflected on how much attaching names and faces to stories can foster open and honest conversation. Collins covered topics ranging from a past relationship that was emotionally abusive to her struggles with anorexia. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Collins explained the “The second that you realize you're not alone, we can all open up in a more relaxed manner and not have all this stigma attached to it.”
Through her writing and acting, Collins has used her platform to show how you can face your demons. In every interview, Collins stresses how her healing will never really end. For her, sharing her story is part of the healing process. While making the movie To The Bone, Collins worked with a variety of health professionals to work on her own mental health. She explained that this helped her realize the story she was telling was not about the number on a scale, but about the struggle with an individual’s idea of perfection. What we can all learn from Collins is the importance of knowing ourselves and what we need to do to heal, and not being afraid to find others that make you feel a little less alone.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.