Actress Camila Mendes no longer has to be stick thin – and it’s all thanks to model Ashley Graham for changing the way she looks at her body.
The Riverdale star suffered from an eating disorder when she was younger and explains models like Ashley, who embrace their physique, helped her realize she didn’t have to be skinny to be successful.
“When I grew up, I was obsessed with being thin,” she tells Marie Claire Malaysia. “I always wanted to be lean, and then I went to college, I noticed my body was changing and it made me feel out of control, but I didn’t understand it. I thought I was just gaining a lot of weight…
“At that time there weren’t many voices out there that championed curvier body types. But now we see models like Ashley Graham, who are encouraging women to embrace being unique, and that made me let go of the standard that was established so long ago – that thin is the only type of beautiful.”
Camila currently works with Project Heal to raise awareness about eating disorders and help sufferers fund treatment, and she explains she wanted to be involved with the organisation because it was a cause that was close to her heart.
“Growing up, my sister had a very serious eating disorder, and was in rehab for a while,” she says. “I think the biggest message through Project Heal is to let the public know just how high the costs really are to get treatment, and how an eating disorder is not recognized as a mental illness when in fact, it is one of the deadliest mental illnesses there is.”
And she wants people to know even if it doesn’t seem or look like a person is suffering from an eating disorder, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t having issues.
“There is the common misconception that when you have an eating disorder, you are really skinny, and that is not the case at all, it’s actually quite the opposite,” she continues. “People don’t know that you don’t necessarily have to look like you have an eating disorder to have one. And because I was never that skinny, I never thought that I did.”