Despite fame and fortune with a role on the CW's Riverdale as well as 8.7 followers on Instagram, actress Camila Mendes admits she still suffers from self-esteem issues. At one point she said she was incredibly obsessed with dieting until three months ago, when she kiboshed that intake strategy. Now she's glad she did.
“I don’t know if it was psychological but [when I quit dieting] I felt like I was gaining weight," said Mendes, who's had more than her share of eating disorder accounts. "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.”
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Admittedly, Mendes says that like most people with body-image issues, she has her good days and her bad days. But a lot of those have been tempered by changes in the entertainment industry, which has seen a lot of media support for women who aren't exactly genetically graced with hourglass figures. Still, that didn't stop the NYU Tisch School of the Arts grad from landing the role of Veronica Lodge in the Riverdale series, which hit the small screen in 2016.
Understandably, she's contemptuous over those who don't toe the line and digitally alter their images to look thinner, which is what Cosmopolitan Philippines did to her form and that of Riverdale cohort Lili Reinhart. But countervailing that experience was being able to do a photo shoot for People magazine sans makeup for its 2018 "Beautiful People" edition.
Having a support network of friends to see her through those rises and falls certainly helps. As does garnering inspiration from the likes of Rihanna, whose own body image was part of the incentive to start the multi-sized lingerie line of Savage x Fenty, which has enthralled a growing market of plus-sized women.
Even though Mendes eats the occasional dessert, she's at least cognizant enough to resist the temptation to go overboard on the sweets, stating that she does enjoy what she calls a healthy diet. Still, in the back of her mind is that trepidation over losing control and succumbing to temptation.
“I think we’re getting to that point where there are different types of beauty and we just need to understand that,” she said. “I know I eat healthy and I know I work out and I know I lead a healthy lifestyle. So 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?”
While Mendes didn't specify what diets she was on or how she's moderated what food she's been eating the past three months, she said another healthy regimen that's benefited her has been getting roughly eight hours of sleep each night. She also focuses on staying hydrated during the day, especially on shoots under hot lights. She's also taught herself how to be less uptight about potentially losing control, and talking with peers with similar issues has also helped.
“I think you need to understand that you’re being way harder on yourself than you should be,” said Mendes. “Learn to let go. It’s so much easier said than done, and everybody has their own path.”
We hear you girl!