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Camila Mendes: I’d ‘Binge and Purge’ at the Beginning of ‘Riverdale’

Really talk. from Riverdale Camilla Mendes opened up about her eating disorder recovery — and how her body image issues were exacerbated when she landed a starring role on the hit CW series.

“I’d watch every episode and say, ‘Oh my God, my stomach in there.’ I was so insecure, and it really fueled my eating disorder,” Mendes, 28, said during the Thursday, Jan. 26 episode of the “Going Mental With Eileen Kelly” podcast. “L had one at various times in my life. Kind of in high school towards the end of senior year and then it came back to college. And then Season 1 of Riverdale came back. And it was because, like, when you’re in your early twenties, your body fluctuates. My body hadn’t come to itself yet. And I was like, looking at myself, tearing myself apart. My stomach, my arms, my chin – whatever – I would obsess over.

The Revenge star, who has portrayed Veronica Lodge on the teen drama since the show premiered in 2017, explained that her off-camera struggles often got in the way of her work while filming season 1, saying: “It really rings true with you process and your ability to emulate and be authentic.

Mendes admitted that she “really scared to eat carbs “at that time, and” would avoid [them] for a long time. Then I would binge and eat a bunch and then purge.

She explained it was a “terrible cycle,” adding that she started seeing a nutritionist to overcome her fear of certain foods. “She [the nutritionist] helped me overcome that by reintroducing bread into my life to be, like, ‘Look, it’s not going to kill you.’”

Mendes has often been outspoken about her struggles with body image over the years. In February 2018, the Virginia native revealed she was done dieting after realizing that “being thin” had become “more important than being healthy.”

“I recently went to see a naturopath for the first time in my life. I told her about my fear of food and my obsession with dieting,” she wrote via Instagram at the time. “She phrased a crucial question in a way that appealed to me: What else could you think 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.

The Palm Springs actress shared that maintaining a small frame began to “consume” her to the point where there was no room left to focus on other “concerns.”

“Somehow I had stripped myself of all the pursuits that brought me joy, and all that was left of me was my fear of food,” she continued. “My passion for education, cinema, music, etc. – all the interests that used to occupy me – had been eaten away by my desire to be thin, and it was making me miserable.”

The previous year, Mendes described how other women in her family struggled with eating disorders in the same way she did.

“Growing up, I watched my big sister suffer from it for many years, and I’ve had periods in my life where I also had symptoms,” she said, noting that she joined Project Heal — which provides grants for people with an eating disorder who can’t afford treatment – to “help break the stigma around eating disorders.”

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