Camila Mendes Shared How She Bonded with a Fan Over Body-Positivity
At Shape 's recent Body Shop event, Mendes encouraged a fan to share her story to illustrate that feeling insecure and embarrassed can happen to anyone.
Ever wish you could have time to chill with a celeb you admire and become instant friends? That's exactly what happened to a Riverdale fan named Georgia, who found herself sitting next to Camila Mendes (a.k.a Veronica Lodge) on a plane from Brazil to California. At Shape's 2018 Body Shop event (where both women were headed) Mendes recounted their interaction that led to a surprising discussion on body image.
While speaking to contributing fitness director Jen Widerstrom, Mendes talked about meeting Georgia: "I realized that it was meant to be that she sat next to me on the plane," said Mendes, before inviting Georgia to the stage to share her story with the audience. (Related: How One Body-Positive Post Started a Beautiful IRL Friendship)
Georgia went on to explain that she was overweight as a kid, and gained more weight during her teenage years, eventually becoming morbidly obese. She said she became depressed and tried medicine, dieting, and exercise to lose weight, but nothing worked. Georgia said she eventually did lose a lot of weight, but admitted that didn't make her feel any better. (Read more about why weight loss isn't the secret to happiness as well as why losing weight doesn't always lead to body confidence.)
"At the end of the day, I lost a lot of weight, but then I had stretch marks and scars and I was still very insecure about my body," she said. Georgia said she realized that she wasn't alone in her struggle. The more she talked about it, the more she realized just how many of her friends were also experiencing insecurities. Ultimately, talking about it openly with others helped her to embrace her body, she shared.
Opening up to the Body Shop crowd, Mendes discussed her own journey to body-love. The actress has been upfront about struggling with an eating disorder in high school, again in college, and again while filming Riverdale. Eventually, she says she realized just how much her disorder was harming her. "I couldn't be sexually stimulated if I didn't feel confident in my body...I felt fat, I was like, no one touch me, and that's when it starts to mess with your life," she said. Seeing a therapist helped her make progress, and now she's partnered with Project Heal to spread the message that she's #DoneWithDieting. (While at Body Shop, Mendes also admitted that she still struggles to love her belly-a common area of insecurity that many women can relate to.)
While the two women's stories are similar-they share a common theme of self-doubt and shame, but also acceptance and body-love), they're also different, which highlights that disordered eating and/or body insecurities don't always manifest the same way. "People think people with disorders look sick, you know, that they're always boney and really thin, but that's not true," said Mendes. "Most of the time, people with eating disorders don't 'look' like they have eating disorders." (FYI, Ashley Graham inspired Camila Mendes to stop obsessing over being skinny.)
It's not easy to talk so openly about your body insecurities. (In fact, it took Mendes a few tries to convince Georgia to take the stage, but she did it.) Props to both ladies for talking about their struggles and their triumphs.