Jane the Virgin's Justin Baldoni talks about his struggles with body dysmorphia, and how he feels he's never "strong enough"
Baldoni, 34, gave a TED Talk in January where he revealed his struggle with body dysmorphia, and said Tuesday that he never feels like his body is muscular enough.
“I think the actual thing, if I were to be clinically diagnosed, would be muscle dysmorphia,” he tells Cosmopolitan. “No matter what I do, I never feel like I’m strong enough, or muscular enough or big enough, and that comes down to being the super skinny kid that was picked on and bullied. It’s basically a misperception of the way that I look at myself compared to the way the world sees me.”
Baldoni said that the super-fit days of his youth set a body precedent that he feels the need to maintain.
“It’s like a blessing and a curse,” he said. “When I was in my early twenties, I was in really, really good shape. Because I had the time. I was 22, it was the peak of my testosterone, and I could work out for an hour and a half a day. But the problem was, it became a part of my identity, because that’s how television and the TV business saw me — I could take off my shirt. If you look at my career, it’s part of every job I ever had. It’s also been a struggle for me because I’d always felt like I had so much more to offer, but that was how I was seen, and that was also how I was making my money.”
Now, Baldoni feels like he’s struggling to maintain his ripped body, even if other people thinks he looks great.
“Where it got challenging for me was, I’m now 34, so my body doesn’t naturally stay in that, ‘Oh, I’m just walking around with an 8-pack all the time’ [shape]. And because I have my insecurities with my physique, because of my history, I’d put a lot of pressure on myself before I had to do these scenes. So I would get anxiety around it,” he said.
Baldoni now opens up regularly about his body dysmorphia on social media because he sees it as a problem that goes undiscussed.
“I think so many of us have that,” he said. “I would argue that most men who spend hours at the gym have it. So I just decided to use my social media as a form of therapy and to be super, super honest, because there’s so many things that men don’t talk about, women don’t talk about, parents don’t talk about. We just constantly compare ourselves to each other, and it’s so destructive.”
And Baldoni has relaxed some of his body struggles, largely out of necessity.
“This last season I really didn’t get to work out that much. Because I have a life, I have two kids now, I have multiple businesses. I had to give up this intense workout schedule,” he said. “So what I decided to do was, I’d work out like three weeks, two weeks before [my shirtless scenes] and do my best and didn’t go crazy, and I was also a lot happier this year. I don’t think I personally looked as good as I did in previous seasons, but I think emotionally and mentally, I was a lot happier. And I think I was a bit more normal looking. Hopefully! I don’t know.”