Lili Reinhart was already frustrated with society’s unrealistic body standards and the rude comments on social media, but it only got worse as she dealt with her “fluctuating weight” over the last year.
The Riverdale star, 22, spoke out about her own body insecurities and the pressure to look like photoshopped models during her speech at the Glamour Women of the Year Summit on Sunday.
“For the past year… I’ve been quietly trying to navigate my fluctuating weight and I’ve faced criticism in the past for talking about my body image,” she said. “People told me that I didn’t have the right to talk about being self-conscious about my body because I was skinny. And I understand how it seems inappropriate for someone who is average size to talk about problems with weight gain. But, my point is, I didn’t think anything was wrong with my body until I was in an industry that rewards and praises people for having a smaller waist than I will ever have.”
Reinhart, who dealt with false rumors that she was pregnant in May, said that she started picking apart photos of herself.
“I became hyper-aware of my changing body,” she said. “I could see the difference in my shape in photos and wondered if anyone else was noticing. I felt this strange, constant struggle of having to live up to the expectation of the appearance that I had already established to the world.”
“So I found myself examining my body constantly in the mirror. Sometimes thinking…’Okay, like, I was being too hard on myself. Everything’s fine. I’m still the same size. Everything is fine.’ Only go back to the mirror a few hours later… and notice that my stomach looked completely different,” she continued. “So I was thinking, was my reflection lying to me? How can my body look so different over the course of one day and why do I feel like I need to apologize to the world for my ever-changing self? I didn’t want the world to think I was catfishing them with my appearance or making myself out to be a certain size and shape when clearly my body was changing.”
The CW star said she started to wonder if this was a form of body dysmorphia, or if it’s just something ever woman feels, but doesn’t discuss. And Reinhart thought about how she would talk about this with her future children.
“Will my daughter be self-conscious about gaining weight? Will she feel the need to explain her body or justify it to anyone as it changes? Will she feel the same need that I do now — to apologize to her peers and say ‘My body doesn’t usually look like this,’ or ‘I’m just a little heavier than usual right now’? How utterly ridiculous is it that we even think about explaining the nature of our bodies to other people?” she asked.
Reinhart said that the perfectly airbrushed people on social media and in magazines are partly to blame for making people feel inadequate.
“We aren’t born with these insecurities,” she said. “We are told to be insecure about certain things. We are conditioned to feel ashamed or embarrassed about certain parts of ourselves.”
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But Reinhart recognized that it’s not something that can change overnight. Rather, it’s about each person finding their strength and pushing away the negativity. For her, that means unfollowing some people on Instagram and focusing on herself.
“I don’t have the perfect solution,” she said. “But I have discovered some things that help me have those better days. I started to purge myself of content that made me feel less beautiful on a daily basis. I unfollowed the accounts on Instagram that made me question the shape and curves of my own body. I also started living a more active lifestyle because I wanted to feel healthy on the inside, which required some thoughtful effort on my part. But I wanted to know that I was healthy and strong without having identical measurements to those other women that I’m seeing.”
And Reinhart encouraged the people in the audience to accept their body.
“So embracing your natural beauty, does not exclude anyone. There is no fine print. You can be naturally beautiful with acne or scars, cellulite or curves. So let’s celebrate each other, and ourselves, as we are, as we will be, and as we were meant to be. Unique. Imperfect. Beautiful. And so incredibly powerful.”