If You’ve Ever Struggled With Body Image, Lili Reinhart Has a Message for You

You can always count on Lili Reinhart to get real about personal topics, from body image to mental health. On stage at the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year Summit on Sunday, November 11, the Riverdale star opened up even more in a powerful speech.

Reinhart kicked off her remarks by discussing a recent struggle: Constantly seeing herself on social media and in paparazzi photos. “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.”

Those expectations were a looming—and unfair—stressor, coming from all angles. Media, she said, is often responsible for enforcing unrealistic ideals for young women like her. But, she added, it’s up to young women to start altering the narrative.

The 22-year-old said she wants the conversation around women’s bodies to change—not just for herself, but for generations to come. “I think about when I have kids in the future,” Reinhart said. “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 that 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?”

Reinhart ended her speech asking the women in the audience to follow her lead: forget unrealistic standards and celebrate one another’s individual beauty. “Remind yourself that this perfect world you see online or in magazines… in movies and television… are presented to you through many different filters,” she said. “Do not set impossible goals of meeting those fake standards. It’s unrealistic to think that your body or my body will ever look like anyone else’s. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. We are all imperfectly beautiful.”

The Riverdale star has always been honest about her struggles with body image and mental health on her personal social media accounts. In the October issue of Glamour, she opened up about experiencing body dysmorphia relating to her acne. “I have a specific type of body dysmorphia that stems from acne. I see any acne on my face as an obsessive thing. [It’s] the only thing I can think about, and it makes me want to hide,” she said.

Like she reiterated in her speech, Reinhart’s not going to apologize for being exactly who she is anytime soon. “Sometimes I feel like I look like shit. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to anyone. And I’m allowed to have those days,” she told Glamour. “I’m not going to apologize for that.”

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