LILY COLLINS BARES ALL
The actress, author, and activist shares how suffering from an eating disorder changed her definition of healthy.
To celebrate her debut on the cover of Shape, she went to dinner with two elementary school friends after the shoot and reminisced about how awkward they all felt about their bodies as teens. “We wore boys’ board shorts over our swimsuits!” she says. The irony that Lily, 28, was unwaveringly confident and at ease on set all day in one revealing swimsuit after another was not lost on her. “I never dreamed I’d be posing in a bikini on the cover of Shape. It’s a complete 180 for me. It’s a magazine about what it means to be healthy,” she says.
You see, for Lily, the struggle to get healthy was, and still is, real. And she’s refreshingly candid about it. Although she’s fit and radiant now, for more than half a decade she suffered in silence from an eating disorder that had her restricting her intake of food, bingeing and purging, abusing laxatives and diet pills, and perhaps more significantly, hiding it all from her friends and family.
But after years of destructive behaviour, Lily, who is very close to her mum (her dad is musician Phil Collins), realised she needed to be held accountable. So she came out about her disorder. “My perspective on other people’s view of me was based on this disorder being a secret. But the more open I became about it, the more I was able to be myself,” she says.
Speaking her truth to her inner circle eventually set Lily free to share her story with the world – and because of her journalism background, she had the chops to do it.
At 15, she became a correspondent for Elle
Girl UK (she spent a lot of her childhood in England), and in 2008, she reported on the US presidential election for Nickelodeon. She was later a contributing editor for CosmoGirl and the Los Angeles
Times magazine. Her recently published book,
Unfiltered, details her experience with her disease and is “even more honest than I was intending,” she says. “I didn’t realise I’d covered so much.” But she was ready to talk. And that’s a good thing, because Lily Collins has a lot to say. Here are the chapters on her recovery.