Troian Bellisario has a film coming out, so she’s making the usual rounds — which means that we all get to read interviews from this very intelligent actress.
She actually wrote Feed in addition to starring in it, probably because she’s amazing. Her costar is Tom Felton, either because he’s talented or because he’s every Millennial’s fantasy costar — you decide.
He’s kind of been everywhere lately, from the first season of Murder In The First to the latest season of The Flash. It sounds like his role in Feed is kind of a weird one, because it sounds like kind of a weird movie.
Not as weird as the 2005 film of the same name, which was about cannibalism and forced-feeding … though that kind of brings us to the upsetting subject brought up during Troian’s interview.
Troian’s spoken about her battle with an eating disorder in the past, but now she’s sharing something new about it.
“There was this emptiness in me that I wanted to, not fill, but engage,” she tells Interview of how her eating disorder fueled her early drive to act.
“I felt like there was a story in me that hadn’t been told, and it was a very personal story.”
Unfortunately, eating disorders are complex to experience and almost impossible to explain to people who have never had them.
“I couldn’t get anyone — even the people who loved me the most, even my boyfriend or my mother or my father — to understand what that experience was truly like for me.”
She must have felt so isolated by that — which, even after the fact, can be damaging.
“It was about my eating disorder, and I found that there were so many people who thought that it was about losing weight or being skinny.”
A lot of people, even in this day and age, think of eating disorders as just, like, extreme dieting. Eating disorders come in a variety of forms with their own pernicious quirks, but none of them are healthy and none of them are really about bikini season.
“I couldn’t quite get them to understand that it was about control on a very, very literal level.”
That struggle still informs her passion for storytelling, as an actress and as a writer. Sometimes you gotta take your experiences and use them as fuel.
Good for her for speaking out about it.
Don’t get us wrong — somebody’s eating disorder is nobody’s business but their own. But when you speak out about it, especially when you have a platform like Troian does, you can help change people’s lives.
Maybe someone reads her interview and seeks help for themselves. Or maybe just someone understands what a loved one went through.
Pretty Little Liars dealt with eating disorders as early as the first season, which is all that we watched, because that season alone was enough to take over our lives and literally haunt our dreams.
It was good but it was just … so much. Also, we binged it in a week.
But Ashley Benson’s character was, at one point during that season, blackmailed into wolfing down a set of cupcakes. Which might sound like the opposite of a problem, but her character had an eating disorder and it was a problem.
In real life, eating disorders can have devastating consequences.
People die. Some of them are teenagers, and some of them are young adults.
Some of them aren’t even teens yet — there are tweens and younger who battle with issues of control and self-image. This can be because of parental pressure or just a response to major life stresses.
It’s so not the same as skipping a meal every now and then because you’re busy or because you want to fit into a certain outfit.
Troian, of course, is doing so much better these days. Troian’s slender beauty may always be the case — body frames are determined more by genetics than anything else.
Eating disorders can be a special challenge for celebrities.
Special, if not necessarily worse. Celebrities can face more body-shaming than other people, because of course they do.
That means magazines, photographers, directors, and social media.
On the other hand, celebrities tend to have the resources to seek help. Not everybody does.
It’s always the worst on isolated young people who don’t even know where to turn or how to describe what they’re experiencing.
But look at her now — writing feature films and also starring in them, like a boss.
Feed sounds kind of weird from what we’ve read, and it might have some sort of twincesty vibe. But weird movies can be the best.
And it sounds super interesting.
Writers draw from their own experiences to tell stories, and that can manifest in ways that you wouldn’t expect.
You can bet that the unhealthy obsessions in Feed were in some way informed by Troian’s own experiences. Even if she never had a, like, psychic twin connection followed by a tragic death.