Lili Reinhart has never shied away from speaking her truth. From having a body dysmorphic disorder related to her battle with acne to dealing with depression, the Riverdale actress is open about it all. She's even made it a point to commend Demi Lovato for the singer's openness about mental illness and eating disorders. That is why it comes by no surprise that Lili was awarded the H&M Conscious Award at Variety's Power of Young Hollywood event for her body positivity and mental health activism. The star opened up in a recent interview all about her journey with speaking out about her personal struggles and how it's helped others.
"I've never been ashamed of having depression," the 21-year-old actress said in an interview with Variety on set of Riverdale. "If there's something I feel really passionate about and feel the need to comment on, then I will."
So what made Lili start speaking out on mental health and body image issues in the first place? For her, it wasn't even a conscious decision — being open and honest about these things is just something she naturally does.
"I truly can say it was never something I had to stop and consider whether I was comfortable doing or not. I just did it. It didn't really matter how many followers I had. I've always kind of spoken up about stuff like that, and been very open and honest about it," Lili said.
Lili went on to explain how she was surprised to see how many people's lives she's influenced by just being her true self.
She added, "When I started doing conventions to meet fans, I was able to meet people face-to-face and have them tell me, 'I didn't know how to talk to my parents about [mental health], and then I heard you speak about it and was motivated to get help.' At first, people saying things like that didn’t really register. It was just like, 'Oh, that’s a nice thing to say.' But then it kind of stops you in your tracks to think that something you did has actually influenced someone’s life. That's such a deep thought, and something that you really just have to stop and process. It’s really quite emotional, and incredible."
It's surprising to Lili that people don't talk about these things more – and realizing that she's actually helping fans by talking about her issues is something that she's still trying to wrap her head around.
"I've always been aware of depression, anxiety and body dysmorphia, because it's something I've lived with for a while. But being exposed to this industry and so many more people from all around the world, I'm really seeing how closed off people are from talking about it, so it's been a process of learning that what I'm doing is actually helping," Lili explained.
It's so incredible to see Lili, someone in the spotlight, using her platform to spread mental health and body image awareness.