In Netflix’s “To the Bone,” which premieres July 14, Lily Collins plays the role of Ellen, a young woman battling anorexia nervosa who enters a treatment center in an attempt to save her life. But as Collins went on to later reveal, this project was a personal one as she has a history of eating disorders herself.
Collins opened up to writer/director, Marti Noxon, in Net-A-Porter’s “The Edit” about how the illness not only affected her health, but also her career as an actress. She lost weight for her role in “To the Bone,” and explained how certain publications refused to feature her for being too thin. “I was about to embark on press for ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ and I was told that a lot of media didn’t want me in their magazines,” she said. (That’s slightly encouraging, isn’t it?) “Not just on the cover–they wouldn’t put me inside looking the way I did, even though it was for a movie. No one knew my connection to the disorder, and at the time I was super upset because I thought, this is a huge moment for me and I can’t maximize on it. But it hit me–’Oh, this is going to majorly f*** with your career now, not just your health.'”
I tried to explain [I had lost weight for a role] and she goes, ‘No! I want to know what you’re doing, you look great!’ I got into the car with my mom and said, ‘That is why the problem exists.’
Collins also rehashed a time when she was praised for her weight loss (🙄). “I was leaving my apartment one day and someone I’ve known for a long time, my mom’s age, said to me, ‘Oh, wow, look at you!’ I tried to explain [I had lost weight for a role] and she goes, ‘No! I want to know what you’re doing, you look great!'” she said. “I got into the car with my mom and said, ‘That is why the problem exists.'”
Overall, Collins hopes “To the Bone” will strike up necessary conversation surrounding eating disorders (we do, too!), which affect at least 30 million Americans and are the deadliest mental illness. “It has been amazing–crew members were coming up and saying they had experienced it through their sister or niece or friend, and with my book, too, at signings and on the street. I’ve had emails from people in the industry saying, ‘This is my story.’ That’s what this movie has the potential to do; to start conversations and take the taboo out of something that is so prevalent,” she said.