Since making her debut as Betty Cooper in 2017, Lili Reinhart has used her following to increase awareness about body image and mental health—including her own struggles. So when a Riverdale fan recently asked the actress on Twitter what it’s like belonging to one of TV’s most “chiseled” casts, Reinhart’s answer was an honest reflection on how the show has impacted her body image.
In a tweet that has since been deleted, a Riverdale fan pressed Reinhart to address her role among her “chiseled” co-stars. Reinhart responded, explaining that acting on Riverdale has made her feel “intimidated” and “insecure” in her own skin.
“Actually, not everyone on this show is perfectly chiseled. And even I feel intimidated by the physique of my surrounding cast mates sometimes when I have to do bra/underwear scenes,” she said. “I’ve felt very insecure due to the expectation that people have for women on tv, what they should look like.”
But Reinhart is trying her best to leave those expectations behind her. She continued, “I have come to terms with my body and that I’m not the kind of person you would see walking on a runway during fashion week. I have bigger boobs, I have cellulite on my thighs/butt, and my stomach sticks out rather than curves in.”
In a profession where women’s bodies are often scrutinized, Reinhart added that she’s felt even more insecure in recent months due to weight gain caused by her depression. But not everyone has the same body shape or size—and Reinhart’s hoping she can remind fans of that despite her “daily” struggles with body image.
“This is still something I struggle with on a daily basis,” she wrote, “and it doesn’t help when I’m being compared to other women. I have gained weight due to depression the last two months and I’ve felt very insecure about it. But I did a recent bra and underwear scene and felt it was my obligation to be strong and show confidence in myself, looking as I do. And I want other young women to see my body on tv and feel comfort in the fact that I’m not a size 0. And I’m not a perfect hourglass shape.”
Hours later, Reinhart spoke out again when online commenters insinuated the experiences she shared about her body image weren’t authentic. “How sad is it that I come forward about my insecurities and people have the audacity to tell me that my feelings aren’t valid,” she tweeted. “People like this, the ones who leave these ignorant comments, are the reason why people don’t speak out and end up struggling alone.”
She elaborated about the post again on her Instagram stories. “Imagine telling someone that their feelings are irrelevant and they should be quiet based on what you deem to be acceptable or not. Can’t relate,” she wrote.
It’s going to take more than a few Internet trolls to silence Reinhart. From her appearance at Glamour‘s Women of the Year Summit in 2018 to her recent CoverGirl campaign, she’s used her time in the spotlight to address difficult-to-discuss issues like acne, body image, and anxiety. The reason? She wants to make those conversations more positive for future generations, including her own children.
“I think about when I have kids in the future,” Reinhart said in her Glamour WOTY Summit speech. “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?”
Fans can expect to hear even more honestly from Reinhart when her debut poetry collection, Swimming Lessons, arrives in May.