Body image issues are insidious. They can make you feel like the loneliest person in the world when you look in the mirror. But the truth is that millions of people struggle to accept their body at some point in their lives. According to the International OCD Foundation, body dysmorphia — a condition in which you can’t stop thinking about perceived flaws in your appearance — affects more than 5 million people in the United States alone. And that number could be much higher, considering the stigma at play.
What these numbers say is that struggling with your body image is incredibly common, and despite how it can make you feel, you’re certainly not alone. That’s exactly why it’s so fantastic that those with large platforms are shedding light on body insecurity, because yes, it can happen to anyone. Here are seven celebrities who have been awesomely open about how they’ve coped with body image issues.
Earlier this month, the Game of Thrones star said Arya Stark’s lack of post-pubescent features negatively impacted her body image. Even though Maisie’s body started to mature “around season two or three,” Arya was “still very much like trying to be disguised as a boy,” she explained in an interview with Vogue. “I had really short hair, and they’d constantly cover me in dirt and shade my nose so it looked really broad, and I looked really manly,” she continued. “They’d also put this strap across my chest to flatten any growth that had started.…That just felt horrible for six months of the year, and I felt kind of ashamed for awhile.” That’s why Maisie has recently entered a “new phase” of her style by rocking a more feminine look to “embrace the body that I have.”
In August, The Good Place actress shared that at age 14, she was weighed in front of her classmates, and that she still deals with body dysmorphia to this day. “I was really unhappy, and I think it contributed to my ability to have an eating disorder for so long, because there was no one kind of monitoring me,” she told People. “I had no one to turn to with my sadness and bad feelings, so I just had a really rough time as a teenager.” One way Jameela copes with her body dysmorphia is by focusing on the here and now. “The only time I look in the mirror is when I put on my eyeliner in the morning and when I take it off at night,” she said. “I’m not interested in my appearance. I still suffer from body dysmorphia, so it can be very distracting for me. Doing that has helped me concentrate on progressing and doing things that enrich my life, like watching my career grow and my relationships grow.”
The Riverdale star has long been open about her experience with body dysmorphia — and that it can affect anyone, no matter your dress size. She even spent her time onstage at ‘s 2018 Women of the Year summit sharing how she would often examine her body “constantly” in the mirror, seeing something different each and every time. “How can my body look so different over the course of one day, and why do I feel like I need to apologize to the world for my ever-changing self?” Lili said. She added that these are learned behaviors and insecurities, and that the way to change our conditioning is to show “what’s real with no filter, and certainly with no shame.”
A common misconception about body dysmorphia is that it only happens to women, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When asked about his TED Talk on toxic masculinity, Jane the Virgin‘s Justin Baldoni told Cosmopolitan last year that he has “muscle dysmorphia,” and that “no matter what I do, I never feel like I’m strong enough, or muscular enough, or big enough, and that comes down to being the super skinny kid that was picked on and bullied.” Justin said he used to put a ton of pressure on himself to do shirtless scenes, but during the last season of Jane the Virgin, he figured out how to give himself a break. With two kids and multiple businesses, he was forced to give up his overly intense workout schedule. “So what I decided to do was, I’d work out like three weeks, two weeks before [my shirtless scenes] and do my best and didn’t go crazy, and I was also a lot happier this year,” he shared. “I don’t think I personally looked as good as I did in previous seasons, but I think emotionally and mentally, I was a lot happier.”
Earlier this year, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’s Lana Condor shared her experience with disordered eating for the very first time with Elle Canada. “I know what it’s like to have an eating disorder and body dysmorphia, and also what it’s like to be a friend to someone who has that,” she said. She now chooses to celebrate food, adding, “That’s why I literally post about every meal I eat.”
Like many women in the spotlight, Kylie Jenner has to deal with plenty of online body-shamers. In August, a picture of her in a bikini garnered comments questioning whether her body is “natural” and likening her curves to a full diaper. But before she became as famous as she is now, she still dealt with scrutiny — to the point where she altered her body because of it. “I was 15, and I was insecure about my lips,” Kylie shared on a 2017 episode of Life With Kylie. “I have really small lips. And it was one of my first kisses, and a guy was like, ‘I didn’t think you would be a good kisser because you have such small lips. But I took that really hard. Just when a guy you like says that — I don’t know, it just really affected me.”
Amandla Stenberg has dealt with pressure to “lose weight or oversexualize [her] body because it doesn’t look infantile,” she told Seventeen last year. “There have been several moments when I was filming a scene and someone came over with a small sports bra and said, ‘Put this on real quick. Your boobs look too big on camera.'”
But Amandla has a super sweet way of combatting her body image anxiety: She gives herself pep talks in the mirror. “Not just when it comes to my body, but when it comes to anything,” she clarified. “If I have anxiety about something and I can’t source where it’s coming from, I’ll get in the mirror and be like, ‘Okay, girl. We bout to figure this out. What’s going on?’ And we talk through it — me and my reflection.”