The actress, author, and activist has known some rocky times, both emotionally and spiritually, but she’s come out stronger and more determined to dive back into life. Here, she talks about exciting projects, soul-nourishing food, and her fierce sense of body pride.
Tori Praver Swimwear Eloisa bikini top and Cristina bottom (www.bloomingdales.com). Jennifer Meyer large open circle earrings (www.ylang23.com). Beladora gold bangle (www.beladora.com). Chan Luu Gunmetal Mix bracelet set (www.chanluu.com).
To celebrate her debut on the cover of Shape, she went to dinner with two elementary school friends after the shoot and reminisced about how awkward they all felt about their bodies as teens. “We wore boys’ board shorts over our swimsuits!” she says. The irony that Lily, 28, was unwaveringly conﬁ dent and at ease on set all day in one revealing swimsuit after another was not lost on her. “I never dreamed I’d be posing in a bikini on the cover of Shape. It’s a complete 180 for me. It’s a magazine about what it means to be healthy,” she says.
You see, for Lily, the struggle to get healthy was, and still is, real. And she’s refreshingly candid about it. Although she’s ﬁt and radiant now, for more than half a decade she suffered in silence from an eating disorder that had her restricting her intake of food, bingeing and purging, abusing laxatives and diet pills, and perhaps more signiﬁcantly, hiding it all from her friends and family.
But after years of destructive behaviour, Lily, who is very close to her mum (her dad is musician Phil Collins), realised she needed to be held accountable. So she came out about her disorder. “My perspective on other people’s view of me was based on this disorder being a secret. But the more open I became about it, the more I was able to be myself,” she says.
Speaking her truth to her inner circle eventually set Lily free to share her story with the world – and because of her journalism background, she had the chops to do it.
At 15, she became a correspondent for Elle Girl UK (she spent a lot of her childhood in England), and in 2008, she reported on the US presidential election for Nickelodeon. She was later a contributing editor for CosmoGirl and the Los Angeles Times magazine.
Her recently published book, Unﬁltered, details her experience with her disease and is “even more honest than I was intending,” she says. “I didn’t realise I’d covered so much.” But she was ready to talk. And that’s a good thing, because Lily Collins has a lot to say. Here are the chapters on her recovery.
TEXT DIDI GLUCK PHOTOS ADAM FRANZINO STYLING JILL LINCOLN & JORDAN JOHNSON/THE WALL GROUP HAIR GREGORY RUSSELL/THE WALL GROUP FOR R+CO MAKEUP MATTHEW VANLEEUWEN/ STARWORKS ARTISTS MANICURE TOM BACHIK FOR LANCÔME
Lisa Marie Fernandez Farrah Army Bonded Maillot wet suit (www.lisamariefernandez.com). Tory Burch Clouded Leopard string bikini top (www.toryburch.com). Smith + Mara open pave diamond thin cuff (www.smithandmara.com). Chan Luu Gunmetal Mix bracelet set. Sydney Evan yellow gold and black onyx roll bangle (www.sydneyevan.com). Zoe Chicco toggle chain wire bracelet (www.zoechicco.com).
1 BODY IMAGE REBOOT
“I used to see this image as healthy, and what I thought was perfect with the muscle deﬁ nition and everything. But healthy now is how strong I feel. It’s a beautiful change because if you’re strong and conﬁ dent, it doesn’t matter what muscles are showing. Today, I love my shape. My body is the shape it is because it holds my heart.”
Missoni bikini top and bottom (similar styles at www.missoni.com). Vince crop tank (www.vince.com). Ariel Gordon Horizon earrings (www.arielgordonjewelry.com). Hearts on Fire Triplicity Triangle Lariat necklaces (www.heartsonfire.com). Jennifer Meyer gold bar link bracelet (www.barneys.com) and yellow gold trillion diamond ring (www.ylang23.com). Sydney Evan yellow gold and pave, and white gold and pave diamond rectangle bangles. Chan Luu Gunmetal Mix bracelet set. Zoe Chicco single diamond ring.
2 THERE'S SUCH ATHING AS CAREER KARMA
“In October 2015, when I got the book deal, I wasn’t ﬁlming anything. Then I got ﬂooded with work [including getting a leading role in an Amazon TV show called The Last Tycoon, and the movie Okja with Jake Gyllenhaal for Netﬂix].
“People told me to put the book on hold, but I knew it would be worth it to keep going. And, as luck would have it, the movie To the Bone came up [playing a woman sent to a rehab centre for her eating disorder].
“Although I was in recovery for several years before the movie, preparing for the ﬁlm allowed me to gather facts about eating disorders from professionals. It was a new form of recovery for me. I got to experience it as my character, Ellen, and as Lily.
“I was terriﬁed that doing it would take me backward, but I had to remind myself that they hired me to tell a story, not to be a certain weight. In the end, it was a gift to be able to step back into shoes I had once worn but from a more mature place.”
Zeus + Dione Patmos one-piece swimsuit (www.zeusndionecom). Jennifer Meyer yellow gold diamond crescent hoops. Shay Jumbo Nameplate bangle, Essential Nameplate bangle and Baguette orbit ring (www.shayfinejewelry.com).
3 NURTURE AND NATURE
“I’m a clean eater. I love chicken, ﬁsh, vegetables, and grains like quinoa. I don’t eat red meat. I steer clear of processed foods. I’m very farm-to-table; growing up in the English countryside, it was a way of life, not a trend.
“I also treat myself to the occasional dessert when I’m out with friends. But on the daily, I want to give my body what it needs to be the best version of myself. When I splurge, it’s usually on things that I’ve baked because it’s physically and emotionally satisfying.
“I’m not glutenfree or vegan, but I love baking things because of the sense of accomplishment I get from creating something yummy and healthy. I make everything from doughnuts to birthday cakes and bananawalnut bread.
“There was a time when I wouldn’t let myself taste those kinds of foods, let alone make them. I bake from the heart. I put love out there, and it goes right back in.”
4 EXERCISE IS EVERVTHING
" I'm a Pso I love swimming whenever I can. I was on the track team in high school and hated it. Now, I like to run by myself and listen to my music [see Lily’s Positively Pumped Playlist]. But what I love most is Body by Simone (www.bodybysimone.com
). It’s a method that incorporates strengthening and toning. I’ve been training privately with a trainer, and we do isometrics and ballet moves. It’s not Crossﬁ t, but it keeps me on my toes. To be honest, I try to be active in some way every day. It’s my time to disappear and be in my own world. I can also push myself past what I thought I was capable of. Of course, if I’m travelling or tired, I give my body a rest. I used to feel guilty if I skipped a workout in the past, but now it just means life is offering up other things that I want to do instead. Those ellipticals will always be there but experiences won’t.”
Fleur du Mal mesh slip dress (www.fleurdumal.com). Missoni gold bikini top and bottom (similar styles at www.missoni.com). Hearts on Fire aerial diamond ear vine earrings. Vintage Van Cleef & Arpels diamond eternity band (www.beladora.com). Beladora vintage yellow gold and diamond ring.
5 BEUTY: JUST THE BASICS
" I'm reading quite lowmaintenance. I stay hydrated, and I always remove my makeup at the end of the day, and slather on sunscreen at the beginning of it. I always carry lip balm, too.
“When I get on a long ﬂight, I take off my makeup and let a hydrating cream sit on my skin through the whole trip. I swear by Lancome’s Geneﬁ que mask [Lily is a Lancome ambassador]. When you take it off , your complexion is super radiant. I’m very aware of how important skincare is, but I try not to overdo it.”
"I TRY TO BE ACTIVE EVERY DAY; IT’S MY TIME TO DISAPPEAR AND BE IN MY OWN WORLD."
Tori Praver Swimwear Eloisa bikini top and Cristina bottom (www.bloomingdales.com). Jennifer Meyer large open circle earrings. Beladora gold bangle. Chan Luu Gunmetal Mix bracelet set ($115) Cuff: Lily’s own.
6 I’M AN OPEN BOOK
“I did consider that talking about my struggles with an eating disorder would over shadow my accomplishments as an actor, but I also knew this was something I needed to do to move forward as a human being and an actress. I needed to let go. I’ve always strived to start conversations about taboo subjects with young women. Sharing my story in Unﬁltered happened to coincide – not strategically! – with To the Bone, but I’ve always admired people who are relatable and honest. Having suffered from an eating disorder doesn’t deﬁne me; I’m not ashamed of my past.”
LILY’S POSITIVELY PUMPED PLAYLIST
Major Lazer & DJ Snake
Take Over Control
Afrojack (featuring Eva Simons)
Call Your Girlfriend
Don’t Wanna Know
Paciﬁc Coast Highway
Two Friends (featuring MAX)
Kill The Lights
Alex Newell & DJ Cassidy (featuring Nile Rodgers)
Call On Me
Back 2 U
DJs Steve Aoki & Boehm (featuring Walk The Moon)
Disclosure (featuring Sam Smith)
Christine and the Queens
Seinabo Sey (Kygo Remix)