May 31 (UPI) — Troian Bellisario says her eating disorder was about “control,” not losing weight.
The 31-year-old actress opened up about her eating disorder in the new issue of Interview while discussing its connections to the play Equivocation and her new movie Feed.
“I felt like there was a story in me that hadn’t been told,” Bellisario said of starring in Equivocation. “It came from a point in my life when I felt like I had experienced something and, still to this day, I couldn’t get anyone — even the people who loved me the most, even my boyfriend or my mother or my father — to understand what that experience was truly like for me.”
“It was about my eating disorder, and I found there were so many people who thought that it was about losing weight or being skinny, and I couldn’t quite get them to understand that it was about control on a very, very literal level,” she added.
Bellisario further explored her experience by writing and starring in Feed, which opens in theaters July 18. She said revisiting her eating disorder for the movie “was like poking a sleeping dragon.”
“It was not easy, it was like engaging with an addiction,” the star explained. “One of the things I really wanted the film to explore was that once you have this relationship, once you have this mental illness or this disease, it never really goes away.”
“It was amazing for me to realize, ‘Oh god, this is still all just lying under the surface,'” she recalled. “But it’s amazing that you can have this huge, life-threatening thing be a part of you and still live inside of you, and almost tame it in a weird way.”
Bellisario went first public with her eating disorder in the February 2014 issue of Seventeen. She said at the time that she developed eating issues and started self-harming as a junior in high school.
“I would withhold food or withhold going out with friends, based on how well I did that day in school,” the star shared. “I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, so I think I created this bizarre system of checks and balances to create order in my world. But it really backfired.”
Bellisario is best known for playing Spencer Hastings on the Freeform series Pretty Little Liars.