Troian Bellisario of Pretty Little Liars Opens Up About Eating Disorder and Self-Harm
Troian Bellisario opens up about her struggle with an eating disorder and self-abuse in a new Seventeen cover interview.
The “Pretty Little Liars” star explains, “I started self-harming when I was a junior. I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school.”
She adds, “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.”
The pressure Bellisario put on herself became unmanageable.
“It was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody,” she tells the magazine. “I just thought if I ever expressed [to my parents] any sadness or anger or anything that’s going on with me, they would disown me.”
The actress continues, “I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behavior.” “I felt this sadness, and I thought if people really knew what was going on inside me, they wouldn’t want to hang out with me,” says Bellisario. “So I tried to keep it light and funny. I became imprisoned [by my eating disorder and self-harm]. And it was something I fought with.”
She’s conscious of the effect that television and celebrity culture can have on young people. Bellisario tells Seventeen, “I’ve heard fans say that I’m perfect on the show and I want to tell them I’ve been through two hours of hair and makeup. Don’t hold yourself up to that!” And she still has self-doubt. “Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I don’t belong,” says Bellisario.
She explains, “I just look around at [co-stars] Lucy [Hale], Shay [Mitchell], and Ashley [Benson], and I’m just like, ‘Why am I on this show?’ Sometimes I’ve felt like a fraud. Like, I’m not like these other girls – I don’t dress like that and don’t know how to do my hair. The minute I’m off that stage, I try to get as ‘me’ as possible. I do that by piling on my black eyeliner, and I put on my ripped tights. Dressing like myself again helps.”
Bellisario also knows how fortunate she is. “Whenever I get down, when I want to crawl under a rock, I just look around at them and I see how rich my life is,” she says. “You have to remember what’s most important in life. I am loved by so many people and have a wonderful job. I know I’m incredibly blessed. I am a completely lucky human being.”