“Silicon Valley” star Amanda Crew is opening up to People about overcoming an eating disorder, revealing that she once weighed in at a shocking 95 pounds.
“From a young age I thought that being skinny was my value and my worth,” the native of Langley, B.C., tells People. “So when I started going through puberty, I felt like I was no longer skinny and there was nothing special about me.”
After struggling with an eating disorder throughout her teens, things didn’t get any better when the young actress began her career in her early 20s.
“I was like, ‘how could I have a healthy relationship with my body in an industry that’s so obsessed with how I look?’” says Crew, now 31. “In my diseased mind I had to either keep restricting my food, or I was going to balloon.”
In addition to extreme dieting, she also became manic about exercising. “If I couldn’t work out it would send me into a panic,” she explains, adding that the combo of limited food and excessive exercise once led her to trip during a hike.
“I tripped because I had nothing in my system,” she says, revealing the experience gave her an epiphany. “I was physically forced to sit still for the first time, and I couldn’t deny the mess I was in anymore. It was like I woke up from a coma. I had this awakening of what I had done to myself.”
It was at this point that she began seeking help, and met a woman who was in recovery from her own eating disorder. She wound up becoming Crew’s inspiration.
“Because she had been through it I knew she wouldn’t have judgment,” she says. “It gave me the strength to even say that I had an eating disorder, because before then I had been in denial, even to myself.”
Admitting it’s taken “a lot of therapy” Crew has now recovered and wants others struggling to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Self-worth is a big thing, and realizing that I have so much more to offer than just my outside appearance helped me get to a place where I was more in touch with myself,” she says. “I’m very type-A, which is what got me to an eating disorder in the first place, but I made it my mission to get better. Which is not to say it was easy.”
As Crew sees it, the solution lies in presenting positive images of all body types in the media, not just “this one super thin, blond-haired, blue-eyed white girl. We need more transparency and diversity. And the last thing we should be putting value on is our exterior. We need more focus for girls on our brains, and our creativity and our passion.”
Crew has discovered the secret to recovery lies in self-acceptance: “I had basically wanted out of my body, and now I’m so grateful for my body, it does so much for me. That’s not to say that I’m perfect — I still have days where I’m insecure — but they’re fewer and far between and less extreme. It all goes back to self-love, which is something I used to roll my eyes at, but it’s about putting value on more than your exterior.”