Lili Reinhart is putting her mental health first.
Since her breakout role as Betty Cooper in “Riverdale”, Reinhart has made her mark in Hollywood, starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers”, and most recently, being named the latest face of Covergirl.
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In an exclusive sit-down interview with ET Canada’s Sangita Patel in Los Angeles, the actress opens up about her battle with depression, her new book, and the hit CW show.
“I think the more we talk about it the less alone we feel,” says Reinhart on being an advocate for those suffering from mental health issues. “It was something that was part of my life: depression and anxiety. It was something that I was kind of surrounded by and living with for a decade now. My parents never taught me to be ashamed of it.”
Reinhart also credits writing poetry as a way to ease her anxiety, which is brought to life in her new book Swimming Lessons, due for release in May.
“It was always just something that I used as a form of therapy and just a way of getting my thoughts on paper,” shares the 23-year-old.
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One year ago, I decided I wanted to share my poetry with the world. It’s scary to reveal a part of myself that I don’t often show, but I like to consider this book as more of a story rather than a confession of thought. Strangers, songs, films, fictional characters, love in various forms, and of course my own experiences were my inspiration throughout the creation of Swimming Lessons. This book means a lot to me and I’m very grateful to be in the position to finally share it 🌷 pre-order link is in my bio if you’re so inclined
The actress recalls first experiencing “deep depression” at 16 years old when she moved from her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, to North Carolina.
“My dad got a new job so I basically had to leave all my friends behind and kind of start fresh,” she explains to Patel. “It was very depressing and isolating, and I was desperately wanting to be an actor, desperately trying to make it in that field and that career.”
When Reinhart made the move to Los Angeles to further her acting career, she admits, “I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have any friends. I lived in a house with six people. Miserable, very miserable, to be honest. And after a while, I had to go home cuz I was physically sick from depression and there was a day where I was breathing from a paper bag having a panic attack.”
After moving back home, going to therapy, and working in retail, Reinhart made the move back to Los Angeles four years later and landed the job of her dreams.
“I never would have thought, I really was just this girl in L.A., after each callback I was like ‘Oh, my God… I’m getting closer to this, what’s gonna happen?!’ And suddenly four years later, I have the most amazing friends and a job as an actor.”
But despite all her success, Reinhart admits she’s still “trying” to be happy.
“I would love to say, ‘Ya! I’m happy!’ Truth is, that’s not really the answer, that’s not how I feel. I have really beautiful days and beautiful moments and I’m incredibly grateful, but depression is very much something that is still living with me and existing with me as I go on this journey, something that I am still trying to, you know, navigate through.”