Camila Mendes discusses taking care of her mental health, “Riverdale” and more in a new interview with Health.
The actress, who plays Veronica Lodge on the hit show, admits she suffered from panic attacks when they first started shooting season 5.
“I started having panic attacks, which was strange for me. I think it was because I was in Vancouver and borders were closed — no one could visit us,” she says. “You start to miss your home and your life, and you don’t have your friends or community with you. I want to say, I am so grateful to be working and would never want this to come off that I am not. Taking baths helped with the panic attacks.”
Mendes explains how she needed to take time out to deal with the panic attacks: “I also learned in those moments to put down my phone and take a break from technology and get in the tub with some music on and a book. I never did that before the pandemic, and now I love that I’ve learned to do that for myself.”
Meanwhile, she opens up about landing “Riverdale” right out of college, saying, “It’s a dream — I never expected as an actress studying theatre at NYU that my first gig would be so transformative.”
But she admits success has come with its challenges: “Then, there’s the other side of it. When you have such a massive fan base, there are haters that come along with it. But that has actually been a good learning experience, too. It forces you to accept and get comfortable with the fact that not everyone is going to like you — and that’s OK. That’s a very valuable lesson to have learned early in my career.”
The star shares that working in Hollywood as a Latina woman is like, explaining, “When I started and was auditioning a lot, it felt like either there were roles for white girls or roles for Spanish-speaking Latina women. I am born and bred Latina. I grew up in the United States and am Brazilian. I speak Portuguese.
“In Hollywood, at the time, it didn’t feel like there were roles for people with backgrounds like mine. But now, I do think people are starting to understand that there are all different kinds of Latina women — and beyond that, all different types of people with different backgrounds and experiences. There isn’t just one American experience or one Latina experience.”
Mendes, who has been open about her eating disorder battle in the past, then talks about her approach to nutrition and nourishing her body, telling the mag: “As soon as I started listening to my body and eating what my body needed — which sometimes is eating the things I used to think were bad, like sugar and bread — I noticed a big change.
“The crazy lesson was that your body tells you what it wants and needs; you just have to learn how to listen to it. It takes a while to learn that — it’s hard. And what one woman needs isn’t going to be the same as what another woman needs. We’re all different.”
The actress also opens up about slowing down due to quarantine, saying it hasn’t been easy due to her outgoing nature. “In my day-to-day life, I’m a social butterfly. I love my friends and normally have to force myself to be alone,” she says. “But in quarantine, I’ve learned how much I actually like spending time with myself.”
Read the full interview in the latest issue of Health, on sale March 12.