Riverdale star Lili Reinhart understands the importance of body representation on TV. And after being criticized on Twitter yesterday (February 6) for "contributing to unrealistic body expectations" by merely being part of the cast, the 23-year-old actor addressed the critic head on.
It all started when someone tweeted (and later deleted) a message to Reinhart suggesting that the hit CW series could have serious implications on young people and what they think of their bodies. "Just curious. Why is every single person on Riverdale a 25+ year old portraying a teenager with perfectly chiseled bodies?" they wrote. "Don't you think TV shows like this aimed at teenagers are contributing to unrealistic body expectations [and] body image issues?"
Reinhart was quick to respond, pointing out first and foremost that not everyone in the cast looks the way the critic described. "Actually, not everyone on this show is perfectly chiseled," she wrote, admitting that even she feels "intimidated by the physique" of some of her cast mates, particularly while doing scenes in her bra and underwear. And because of the "expectation that people have for women on TV," Reinhart said that she herself has felt very "insecure."
Despite her insecurities, Reinhart's learned to accept her body the way it is. "I have come to terms with my body and that I'm not the kind of person you would see walking on a runway during fashion week," she said. "I have bigger boobs, I have cellulite on my thighs/butt, and my stomach sticks out rather than curves in." And while body image has been an ongoing struggle for her, Reinhart said it certainly doesn't help that she's constantly being "compared to other women."
"I have gained weight due to depression the last two months and I've felt very insecure about it," Reinhart continued. And though she felt self-conscious, she proceeded to do a bra and underwear scene anyway, calling it her "obligation." "[I] felt it was my obligation to be strong and show confidence in myself, looking as I do," Reinhart explained. "And I want other young women to see my body on tv and feel comfort in the fact that I'm not a size 0. And I'm not a perfect hourglass shape."
But Reinhart also acknowledged that she's not the only actor trying to bring more body representation to the small screen. "This industry struggles with accurate representation of female and male bodies," she said. "So I commend the women who have helped our industry take a step in the right ~and authentic~ direction."