Silicon Valley’s Amanda Crew uses her experiences with eating disorder to advocate for change

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These days, Amanda Crew is known for her role as Monica Hall on HBO’s Silicon Valley. But, before she got her big break in Hollywood, she was a young girl who struggled with an eating disorder while trying to make her name known.

In a recent interview with People, the actress opened up about how her life was affected by an eating disorder from early on and the added pressures she felt from Hollywood to stay thin.

When she was still a child, Crew says she was always being praised for how skinny she was. As puberty began and her body began to change, she began to feel like she was losing the thing she was most known for.

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“From a young age I thought that being skinny was my value and my worth,” Crew says. “So, when I started going through puberty, I felt like I was no longer skinny and there was nothing special about me.”

During this time, she began to take the first steps towards her eating disorder by limiting what she allowed herself to eat. By the age 21, as she was beginning her acting career, her eating disorder had reached severe levels. According to the actress, she only weighed “around 95 lbs. at most” despite being 5’9”.

“I was like, how could I have a healthy relationship with my body in an industry that’s so obsessed with how I look?” Crew explained.

She had also developed an unhealthy relationship with exercise that contributed to severe anxiety and ultimately a broken knee. Thankfully, this injury provided some perspective about how her eating disorder was affecting her.

“I tripped because I had nothing in my system,” she says. “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.”

Now, ten years later, Crew has recovered with the help of friends and other eating disorder survivors.

“I had basically wanted out of my body, and now I’m so grateful for my body, it does so much for me,” Crew says. “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.”

With her newfound recognition and influence in the acting industry, she wants to change the culture that added to her struggles with her eating disorder.

“I think we need more diverse representation of role models…And the last thing we should be putting value on is our exterior,” Crew explains. “We need more focus for girls on our brains, and our creativity and our passion.”

She notes that some companies are already taking positive steps towards embracing a more healthy body image, such as Aerie and Darling Media.

“There’s no photoshopping, and they have all types of models and ethnicities, and I think we need to be doing that and showing that there’s not one kind of person,” Crew says.

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