Zoe Kravitz on her personal struggle with eating disorders: 'It's really important to talk about body image'

The actress plays an anorexia sufferer in new film The Road Within

Jenn Selby
Tuesday 07 April 2015 14:51

When some actors prepare for a role, they prescribe to Stanislavski's method technique.

They envelop themselves in every minute detail of their character’s perceived lives – they breathe, speak, eat, walk and think just as their part would in attempt to conjure as lifelike a performance as their abilities will allow.

But for others the roles they take on are so close to the bone, they barely have to imagine them.

Zoe Kravitz, the 26-year-old daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, has admitted she found it “pretty easy” to get into the mindset of Marie, a young woman whose battle to make sense of the chaos in her life catalyses her battle with anorexia in film drama The Road Within.

“I struggled with an eating disorder in high school and into my early 20s,” she told Nylon magazine.

“That's part of what actually attracted me to the role; I think it's really important to talk about body image and the struggles a lot of women have with food - especially in the entertainment industry. I related to her in a lot of ways.”

The one thing she did find difficult, however, was pushing herself back to the brink, dropping down to 90 pounds and reacquainting herself with the body of an anorexic.

“Losing all the weight - I've never done anything like that before,” she continued.

“I put my body through so much and at first it was really hard to even have a conversation because I was so lightheaded all the time. On top of just being tired, I had to try and perform, so it was very unique experience.

“I lost like 20 pounds, so I was 90 pounds while we filmed. I tried to do it in a healthy way, but it's not a healthy thing to do. I would never tell anyone to lose that amount of weight and especially not that quickly.”

“I had a really hard time when I was 16, 17, 18,” she similarly told Complex magazine. “I started with the eating disorder in high school… Just [a hard time] loving myself.

“I think it was part of being a woman, and being surrounded by [fame].

“I don't think it was about the fame, but I think it was definitely about being around that world, seeing that world. I felt pressured.

“My mother's a beautiful woman, and I think, in some way, I felt intimidated by that sometimes.”

“My parents got really scared for me to go back down that road,” she said of the discipline she needed to lose weight and play Marie.

“It was f**ked up, man. You could see my rib cage. I was just trying to lose more weight for the film but I couldn't see: You're there. Stop. It was scary.”

She became ill after shooting the role, she said, as the enforced period of starvation had severely affected her immune system and her thyroid activity.

Now back to a healthy weight and no longer adhering to her filming regime, she said: “I feel like something has left my body, like some part of me is gone now, something that was making me so insecure. And it feels amazing.”

A spokesperson from leading eating disorder charity Beat praised Kravitz for her candid admission.

“We always welcome people in the public eye bravely sharing their own experiences with an eating disorder. The fact that Zoe Kravitz has overcome her own battle with the illness and is prepared to talk about it helps reduce the stigma that still surround eating disorders.

“The quicker someone seeks help for their problem then the better the long term prospects are of a full recovery. Contact the GP and visit the Beat website:- www.b-eat.co.uk for help and information.”

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