Lili Reinhart, best known for playing Betty Cooper on Riverdale, gave an empowered speech during the Glamour 2018 Women of the Year Summit. Focusing on body shaming and the unrealistic standards placed on women, the 22-year-old actor didn't hold back on her beliefs.
Reinhart has always been open and honest about her personal struggles, speaking freely about her mental health issues and body dysmorphia. Since she's been rightfully lauded for her openness in the past and has such a wide reach to younger audiences, it's no surprise Glamour would ask her to speak at such an important event for women.
"Embracing your natural beauty does not exclude anyone. There is no fine print. You can be naturally beautiful with acne, scars, cellulite or curves." - @lilireinhart #GlamourWOTY pic.twitter.com/rAtLS3pPnL— Glamour (@glamourmag) November 11, 2018
In the speech, Reinhart discusses how living in the spotlight and constantly seeing photos of herself can be difficult, but when she opened up about those feelings in the past, she "faced criticism" for daring to talk about her own body struggles.
While she understands that it may seem "inappropriate" for someone of her smaller size to tackle these issues, she points out that it wasn't until she "was in an industry that rewards and praises people for having a smaller waist than [she] will ever have", that the actor started thinking things were wrong with her, physically.
She found herself becoming "hyper aware" of her own body. "I felt this strange, constant struggle of having to live up to the expectation of the appearance that I had already established to the world," she explains.
She also mentions that a major part of feeling self-conscience about one's body is not wanting to feel judged by others, which is becoming increasingly easier with social media. "Because judgment and criticism have always existed," she explains, "It’s just that now, everyone can be a critic and can share it publicly and without hesitation, at the push of a button."
"We aren’t born with these insecurities," she points out, "We are told to be insecure about certain things." Between Hollywood standards, fashion magazines, and people’s incessant need to comment on other people's appearances online, women are now "conditioned to feel ashamed or embarrassed about certain parts of ourselves."
While the actor knows "the world is not going to reform tomorrow," she urges the women in the audience to take matters into their own hands by showing their true selves, especially when posting photos online.
"I encourage you to find a healthy balance between expressing the natural, vulnerable side of yourself with the glamorous, contoured side." She notes that while it's fun to share pictures from red carpets and photo shoots, "it’s much more important to show what I look the other 99 percent of the time."
She admits she doesn’t have the "perfect solution," but hopes that women will begin to embrace the fact that we're "all imperfectly beautiful."
She wrapped up her speech with an encouraging message: "You can be naturally beautiful with acne or scars, cellulite or curves. So let's celebrate each other, and ourselves, as we are, as we will be, and as we were meant to be. Unique. Imperfect. Beautiful. And so incredibly powerful."