Lili Reinhart: A Spiritual Awakening

September 07, 2022   |   Written by Sarah Gore Reeves

The actress’s life has taken another path, that of self-discovery and helping others in the same situation. From her networks, her speeches and, now as a writer and producer, she seeks to be a voice that drives it.

Lili Reinhart has a lot to say. A lot. The star of Riverdale, the Netflix series that catapulted her to international fame for six seasons, has been taking a more active role as a producer and writer, no longer just as an actress, with an artistic sensitivity that she has developed over the years. time and which, he confesses to me, was largely promoted in the last two years. “Since the coronavirus pandemic my spiritual awakening began, I was alone and going through a breakup. It was literally me with my thoughts. They were difficult times, but I am so grateful because it catapulted me on a true journey of self-love. “I’m still on the path of discovering who I am, but I definitely know myself much better now,” she explains.

Lili, who knew from the age of 10 that acting and dancing was her thing, and at that age her mother took her from Ohio to New York to audition, is not shy to talk about her path of healing and self-discovery, and now she has proposed to tell stories that promote that. The above makes her smile because she remembers her own experience when she was a teenager and her parents did not understand her struggles with her anxiety, since there was not as much information as there is now. Her current goal is to make people feel less alone.

Thus, each time, Lili is less afraid of showing her vulnerability. In 2020 she released Swimming Lessons: Poems, her first book of poems, which has been a big part of her self-discovery and where she explores topics such as anxiety, depression, fame and heartbreak. The book quickly became a bestseller on the New York Times lists.

And, although like Betty Cooper, in Riverdale, she is a shy teenager, she is no longer afraid to raise her voice on the topics that interest her and that she believes need to be talked about. One of them has been her body dysmorphic disorder, which consists of obsessive preoccupation with a perceived defect in the body, which is why her speech is aimed at the body positivity movement. “I am always very aware of my body. I am modest and protective in general, I don’t like to go out of my way to show myself both physically and emotionally. At this age, I feel like my body is still changing a lot, because of the pandemic I dealt with a lot of weight fluctuation and that’s why I’ve been so vocal about this topic. Clothes and my style should be a form of protective armor,” she admits.

As for her projects, the actress has just released the film Look Both Ways and is expected to release Plus/Minus, a film in which she stars and produces, in early 2023. Additionally, with Small Victory Productions, a production company she founded last year, she just signed a deal with Amazon Studios to develop film and TV content that celebrates diversity and inclusion.

Don’t be fooled. Lili has the image of a true America’s sweetheart, with her huge eyes and smile, but she has a lot to say and contribute. And that’s just beginning.

From a very young age you wanted to act… what did you have to face?

I was the one who told my parents that I loved acting, it was what I wanted to do and it was also my escape from the real world. I suffered from social anxiety and depression, my parents didn’t understand anything at the time… it was like, why doesn’t my daughter want to go to a birthday party or stay over? When I started in this industry I remember people saying, “she thinks she’s better than everyone” and really it was just because she was shy and quiet and she was trying to get by with as little attention as possible. I don’t feel comfortable being the center of attention and I like acting for the art of it. I definitely feel like I’m an artist and that’s how I express myself.

Do you think this helped you overcome your fears?

I had to do it, you’re basically surrounded by everything and everyone you feared. Actors are usually old souls and very well articulated from a young age because they have no other option. They put you in an environment where you are surrounded by many intense and creative people. At 12, when I really started acting, I grew up quickly, at least I had to be confident in myself, but it’s not a normal experience for a girl that age.

You founded a production company that targets young people and seeks to talk about different topics. What are you looking to achieve with it?

Amazon presented me with the opportunity to start this production company, so I was super on board since my first experience producing was Chemical Hearts, a film on the platform. I did it with them because my team really pushed for it to happen and I was very lucky to have done it. I have had this company for over a year and I believe we are making a difference. I’m not trying to tell stories about teenagers losing their virginity or coming out. I seek to tell stories from today’s world. What does life look like right now? How is mental health today? What does toxic masculinity look like in 2022? And what do the relationships look like? That’s really our focus.

It’s interesting because you address uncomfortable topics that people search for… I think mental health is really what people are interested in now. It makes me happy because when I was 13 and having panic attacks, my parents didn’t know what the hell was going on, obviously I can’t blame them. Nothing was really known then. Since the coronavirus pandemic my spiritual awakening began, I was alone and going through a breakup, it was literally me with my thoughts. They were difficult times, but I am so grateful because it catapulted me on a true journey of self-love. I’m still on the path of discovering who I am, but I definitely know myself much better now than I did two and a half years ago. The interesting thing, and I think it is what we must remember, is that we can always continue to improve and find new ways to grow, question and discover things we didn’t know.

We all have a past, pain and insecurities. What do you think is the best way to cope?

Give it time and learn to spend time with yourself. I think that’s the way you start to see a change.

People forget how young you are and that you are still growing… is it another stage of your life?

I’m always stretching into a new shape, always shedding my skin, even when I’m not comfortable. There is always more work to do.

By the way, you’ve had seven seasons with Riverdale! Did you ever worry about being pigeonholed?

I feel blessed to have played a character that I really care about, Betty has been with me for so long that it will be hard to let her go. The only thing I don’t like about her is her lack of faith in herself. I think she struggles with this darkness that she has inside her. Because her father was a serial killer, she feels inherently bad or evil.

Let’s talk about your new film Look Both Ways, which is about a teenager who has to choose one path or another and what comes of that choice.

I read the script in January 2020 and it was about this woman with two possible scenarios in life and how it ended. These two paths were radically different, with no right or wrong decision. No one prepares you for these choices and there is a beauty in trusting your instincts. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that you have to trust the universe. It’s about a beautiful journey for her, which gives you a perspective on your own life, makes you think about the decisions you made or are going to make, making it clear that although it may be different, or although right now it is not clear, everything will work out!