You look at Lily Collins—brow inspo, fashion kween, not to mention the girl who brought to life Clary Fray, Rosie Dunne, and Snow Freaking White—and you think she's got life all figured out. But just because she makes it look effortless, doesn't mean it is. (Spoiler alert: It never is.) In her debut book, Unfiltered, Lily opens up about her experiences and painful struggles, how she dealt with them, and what she wishes her younger self knew.
- She suffered from eating disorders. It started when she was a teenager, and she became very good at hiding her anorexia and bulimia. She obsessed over calories, took pills, and clocked countless hours at the gym. "I thought I looked amazing, and if anyone said anything negative, I assumed they were envious." It took her years to realize that she was harming herself and also her loved ones. Now, she’s learned to develop a healthy relationship with food, treating it as nourishment instead of punishment. "Healing is an ongoing process, and I will be working through my disorders for the rest of my life."
- She's been ghosted a few times. You'd think that no boy would dare ghost someone like Lily, but here is yet more proof that when it comes to this dating crime, the burden is all on the ghost-er (or ghost?). "When I considered that the common denominator in all these situations was me, I automatically assumed that I was the problem. But let's be clear: you are never the problem—they are. I promise."
- She's had her (un)fair share of toxic relationships. There was the guy who emotionally, verbally, and physically abused her. "I was so deep in the situation, desperately wishing to be accepted and desired by this person, that I didn't have the courage to stand up. It wasn't until I reached my limit, when my body felt like it was shutting down, that I finally recognized I needed to end it."
Then there were the guys with addiction. Again, Lily wondered if it was her that was the problem since it had become a pattern. "Maybe they saw me as nice and easy to dupe. No matter the reason, the bottom line is: they didn't regard me highly enough." Eventually, Lily realized this: "You have to love yourself the most and use your voice. And now I recognize that when I used mine, I wasn't talking to him. I was talking to his addiction and it refused to hear me."
- She didn't always have a great relationship with her dad. Lily's father is singer-songwriter Phil Collins, but to her, he was simply dad. Her parents got divorced when she was five, after which he moved from their home in England to Switzerland. The distance led to a strained relationship with him. It was very difficult for Lily, but she took the initiative and told him what she needed and expected from him, and that she will always love him. The open lines of communication helped when her dad battled with alcoholism. She, along with the other people in his life, was able to get through to him and lead him to sobriety.
- She desperately wanted to play Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, and live the New York life, but it was not meant to be. Things have a funny way of working out in life (and love), and with other opportunities (and relationships) coming her way, Lily realized that everything was happening for a reason. "So, thank you to all those people who have dealt me a crappy hand and told me no—it's made hearing yes that much better."
- She's a born go-getter and storyteller. Lily was 15 when she cold-called editors to pitch stories for teen magazines from a teenager's point of view. Makes perfect sense, you think, but keep in mind that this was before social media as we know it, before teens had multiple platforms to speak their mind. After plenty of rejections, she got a meeting with Elle Girl UK, and that meeting led to a monthly column about her life in LA. The magazine eventually folded, but it was her way into the industry and pretty soon she was writing for various magazines and reporting for Nickelodeon. And it all started because she had the guts to go after what she wanted, even if there were no guarantees.
- She's telling all in the hopes that her painful past would lead to a brighter future for other girls. "I can't change my past, nor would I want to. All I can do now is move forward, apply what I've learned, and pass any wisdom along to young women who may not even know they need to hear it... Choosing how and when to admit my truths now allows me to take back the power that my insecurities had once stolen. I will no longer let them dictate how I live my life. After all, bottling up my secrets never did any good. If I'd just spilled them to someone I trusted, I could have felt more connected and supported. And that’s what it's all about.”
Unfiltered is available at National Book Store.