Mischa Barton is angry and fighting back. After coming under intense scrutiny and ridicule for having cellulite, the 22-year-old actress has come to OK! to discuss Hollywood body image issues, the pressure to be thin and how she handles all the nasty talk. "I like my curves," the former O.C. star, who’s currently dating rocker Taylor Locke, says. "My boyfriend loves them. So whatever works!"
Do you ever look at magazine pictures of yourself?
No, not usually really. I don’t really use the internet and I never buy tabloids. I’m not much an Internet person, I’m pretty backwards in my technology skills to be honest. So no, I tend to stay away from that kind of stuff. I think it’s kind of bad for you to harp over it.
Are you self-conscious about your body?
No, I’m not self conscious about my body. I eat really healthy, I work out. Everybody has things that they are conscious of that they don’t like, but any girl – I talk about this with my girlfriends all the time. We work out and we eat healthy and we do what we do, I feel very comfortable. I come from a European family that’s always very comfortable with their bodies. You are what you are as a woman.
So you’re not too worried about weight?
I mean you could get worried about it, but then I think you’d have a whole plethora of problems. What I do as an actress is make films and work. There’s been lots of nasty gossip that’s been written about me over the years. If I were to get upset about it and cry over every single thing than I’d be the most depressed person ever. And trust me there have been some low points in my life where I get really depressed about it, but in general I find it’s smarter to not get depressed about it and not to feed into it.
Every woman has cellulite. How do you feel about the photos that highlighted yours?
Every woman does have cellulite! I just feel like the photographers try to get the most unflattering shots. They know they are worth more money and even the photographer that took those shots. I went up to him and said, "Do you understand that what you’re doing is so low and that you cause trouble and make people upset? I haven’t had a vacation in forever and you’re ruining that for me. And this is why actresses can’t relax and live normal lives." And he was like, "Oh well. I’m going to sell it for as much money as I can get." That kind of attitude about not giving actors or women or anyone their personal privacy is what makes people turn strange. I’ve never claimed to have a perfect body, but it is what it is.
Do you think you’re a role model to young girls?
I don’t look at myself as a role model but people tell me that they see me as a role model so I accept that and consider it. But I think that a role model is anyone that young girls look up to and admire their style and what they do and think they’re cool and if that’s the case then that’s awesome. I guess I am a role model. I’m proud of that. I love having young fans. There’s nothing better than walking down the street and having your peers come up to you and say, ‘Oh I love you. Your style is awesome. I saw your last film.’
What message would you want to give your fans about body image?
I think that as long as you treat your body well and you are happy with who you are then that’s great. You shouldn’t care what other people say. I know that’s difficult to do but I find it’s difficult to do it, but its something that I think is important. I heard something about France banning pictures of really skinny girls and I think that’s not a bad idea. I’ve always been accused of being too skinny, and then I’d put on weight. I used to get all the time, “Are you anorexic?” and now I get, “Wow, you look too healthy. You’re putting on weight.” So there’s something else wrong with you. I don’t care anymore. It’s just too much to care what other people think all the time.
How does always being in the limelight make you feel?
I spend a lot of time away from the limelight. I just don’t enjoy it on a prominent basis. I live in Paris largely because of the privacy there. I have a great life and I can be creative and not worry about somebody chasing me down the street or taking pictures that I won’t know about because that happens a lot too… I don’t mind that it’s appropriate to have my picture taken. But most of the time, its time to live your life and be a real human being otherwise you protect yourself in such a way that you shut yourself away from reality.
You said that you eat pretty healthy. Can you tell us about your diet?
Well I eat pretty much everything. My boyfriend is a pescatarian but I go through phases. I’ve been a vegetarian before. Right now I’m not. I just eat good foods but I also have my junk food moments, but for the most part I just eat healthy.
What size are you?
I’m a size 4 and 5’9". I always have been. My size doesn’t change very much. My weight doesn’t go up and down more than 5-10 pounds.
Do the 5-10 pounds show?
It shows a little bit. I have a woman’s body. I have hips and boobs so it goes straight there, which I don’t mind because it gives me curves. But it goes straight there. I get a womanly body. But otherwise if I’m being really skinny and eating less and working out more, I get more of a boyish figure. But I like my curves. I like having them. My boyfriend loves them! So whatever works!
What are you working on now?
I just got back from a big press trip and now I’m just relaxing. I’m going to be starting a project soon. I’m just trying to take it easy for a minute because I did four films last year and my next film comes out in August so I’ll have a lot of work to do for that. So I’ve just been treating myself to being healthy and trying to go on a vacation here and there and hanging out with my friends and my boyfriend. Soon I’ll be going back to work.
What would you like to say to all the people that try to put you down?
I don’t care if people try to put me down. I just think it’s so sad that that’s what people spend their time doing. It might sound crazy, but I’m a really nice person. Out of my friends, I’m a very sensitive person. I’m the one everyone comes to for advice and I’m always dispensing advice so it’s funny when I get depressed, I need other people’s advice to make me happier. So if people put you down, it is what it is. I think its lame. I’m like, "Whatever, if that’s the way you want to be, but I don’t think it’s cool." You have to try to let it roll off your shoulder. It doesn’t always. It definitely affects me. I’m not immune. It just bums me out. I think its lame.
For more on Mischa, check out her gallery and pick up the newest issue of OK!, on newsstands now!