As Spencer Hastings on the hit ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars, actress Troian Bellisario is no stranger to keeping dark secrets. But in real life, the TV star struggled with her own inner demons, like an eating disorder she battled in high school. Troian first admitted to her ED in the February 2014 issue of Seventeen, but she’s now bringing her story to the silver screen in the film Feed, which she also wrote and directed. In Interview magazine, the actress spoke with PLL director Lesli Linka Glatter about the film, as well as the shocking secret that inspired it.
“I couldn't get anyone — even the people who loved me the most, even my boyfriend or my mother or my father — to understand what that experience was truly like for me,” Troian said. “I found there were so many people who thought that [my eating disorder] was about losing weight or being skinny, and I couldn't quite get them to understand that it was about control on a very, very literal level.”
“So I thought, ‘If I can tell a story that puts the audience in a position to make a similar choice to the one that I made in my young life, maybe I could get them to empathize,’” Troian continued.
Troian admitted that her family and boyfriend were “very afraid” for her to make Feed, since “they'd been through hell watching me and feeling powerless themselves.”
“It was not easy; it was like engaging with an addiction…It was like poking a sleeping dragon,” Troian explained in regards to making the film. “It was amazing for me to realize, ‘Oh god, this is still all just lying under the surface. I've just gotten really good at either ignoring it or choosing to not engage with it.’”
Added Troian, “It's amazing that you can have this huge, life-threatening thing be a part of you and still live inside of you, and almost tame it in a weird way.”
Did you know Troian had an eating disorder? Are you surprised she’s turned her struggle into a film? Sound off in the comments below.