"I'd starve myself for a day, and the next day I was hungry, tired and miserable," Shay said of her mindset whilst working as a model. "When I felt so bad about not being able to fit into size 0 jeans, I realized I had to make a change... Being beautiful doesn't mean being skinny. It's about being healthy.”
Unfortunately, Shay isn’t the only Liar who struggled with body image. Last August, Lucy Hale (Aria) made headlines when she talked to Cosmopolitan about her past eating disorder:
"I've never really talked about this, but I would go days without eating. Or maybe I'd have some fruit and then go to the gym for three hours," Lucy told Cosmo. "I knew I had a problem... It was a gradual process but I changed myself."
Apparently, co-star Troian Bellisario (Spencer) could relate. She told Seventeenshortly after Luce’s heartfelt admission that the two had bonded over their past struggles with body image.
“We are a good form of support for each other when we see each other slipping backward or in need of support,” said Troian. “I'm really proud of her for being open and honest. It's a very brave thing to do and I support her all the way.
On her own body image issues, Troian said: “I think there's this insane amount of pressure to perform and sometimes when you have an eating disorder, that gets wrapped up in punishment and restriction with food. I definitely went through something like that. Truthfully, I did not address it for a very long time until I was forced to by a very wonderful group of people.”
Troian said that, though she is healthy now, that it’s not something you just “get over:” She told the teen magazine she makes a point of telling fans who ask about body image to honor their bodies.
“I believe in honoring the fact that every day they wake up and take a step toward health, honoring their body and taking care of themselves,” she said. “Just remembering that they are young, beautiful and unique is worth everything in this world. What's important is making the choice to take care of yourself today. And then making that same choice again in five minutes, in an hour, until one day you're like, 'Hey, what was I dealing with?'”
Wise words from our young starlets. It takes bravery to speak up about your personal troubles, and we think it shows how seriously these young women take their position as role models that they are willing to openly and honestly do so.
Just another reason to love our Pretty Little Liars!
Are you proud of Shay for opening up and talking about her struggles? Sound off in the comments!
Pretty Little Liars Season 4 premieres on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.