The GLOW actress recently sat down with ET for our Unfiltered series, where she opened up on how training and strengthening her body for the Netflix hit series, which tells the story of female wrestlers in the '80s, changed her perspective on body image for the better.
"I have never considered myself an athletic person until I started working on GLOW. We do a month of wrestling training before shooting every season of GLOW," Brie said of the rigorous prep for the show, which released its third season in August. "That's all of the women in the ring. Three hours a day, five days a week. And that was also incredibly empowering. Learning that your body is capable of so much more than you ever expected is pretty life-changing for me."
Brie went on to explain the longtime struggles she had with her body.
"For many years, and even before acting, I think I lived my life really at odds with my body," Brie shared. "You know, not liking my body very much and wishing it looked different and really trying to punish my body if I felt like I ate poorly, you know, by doing excessive cardio classes. I think this is a way that a lot of women think about exercise: 'I had a cheat day. Now I gotta work really hard.' Working on this show sort of started to change my mindset into being like, it's not a punishment. You shouldn't be trying to just get as little as possible."
The 36-year-old brunette credits the show and her trainers in helping her develop a healthy lifestyle, overcoming the body dysmorphia in her past and not letting food dictate daily life.
"More than anything, I think, [with] my trainers, we honed in on healthy eating and not considering food the enemy. Not that I was dealing with very intense anorexia before, but certainly some body dysmorphia and things like that and I think just, you know, probably mild anorexia working in this business and waves of that, which I've never been very successful at, to be honest. So it's much better for me to do something, have a lifestyle where I live in a healthy way and I work out in a way that makes me feel strong and powerful and I eat food. But I eat healthy food and sometimes I eat unhealthy food and it's fine."
The Los Angeles native, who previously starred in Mad Men and Community, shares her impressive workout routines on Instagram, along with her stunning red carpet fashion moments. (She recently turned heads in a plunging black sequined Elie Saab mini at the VMAs!)
"I guess I like to take risks with fashion. For a long time, I think, early on in my red carpet days, there were a lot of disasters. Don't Google it," Brie quipped. "I think now, as I've learned more about fashion and I've gotten to work with some really great stylists, I've learned a lot about fashion and I have a real respect for it. And that makes me want to take bigger risks and I sort of had to change the way I was thinking about it. [Now] I think about it the way I think about acting, so that when I'm getting on a red carpet I'm taking on a character and that character is going to the VMAs or she's going to the Golden Globes and like who is that woman?"
One thing Brie likes to keep private from social media is her life with husband Dave Franco, whom she married in 2017.
"It's definitely important to me and my husband that we keep a lot of our life private, and now that we've been married for a couple years I think we're sort of relaxing into it, being a bit like who cares," she said. "But early on, I mean, we didn't take photos together on a red carpet until we were engaged, which was five years into us dating. Our relationship, that's our life and being at a carpet, at events, that's our work."
Although nowadays celebrities are often expected to let the public into all aspects of their lives, Brie prefers to stick to what she's comfortable sharing.
"For the most part, I'm like, who cares. I'm happy to show people my workouts and my cat and things that I enjoy doing, but you gotta keep some stuff to yourself," the actress said. "You can't sell everything or you'll just be an empty shell of a person. Maybe that's my working theory."
Watch Brie's full interview in the video above, and stream more episodes of Unfiltered, ahead.