Lili Reinhart Says She Did a Bra Scene on 'Riverdale' to Help Others With Body Positivity

Lili Reinhart
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'I can't preach body positivity if I don't practice it,' she says.

Lili Reinhart is opening up about why she agreed to strip down for Riverdale. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, the 23-year-old actress reveals that, despite feeling "really insecure" about doing a scene in her bra and underwear, she did so to encourage body positivity in others.

"I don’t have the CW girl body -- tiny waist, nice-shaped legs, skinny, small, tiny," she says. "I had to do a bra and underwear scene in this last season and I felt really insecure about it. I really, really didn’t want to do it. I didn’t tell anyone this. I wasn’t pressured into doing it. I did it because it was my job."

"But I felt bad about myself doing it. I really did," Reinhart continues. "And this is where it gets complicated. I can’t preach body positivity if I don’t practice it. So even if I’m not feeling amazing about my body, I felt it was important for me to do the scene anyway in my bra and underwear so people could see my body as it was. I did it for the people who feel like they need to look a certain way."

Reinhart hopes her choice to do the scene can be an anecdote to unrealistic body expectations people are flooded with on social media.

"You go on Instagram, and I’m like, 'Oh, look, all these people with these beautifully toned bodies' and then go to the beach -- does anyone on the beach in the real world look like that? I don’t see anyone looking like this," she says. "Instagram and Victoria’s Secret runways are not a portrayal of how people look in real life."

In addition to her struggles with body positivity, Reinhart has been open about her mental health battle, one she's been fighting since she was a teenager.

"This pandemic has been incredibly hard, and it’s hard to stay positive. I want to post sad songs on my Instagram just like everyone else does," she says. "But I hold myself back, because I know I have millions of people watching me who want to dig through every little thing I post and try to figure out the meaning behind it."

"Obviously, I’m dealing with a lot of depression. So how do I find a light at the end of the tunnel? I really wanted to go out of my way to find the root of it. Now, when I feel something come up, I let it come out," Reinhart adds."Because otherwise, it’s literally harming my body and my brain. Allow your body to feel what it feels. That is literally how you heal."

In Reinhart's new flick, Chemical Hearts, she plays a high school student struggling with surviving a car accident that killed her boyfriend, a role which, Reinhart says, allowed her to use "a lot of my own inner turmoil."

"I don’t really describe myself as bubbly or joyful. I’m making myself out to be, like, the Grinch over here. But I’ve lived with depression for a long time now, so playing a girl who is clearly feeling somber and going through heartache and grief wasn’t so foreign to me," she says. "It wasn’t that hard for me to access."

The film is one project that Reinhart hopes will allow people to start seeing her "as a film actress."

"I want people to see me and know: 'Hey, I’m in this for the long haul.' This is a career for me," she says. "I’m not just gonna be on Riverdale for five years and then disappear."

While acting is her career, one of Reinhart's passion projects is her poetry, some of which will be featured in her debut poetry book, Swimming Lessons, which is due out Sept. 29. 

"Some of them are obvious for a reason, because I’m not badmouthing someone. I was speaking very fondly of someone I was in love with. I don’t feel any shame from it," Reinhart says, seemingly alluding to her former relationship with her Riverdale co-star, Cole Sprouse

"People will 100% read between the lines, make their own conclusions -- that’s fine," she adds. "I’m not going to encourage it, but I’m going to say that a lot of the poems were coming from emotion rather than an actual event."

Reinhart and Sprouse split earlier this year after about three years of dating. Shortly thereafter, Reinhart took to Instagram to declare herself "a proud bisexual woman," something she says she's known since she was a teen.

"I thought: ‘Do I like girls? I don’t know.' As I’ve gotten older, the answer has become 'Yes. Clearly, I do,'" Reinhart says. "... I think I just felt at this point in time: Why not? If suddenly I started dating a girl publicly, I didn’t want people to be, like, what the ...? Not that I would even owe anyone an explanation. Because I don’t."