Turning 27 And Accepting Imperfection In The Public Eye

Lily Collins

By Casey Rose Frank

Lily Collins would not be surprised to hear that her roles in movies like “Mirror, Mirror,” “The Mortal Instruments,” and “Stuck in Love,” have cemented her in my mind as perpetually 18. The actress, who turns 27 today, addresses her young face and the pros and cons of her perpetual youthfulness as just one topic in a collection of essays published last week, “Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me.

In a time when it feels like too many ladies in the public eye are quick to publish content about how to look thinner or to better achieve the beauty standards that are popular today, Collins writes with candor about her own struggles with body image. From the introduction, she encourages readers to celebrate what makes them unique- to embrace their quirks.

“You damage your own self-image when you compare yourself to others and what you see in the media…But once I accepted myself as I am, quirks included, it didn’t matter how others viewed me because I liked what I saw.”

Collin’s book is short, but it’s all soul and no fluff. There is no name-dropping or gossiping to be found in its pages, but rather a candid look at how believing that you are enough is the foundation on which every other aspect of a person’s life will be built successfully.

Feeling like she wasn’t enough and like she couldn’t control her life led to eating disorders, and poor relationship choices with an emotionally abusive partner, as well as several boyfriends who struggled with addiction. Now, thanks to the help of friends, family, therapy, and time, Collins wants to be open and honest about her experiences in the hope that other women will find their own paths to happy balanced lives.

“We claim to know that every woman feels this way (insecure) and yet we’re still surprised when another girl-particularly a celebrity- openly admits it. Maybe certain concerns, or even ‘weaknesses,’ seem too taboo and lame to discuss, especially when looking good is supposed to be effortless. But if we just released our fears into the open and spoke about them freely, I think we’d all feel better.”

For those who are interested in the message but worry that Collins doesn’t have the chops for writing, throughout her mid-teens and early twenties she worked successfully as a journalist for popular teen magazines and even the Los Angeles Times Magazine. Jobs that she secured because she kept pitching her ideas, kept trying to provide a voice for the younger generation of readers. While the style of her essays are personal and accessible, it’s obvious she’s no stranger to building a decent narrative.

When I read this book I was surprised that I had bought into the image of her easy perfection, even though I know perfection is a lie. It made me hopeful that young girls in particular can see that the girls and women they seek to emulate have their own struggles, and that they can find beauty and strength in that struggle.

As someone who experienced years of disordered eating, I identified with Collins’s desire to get in the kitchen, learn new skills and reconnect with the importance of food at the age of 24. It’s never too late to start a positive relationship with your body and how you nurture it.

Included in the back of the book are links for resources for dealing with eating disorders, bullying, dating abuse, and general mental health. This isn’t a woman who is superficially asking women to open up about how they feel and what they struggle with, this is a woman who wants to put you on that path and invite you to continue the work.

Happy birthday, Lily Collins. Thank you for showing us the beauty of being unique and celebrating that both the good and the bad have the power to shape us for the better.


Casey is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via we heart it}

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