Camila Mendes is speaking out about a terrifying experience she endured during college. The Riverdale star, who attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has shared that she was roofied and sexually assaulted during her freshman year. In her cover story for Women’s Health, Mendes, 25, reflects on that dark period in her life, explaining she got her “to build a home” tattoo above her rib after that first year at school.
“I got the tattoo after my freshman year,” Mendes tells the magazine. “I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me.”
It’s noted that the tattoo is a reminder to “strengthen both her sense of self and the environment around her.”
Nowadays, when Mendes is going through a difficult time, she thinks about what she can do “physically for myself.”
“I danced for seven years, from age 4 to 11. Then I did musicals as a kid, then so much of acting school is movement classes and connecting your breath to your body,” the Coyote Lake star tells Women’s Health. “Activity has always been an important part of my life.”
But, as Mendes notes in her cover story, it’s important to give your body rest, even if that means giving up a day in the gym.
“People sometimes put working out first and don’t give their bodies rest,” she shares. “I’ll always choose sleep first. I think it’s just so underrated.”
In recent years, Mendes has shared many personal stories with the world, including her struggles with bulimia.
“I’ve only recently gotten better,” Mendes tells the magazine, adding that she’s been helped by a therapist and nutritionist. “I needed professionals I trusted to tell me things that I didn’t know.”
Mendes, who has become a role model to so many fans around the world, is helping those who follow her to speak out about their own struggles.
“When I was a teenager, there were no role models when it came to body positivity—that simply was not a thing. Being thin was the thing,” Mendes shares. “It’s health that’s important, not appearance. I make choices that are good for me—and not just in my body—but for my soul, for my mind. And sometimes that’s eating ice cream because I want to eat ice cream.”
Photo: Beau Grealy