She has "to build a home" on her ribs.

By Christopher Luu
Sep 09, 2019 @ 8:15 pm

It's taken hard work and a lot of self-care, but Camila Mendes opened up with Women's Health about surviving a sexual assault and her journey with bulimia so that other people going through similar experiences know that they're not alone. Entertainment Tonight reports that Mendes's tattoo, which reads "to build a home" on her ribs, is a reminder that everything she does is to give herself a safe space.

"I had a very, very bad experience," she told Women's Health. "I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me."

It happened during Mendes's first year at New York University's Tisch School. After the incident, she got the tattoo — which is in a cursive font across her ribs — to commemorate moving past the event and building a life for herself.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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"Whenever I feel like I'm going through something difficult, I think about what I can do physically for myself," she said.

In addition to discussing her sexual assault, Mendes opened up with her battle with bulimia. Just last year, the Riverdale actor shared her struggles with the eating disorder.

"I've only recently gotten better," she said, noting that it took a team of people to help her recover, including a therapist and nutritionist. "I needed professionals I trusted to tell me things that I didn't know."

By bringing her personal stories to light and sharing them with readers, Mendes is hoping to give hope to people who are experiencing the same things that she did. She emphasizes the importance of health over just looking thin, which is a message she wished she had while she was growing up.

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"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," she says. "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."

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