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Pretty Little Liars Star Troian Bellisario Reveals Self Harm & Eating Disorder: “I’ve Felt Like a Fraud”

Submitted by on January 8, 2014 – 2:04 pmNo Comment

Troian Bellisario may be the star of Pretty Little Liars, but the actress has an ugly past that she is ready to share with the world. The 28-year-old actress posed for the cover of Seventeen‘s February 2014 issue and opened up on her troubled teen years.

“I started self-harming when I was a junior,” she recalls. “I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school. Being a teenager is chaotic because you’re kind of coming into your own, but you’re not an adult; you’re fighting with your parents over responsibilities and freedom. I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, so I think I created this bizarre system of checks and balances to create order in my world. But it really backfired.”

Things only got worse for Troian when she attended, what she describes, an intense college prep school. “It was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody,” she explained of studying to achieve perfect grades. “I just thought if I ever expressed [to my parents] any sadness or anger or anything that’s going on with me, they would disown me. I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behavior. I felt this sadness, and I thought if people really knew what was going on inside me, they wouldn’t want to hang out with me. So I tried to keep it light and funny. I became imprisoned [by my eating disorder and self-harm]. And it was something I fought with.”

When Troian landed a starring role on the hit ABC series in 2010, she continued to struggle with the demons of her past. “Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I don’t belong,” she admitted. “I just look around at Lucy [Hale], Shay [Mitchell], and Ashley [Benson], and I’m just like, ‘Why am I on this show?’ Sometimes I’ve felt like a fraud. Like, I’m not like these other girls—I don’t dress like that and don’t know how to do my hair. The minute I’m off that stage, I try to get as ‘me’ as possible. I do that by piling on my black eyeliner, and I put on my ripped tights. Dressing like myself again helps.”

Troian also counts on those closest to her to get her through tough times. “My friends and my family—the people who I love and who love me back,” she says. “Whenever I get down, when I want to crawl under a rock, I just look around at them and I see how rich my life is. You have to remember what’s most important in life. I am loved by so many people and have a wonderful job. I know I’m incredibly blessed. I am a completely lucky human being.”

For more on Troian check out her spread below and visit Seventeen.com.

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