Christina Ricci was a household name before she hit puberty. The actor, who made her film debut when she was just nine years old, has starred in classic movies, such as Casper, Now and Then, and The Addams Family. Her career has endured the test of time, with Ricci, 41, still working on high-profile projects, including the popular series Yellowjackets. Enviable as her career may be, Ricci recently opened up about how working on film sets as a child affected her in some unhealthy ways.
"There were things that happened when I was younger that now sound totally crazy," revealed Ricci during an interview with Today Parents. "People would basically all get together and look at you and decide how to fix everything that was wrong with you," she said of previous costume fittings. "And I never enjoyed those days of everybody talking about my flaws."
Ricci also recalled how grown men would discuss her body as she went through puberty. "When I was 12 or 13 and started to have boobs, they would talk about how to make me look less womanly. It made me really uncomfortable. I did not enjoy that," said Ricci, who has been open in the past about recovering from anorexia as a young teen.
The actor reflected on how the culture and priorities on a film set can be damaging for children working in that environment. "The production — the movie being made — is more important than any individual's feelings," she said in the recent interview. "So they didn't have to consider my feelings. That can be a big problem when you're a kid."
Ricci isn't the only star who has opened up about fighting unhealthy body image and food issues during childhood. Chloe Cherry revealed comments about her weight led to an eating disorder on an episode of the podcast Call Her Daddy in March 2022. Actress Zosia Mamet shared she began fighting anorexia at just eight years old in a candid essay for Bustle in May 2022. The disorder affected her for years before she began to heal, she wrote at the time, acknowledging that recovering from an eating disorder is a life-long process.
Hollywood stars or not, young people are incredibly vulnerable where disordered eating and unhealthy body image are concerned. Forty-two percent of first to third grade girls wish they were thinner, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). Forty-six percent of girls ages nine to 11 are "sometimes" or "very often" on diets, and 35 to 57 percent of adolescent girls have tried unhealthy habits (such as crash dieting, self-induced vomiting, and taking laxatives), reports the ANAD.
Luckily, Ricci received the help she needed to recovery from her eating disorder. And now, Ricci's experiences with poor body image and an unhealthy relationship with food are impacting how she's teaching her children about these important issues. "I don't want any weirdness," she told Today Parents. "We eat for nutrition, we eat to grow, we eat to be healthy."
She also wants to make sure her kids, especially her daughter, understand that looks aren't everything. "I want her to focus on her brain and what she can contribute to society," said Ricci. "That's the biggest trick that's ever been played on women. If we're so preoccupied with our looks, we'll never develop any of our talents."
Ricci's healthy perspective on eating and body image after what she went through at a young age is inspiring and proves that getting help can truly make a difference.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, NEDA's toll-free, confidential helpline (800-931-2237) is here to help.