#MySkyeBody Conversations - Ren Holly
Learning how to overcome what life throws at you is never easy. Changing your mentality and habits when you know it will only benefit you is equally challenging. Ren Holly knows all to well about both of these things. The young actress has recently opened up on social media about her struggle with eating disorders. She has since learned some coping skills and is now on the road to recovery. Learn more about the strong and resilient woman who is a role model for everyone going through a similar situation!
SKYE: Tell us about yourself.
Ren: I was born and raised in Illinois by two hard-working immigrant parents. I grew up playing piano, violin, and figure skating... always been accustomed to competition and comparison. A lot of my identity can be traced through my different worlds; Asian-American culture, classical music culture, film culture, and pop culture. Performing has always been my dream and a huge part of my life. I recently graduated from USC for theatre and classical piano performance and today, I’m a 23-year-old actress living in LA.
SKYE: You very candidly revealed to the world your struggles with eating disorders as well as mental health issues. How has social media affected your journey.
Ren: Social media is tricky, because it can be so impactful both negatively and positively. I was really surprised by how much support I received in response to my initial post about eating disorder treatment. I was originally hesitant to say anything online in fear of being judged. It felt so lame and fake to talk about something so vulnerable and real on an Instagram post. But, I’m overwhelmed by how many people have reached out and connected to me online because of it. Now I feel like I can have power on social media to actually be uplifting to other people.
Top: Katie, Bottom: Ruched Hipster in PIMENTO
SKYE: How do you cope/ground yourself to be more self-accepting and not allowing yourself to relapse?
Ren: It is all about who I surround myself with. I can’t always choose who I work with or audition for, but I do get to choose my inner circle. As stressful as the entertainment industry can be when it comes to body image and my ED, I stay grounded because I get to come home to my incredible friends and family. These days, I put more emphasis on nurturing the love in my most important relationships rather than trying to please everybody. The love I give always comes back to me… it is how I make others feel that makes me feel good about myself. But I can’t take all the credit for my recovery, it is the love from God and my support system that continues to keep me strong.
SKYE: What do you think is the key to self-acceptance and do you think that it is truly attainable?
Ren: I think the key to self-acceptance is gratitude and healthy relationships. I believe that self-acceptance is attainable, like anything in life, it just takes time and practice. For me, self-acceptance is a fairly new practice that consists of positive affirmations, gratitude exercises, meditation, and assertive communication. Some days, it feels incredibly forced, but because of treatment I actually have the tools to build myself in a healthy way. I used to think that I could obtain self-acceptance through controlling my physical appearance. Understanding that true self-acceptance comes from an internal practice was a huge turning point in my recovery.
SKYE: What activities do you do to stay healthy both physically and mentally?
Ren: I keep a gratitude journal which I write in either morning or before bed. Every day, I write down ten things I’m grateful for and why. It’s one of the most simple yet profound practices anyone can add to their routine. For exercise, I enjoy yoga, ballet, and long walks. I listen to my body now and only exercise when I have the energy and time. I also attend weekly support groups because it keeps me connected and accountable. There are tons of support groups out there for all types of things. I think it’s very valuable to hear other people’s stories on a regular basis.
SKYE: What do you think about to exude confidence when you’re in front of the camera? Do you apply it to your everyday life?
Ren: When it comes to photoshoots, almost everything is fake. Exuding confidence on camera mostly boils down to angles, lighting, and posing. Of course, good music and a great photographer contributes to the confidence factor, but I don’t think many people realize just how much images are manipulated. It’s a very technical thing that just comes with working a lot and knowing your face. It’s called acting! A lot of the photos where I look the most sexy/confident/happy in, I am totally uncomfortable in some awkward position and either freezing or sweating to death. I remind myself how deceiving images can be when looking at magazines or Instagram. You can’t compare yourself with an image, because you are real and beautifully complex, whereas images are simply fake.
SKYE: What advice do you have for other women facing eating disorders, especially as it relates to self-acceptance and body positivity.
Ren: Prioritize health and recovery, ask yourself what really makes you happy, and TRUST THE PROCESS! You will never be happy living the life of someone you don’t respect, so be someone you respect! When you think of the people you love and look up to most, it never has anything to do with what they look like. So why blame our external appearances when we are feeling insecure or unloved? It is never the solution and will never satisfy.
SKYE: Do you have a daily affirmation or mantra?
Ren: “I am good as I am NOW.”
SKYE: What is the best body positive advice you’ve ever received?
Ren: Beauty standards are different in every country, in every time period, and in every mind. So, F*** THAT. Being healthy will always be beautiful.
SKYE: If you could rename the body positive movement in your own unique way, what would it be?
Ren: The let’s-stop-caring-what-other-people-look-like movement.
Follow Ren’s journey to body positivity on Instagram (@renholly)