"I just remember sitting there and thinking, my body is being used as a joke, and it's something that I can't change about who I am, and it is being posted all over Instagram."
Chloë Grace Moretz is opening up about how "horrific" social media memes created about her negatively impacted her mental health.
While speaking with Hunger Magazine, the actress shared her thoughts on the "Family Guy" meme made about her body, revealing she became "self-conscious," experienced body dysmorphia and ultimately "became a recluse" after the meme went viral.
"For a long time I was able to be the Chloë that people see and the Chloë that I am in private. Then those two worlds collided and I felt really raw and vulnerable and open," Moretz, 25, told the magazine. "And then came the onslaught of horrific memes that started getting sent to me about my body."
"I've actually never really talked about this, but there was one meme that really affected me, of me walking into a hotel with a pizza box in my hand," she added. "And this photo got manipulated into a character from 'Family Guy' with the long legs and the short torso, and it was one of the most widespread memes at the time."
The "Carrie" star went on to recall how the meme hurt her, and how it felt to have people mock her figure.
"Everyone was making fun of my body and I brought it up with someone and they were like, 'Oh, shut the f--- up, it’s funny,'" Moretz said. "And I just remember sitting there and thinking, my body is being used as a joke and it's something that I can't change about who I am, and it is being posted all over Instagram. It was something so benign as walking into a hotel with leftovers. And to this day, when I see that meme, it's something very hard for me to overcome."
"After that, I was kind of sad."
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She added that the meme made her "super self-conscious" and "severely anxious" about being photographed.
"It took a layer of something that I used to enjoy, which was getting dressed up and going to a carpet and taking a photo, and made me super self-conscious," Moretz explained. "And I think that body dysmorphia -- which we all deal with in this world -- is extrapolated by the issues of social media. It's a headf---."
"I basically became a recluse," she added. "It was great because I got away from the photographers and I was able to be myself, and to have so many experiences that people didn’t photograph, but at the same time it made me severely anxious when I was photographed. My heart rate would rise and I would hyperventilate."
When asked if the coronavirus pandemic actually helped her concerns about being photographed in public, the "Kick-Ass" star said, "Yeah, for sure. It definitely aided that experience for me. I just put a hat on, put a mask on and then put my hood up and would be able to get away with a lot more, like go to a concert or bite my lip or have undocumented pimples."
She also said the pandemic brought a "time of introspection" for her.
"For the first time, I didn't have to think about what I was doing next month or what I was going to do in a week," Moretz said of her work schedule. "I know that's obviously a very privileged thing to say, and I’m very aware of that. But for me it was a time of introspection. I lost my father during the pandemic, not due to Covid-related issues, but there was a big amount of change in a really transformative time period."
She went on to add, "To say that these past two years have been transformative is an understatement, to say the least. I’m a very different girl than I was. I feel like a woman now."
If you or someone you know needs help with mental health text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.