Lili Reinhart On Doing Better
ELLE Singapore|September 2021
In striving to be an authentic role model, the actress producer prefers to lead by example — by showing that being human means being vulnerable, tender and Raw
Chelsea Tang

Lili Reinhart runs her buzzy Instagram account seeming to follow a certain subconscious pattern: there are photos of fresh-faced Lili frolicking in nature, smiley Lili coddling her miniature Schnauzer mix doggo Milo and made-up Lili posing at various photoshoots (accompanied by tongue-in-cheek captions).

If not for her name being a household one, courtesy of the American actress’ breakout role as Betty Cooper on The CW teen soap Riverdale (for the uninitiated, a dark remake of the timeless Archie comic series), Reinhart’s life would really be like any other everyday person’s. And even though she’s decked out in a decadent quilted Miu Miu jumpsuit for this cover shoot in Los Angeles, being “real” and “organic”, especially on social media, where her 29 million-strong fanbase resides, is something she considers to be imperative.

“I am, you know, a real Midwestern girl. I love junk food and sitting around outside with my friends listening to music,” she says, as a small chuckle leaves her glossed lips. “I love playing with my dog Milo, who’s like my best friend. And I just love having people over in my home and having good conversation.”

That’s Lili Reinhart. Unapologetically and undeniably. In August 2020, four months after a mandatory quarantine introduced the longest break in the actress’ career since signing on to Riverdale, Reinhart went on a solo road trip to Mount Shasta in Northern California — the famed getaway destination for spiritual healing. There, she hiked up the volcano, and promptly uploaded picturesque landscape shots to her Instagram. For some mental clarity and healing, the caption to the post reads.

The trip served as more than just a vacation break for Reinhart; she had specifically chosen Mount Shasta in a bid to take a mental health retreat. Indeed, 2020 was a rather traumatic year for the 25-year-old (she’ll blow out the birthday candles come 13 September) — having to deal with the stress of social isolation, Milo’s near-death experience and a supposedly hush-hush break-up that went very, very viral.

Not one to shy away from broaching the topic of mental health, Reinhart has always been open about depression and anxiety, which she’s battled since the age of 12. The pandemic, however, threw her over the edge a little. “I find that when I’m able to work on a project, and have a schedule, I feel more at ease. I have a built-in routine,” she lets on, confiding that the first few months in quarantine were “hard” on her mental health, as acting helps her process her own emotions; she’s able to express her feelings through her characters, acting being both cathartic and therapeutic at the same time. Her struggle through this period, however, revealed something else to Reinhart: that in constantly playing someone else, she’s actually missed out on opportunities to re-centre herself.

“I was looking to heal myself, heal old wounds, work on bettering myself, and practise self-love,” she shares. “And it was an incredibly beautiful experience that got me started on this journey of self-awareness, and spiritual awakening that I’ve been committed to for over a year now.” Reinhart is referring to reiki, a Japanese form of alternative medicine that focuses on energy healing. Shortly after returning from Mount Shasta, she began reiki lessons, and quickly got certified in levels one and two. Come fall, she’ll start on her reiki master classes, and is hoping to get certified in that, too.

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