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Zosia Mamet portrays the no-nonsense, ambitious and eccentric Shoshanna Shapiro on Girls—just the type of woman her 12-year-old self might have needed to see all those years ago.
The 28-year-old evolving actress is a comedic force to be reckoned with on screen, but over a decade ago, a major force in her life was the mirror.
In a personal essay for Glamour, the star revisited a photo of her childhood self she had recently received from a fellow elementary school peer. The reflection haunted her.
"There I was, 12-year-old me, clad in my plaid school uniform, sitting front row, pretending to smile. If you saw that picture, you might think, 'There's a cute little girl; I'm sure she's happy,'" she described for the magazine.
"But when I saw it, emotions flooded through me. I remembered how desperately unhappy I felt there. I was bullied. I didn't have any friends. I thought a boy would never look at me. I hated myself, and I really hated my body."
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As research would support, Mamet's physical outlook was groomed by her celebrity mother's own incessant dieting.
"Everything I was fed was nonfat or sugar free. When I was hungry, her first response was, ‘Are you sure?'" she continued.
Food wasn't the only matter of contention between the Oscar-nominated actress Lindsay Crouse and her daughter.
"I dreaded shopping. My mother would say to me, ‘Zosia, let's look in the husky section,'" she revealed. "To be totally honest, I was always jealous of her body. She had been a dancer growing up and had the body to match—flat stomach, small chest. I remember as a girl taking baths with her; I would stare down at my pudgy stomach and feel deep pangs of envy. I prayed I would grow up to have her body."
While the revelations are a hard pill to swallow, Mamet asserts her mother had no ill intentions.
"I want to be clear: I AM NOT BLAMING MY MOTHER FOR MY EATING DISORDER. More so, I empathize," she admitted. "I know that my mother's treatment of me stemmed from her own issues with her body. She struggled, so I struggled. But I did struggle."
Now a successful female public figure, Mamet has overhauled her philosophy toward food and her physical form.
"We can feed ourselves when we're hungry and feel good when we're full. We can thank our bodies for everything they give us rather than criticizing them for everything they don't," she declared. "And when we look in the mirror, we can think of what we would say to ourselves at 12."
Fortunately, the dark-haired beauty has many more compliments to pay to a child Zosia.
"I would tell my younger self she's beautiful just the way she is," she wrote. "I hope my mom is telling herself the same thing."