Fans of the Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine know Stephanie Beatriz as the ultra-tough and mysterious Detective Rosa Diaz. Recently, however, Beatriz shed her onscreen persona and opened up to fans about her struggle with anxiety and what she calls “disordered eating.” On Friday, InStyle published a powerful personal essay written by the actress in which she shared her journey and encouraged other disordered eaters to seek help.
In her essay, Stephanie Beatriz explains that eating disorders are often hard to define. For instance, she doesn’t purge, so she cannot be categorized as bulimic, and she eats, so she’s not anorexic. However, she has had an unhealthy relationship with food, which is why she uses the umbrella term “disordered eater” to describe her struggle. Beatriz wrote, “Food was both the remedy and the punishment. I thought by controlling what I ate I was controlling my fate, when it was ultimately controlling me."
Beatriz also talked about how problems relating to her disordered eating come up nearly every single day. She wrote, speaking directly to other women who may have similar problems with food and body image, "It’s not easy. Every day is f-----g hard with an eating disorder, even when you’re doing better. But it’s worth it to try and get better. Even on the hardest days, when you backslide into old patterns, it’s worth it."
To help others start down that path towards healthier habits, Beatriz says it starts with yourself. The actress explained that everyday she tells herself that she is "perfect" and "lovely" and "worthy." She is constantly reminding herself to work towards becoming her "most authentic self" and encourages others to do that same. We thought Detective Diaz was the total badass, but Beatriz just showed us that in real life, she's strong and resilient in a way that's even more inspiring.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.