Chloë Grace Moretz has candidly discussed her struggle with body dysmorphia and anxiety after an “onslaught of horrific memes” about her physique left her feeling incredibly “self-conscious.”
Chloë quickly rose to fame at just 12 years old, after starring in 2010 superhero film Kick-Ass alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Nicolas Cage.
And the actor has only landed tons of other huge roles over the years, appearing in Carrie, Neighbors 2, and If I Stay, to name just a few of her projects.
But of course, a fame-filled lifestyle comes with its setbacks, and Chloë, now 25, sat down with Hunger magazine this week to reflect on the hardships of being in the spotlight from such a young age.
“After Kick-Ass, the first time I experienced paparazzi, it was 10 to 15 adult guys surrounding a 12-year-old girl,” she recalled.
“They pushed my mom and she ended up falling into traffic,” Chloë said. “She didn’t get hurt, but the situation was really chaotic. It’s an assault on all the senses, with screaming and flashes. I got into the car afterwards and I just burst into tears.”
And Chloë went on to detail her fear of being photographed by paparazzi out in public, much of which stemmed from facing a huge public mockery when a picture of her was turned into a now-viral meme.
Back in 2016, Chloë — who was 19 at the time — found herself trending across social media after she was papped walking into her hotel holding two pizza boxes. In the photos, the actor was wearing a black T-shirt and shorts, along with a pair of high heels.
The photo was quickly edited by internet users to extend the length of Chloë’s legs while her torso was shortened. The manipulated picture was then placed alongside Family Guy character Legs Go All the Way Up Griffin, resulting in a viral meme that still circulates on Twitter to this day.
Speaking about the meme now, Chloë said that it was “very hard” for her to get over as she discussed the lasting impacts of the public mockery.
“For a long time I was able to be the Chloë that people see and the Chloë that I am in private,” she began. “Then those two worlds collided and I felt really raw and vulnerable and open. 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 shared. “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.”
Chloë went on to note that she voiced her discomfort at the meme with someone in her life. However, she said that they quickly dismissed her feelings, telling her to “shut the fuck up” because it was “funny.”
“Everyone was making fun of my body and I brought it up with someone and they were like, ‘Oh, shut the fuck up, it’s funny,’” Chloë recalled.
“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,” she said. “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 the meme went viral online, Chloë said that she was left unable to fully enjoy the process of being photographed out and about, and wound up becoming a total “recluse.”
“After that, I was kind of sad,” she said. “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. 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 headfuck.”
“I basically became a recluse,” she went on. “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.”
And Chloë went on to reveal that the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was actually somewhat beneficial to her, as she was about to “get away with a lot more” while she was concealed by a face mask out in public.
“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 said.
Speaking with Variety for its 2017 Power of Young Hollywood issue, Chloë recalled being reduced to tears after an unnamed onscreen love interest — who she said was at least seven years older than her — told her he’d “never” date her in real life because she was “too big.”
“This guy that was my love interest was like, ‘I’d never date you in real life,’ and I was like, ‘What?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, you’re too big for me’ — as in my size," she said.
“It was one of the only actors that ever made me cry on set ... I had to pick it up and go back on set and pretend he was a love interest, and it was really hard. It just makes you realize that there are some really bad people out there and for some reason, he felt the need to say that to me,” she continued.
“I look back on it and I was 15, which is really, really dark," she said, adding that the actor in question was “23, 24, or 25.”