By: Luana Mattos, Guest Blogger
Fame comes with a price, but sometimes it also comes with a priceless opportunity to help people; this is what Jillian Rose Reed (one of the female leads on the MTV series Awkward) is doing. She is using her fame as a platform to reach out young people to talk about important issues, such as eating disorders and diabetes. She is currently the official celebrity spokesperson and producer of Breaking The Chains, and she is a passionate spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association Los Angeles Chapter.
Image courtesy Danny Hernandez
1. Could you tell us a little bit about Breaking The Chains campaign?
Breaking the Chains is a campaign focused on changing the face of eating disorders. This is a disease that has been kept in a dark, shame-based place for so long...and we want to shed positive light on it. Give people a chance to see that they CAN recover.
2. What motivated you to join Breaking The Chains? Have you or someone close to you experienced this disease?
A big part of my motivation is my fans. I have a lot of super young followers, and if I can be a source of positivity in their lives, then I'm doing my job. I have never experienced an eating disorder per se but, being in the entertainment industry, I understand the pressure that comes with the job. I've seen the struggles that people go through, and I’ve been close to people who have struggled.
3. I like the idea of changing the face of eating disorders because it's not just about being skinny. I had an eating disorder when I was 13 and it wasn't about getting thinner, it was my way to grieve my brother's death and it was about having control of something since I couldn't control the pain I was feeling. So, Jillian, in your opinion what can we do to change the way people see eating disorders?
First of all, I'm so sorry for the pain you've experienced. That being said, you hit the nail on the head. Eating disorders are not about what someone looks like on the outside...they're about what they feel on the inside! We can change this by ending the clinical explanations, the pictures of the skinny girls, and the shame. We are shedding light on this topic by using art!! Music, pictures, drawings, color! Beautiful things. Things that make people feel inspired!
4. I heard that BTC's short film, Finding Alice has received two Awards of Merit in "The Best Shorts Film Competition", congratulations on that! Could you tell us a little bit about this project?
Thank you! We're so excited! Finding Alice came about almost accidentally. I did a photoshoot with some of the other actors and, after looking at the pictures, our executive producers realized we were telling a beautiful story. We created Finding Alice to help…to explain this disease in a different way. We're hoping to release it, place it in treatment centers, and hopefully have it touch people who are suffering.
5. I know that you're a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association - How and why did you get involved with ADA?
I'm thrilled to announce that I've taken my involvement one step further, and am now on the Celebrity Cabinet for the ADA! My whole family got involved with the ADA when I was young. My older brother was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 18, and this was our go to platform for everything we needed to know.
6. November is Diabetes Awareness Month - what do you believe we can do to raise awareness on this disease among young people?
Get involved! See what kind of events the American Diabetes Association is doing in your area and take part. To raise awareness, we need to be educated. Stay active and live a healthy lifestyle!
7. After all the experiences in your life what would tell your sixteen-year-old self?
I would tell her to stop being so dramatic, not everything is as serious as you make it seem when you're 16. Then again, I should tell my 22 year-old self that too. I would also congratulate her on being comfortable enough in her own skin to wear sweatpants to high school...sweatpants rock.
8. For many reasons you are certainly THAT GIRL, but who is THAT GIRL in your life? Who's your biggest female influence and why?
I have a few. My mom and my grandma are my best friends; they're two extremely strong women who I can look up to. I'm also extremely influenced by my cast mate and one of my best friends Nikki DeLoach. She's a fantastic friend, woman, mother, and actress.
9. You’re living your dreams, and it’s inspiring to see the sparkle in your eyes when you talk about what you do. What advice would you give to the girls that also want to pursue an artistic career?
I would tell them that if they want to do this with every bone in their body...then don't give up. It's a hard career to have, and it demands a lot from you, but if you stick to something you'll get it!
Luana is Christian girl whose faith inspires her to be the best version of herself every day. Besides her work as an administrative supervisor, she is a freelance journalist and writes a column about real life experiences, focusing on topics relevant to social projects, volunteer work, and awareness campaigns for the Brazilian website www.hollywoodeaqui.com. She also had the opportunity to interview Nicholas Sparks, Wm. Paul Young and L. J. Smith.