Camila Mendes

Camila Mendes on how a tragic experience led to her ‘To build a home’ tattoo

“I had a very, very bad experience”

Camila Mendes is opening up about a terrifying experience she had while she was a freshman in college. The Riverdale actress, who attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, told Women's Health Magazine about why she got tattoo that reads "To build a home" above her ribcage after being sexually assaulted during her first year of college.


Camila Mendes©Beau Grealy
Camila Mendes opened up about her terrifying sexual assault experience during her first year of college

“I got the tattoo after my freshman year,” she told the publication. “I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me.” It was then that the 25-year-old actress decided to ink herself with the quote that according to the story, stregthened "both her sense of self and the environment around her."

In the issue, she also reveals that she spent her childhood moving around a lot and since her terrifying experience, has promised herself that she'd do things that'd create the qualities from a physical home. That tattoo also serves as a reminder that she can feel safe and comfortable no matter where she is. “Moving around throughout my whole childhood was a bit traumatic. You’re constantly saying goodbye to people, and you’re constantly being removed from your identity," she explained. "When you start to feel like you’re connecting with a group of people, an environment, and a home—a physical home—it can be destabilizing when you’re uprooted and taken somewhere else.”

Camila Mendes sexual assault story©Getty Images
“I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me”

One way she tries to overcome a difficult situation is taking care of her body. “Whenever I feel like I’m going through something difficult, I think about what I can do physically for myself,” she said. That includes working out, but also just resting and eating what she wants. “People sometimes put working out first and don’t give their bodies rest. I’ll always choose sleep first. I think it’s just so underrated,” she told the magazine. "It’s health that’s important, not appearance. I make choices that are good for me—and not just in my body—but for my soul, for my mind. And sometimes that’s eating ice cream because I want to eat ice cream.”

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