Camila Mendes was drugged and sexually assaulted as a student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she revealed in a candid interview with Women’s Health.
The profile leads with Mendes’s constant craving for stability; choosing to frequent the same spots for coffee and cultivate routines that remain consistent even when her physical surroundings change. It makes sense that she’d look for continuity as an adult—growing up, she moved 12 times before she turned 18. But it’s more than that. She got a tattoo of the words “To build a home” on her ribcage following her traumatic freshman year:
“I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me,” she told the magazine.
From then on, Mendes vowed to make sure that everything in her life made her feel safe and comfortable. The tattoo is a reminder to strengthen herself and her environment.
“Whenever I feel like I’m going through something difficult, I think about what I can do physically for myself,” she says.
“I danced for seven years, from age 4 to 11. Then I did musicals as a kid, then so much of acting school is movement classes and connecting your breath to your body,” she says. “Activity has always been an important part of my life.”
Last year, Mendes’s Riverdale costar Lili Reinhart published a Tumblr post in which she recounted a situation in which a “significantly older” man she was working with tried to force himself on her.
“I had to stop him and say ‘no, I don’t want that,’ and “I can’t do that,” she wrote. “I physically walked away from the situation before it could get any worse. I remember feeling like this was a scene right out of a horror movie.”