Actress Lily Collins says that she was praised for her figure after losing a significant amount of weight to play an anorexic character.

Collins, 28, revealed to The Edit that she was given a compliment for her weight loss, however unhealthy, while filming the new Netflix movie, To The Bone.

“I was leaving my apartment one day and someone I’ve known for a long time, my mom’s age, said to me, ‘Oh, wow, look at you!'” said Collins. “I tried to explain [I had lost weight for a role] and she goes, ‘No! I want to know what you’re doing, you look great!’ I got into the car with my mom and said, ‘That is why the problem exists.'”

Collins plays Ellen in the new film, a 20-year-old with anorexia nervosa who has spent years trying to recover when in fact, she seems to only get more ill. Her family decides to send her to a group home for young adults led by a non-traditional doctor (Keanu Reeves).

While Collins has never experienced the extremity of her character’s illness, she has battled with her image and her perception of perfection for many years also struggling with an eating disorder.

“From a young age, I’ve had a desire to put forward this perfect image, whatever perfect was,” Collins said. “So even though there was all this un-prettiness going on inside of me, I wanted to make sure that my appearance and composure were a certain way. I imagined that people know I had these secrets and they’d be judging. Now that I’ve put things out there I feel like I’m starting from a clean slate, so when I play a character I can let go more.”

Knowing her real-life struggles, Collins’ mother, Jill Tavelman, was effected in a major way by the movie, Collins says.

“The first time [my mom] was a bit in shock. The second time I looked over at the end and she was sobbing; it really hit her hard.”

Collins is proud, though, that she is able to tell a story that is not often told in Hollywood.

“It was been amazing – crew members were coming up and saying they had experienced it through their sister or niece or friend, and with my book, too, at signings, and on the street. I’ve had emails from people in the industry saying, ‘This is my story.’

To The Bone will be released on Netflix July 14. Collins also appears in Okja, a Netflix movie as well, that was made available for streaming on Wednesday.