Olivia Munn talks about how she covers up her eyelash-pulling disorder

Olivia Munn

I know the rage of Comic-Con was hot Loki with a side of Fassbender guns, but Olivia Munn was at the prolonged, overwarmed event too. Olivia was there with boyfriend Joel Kinnaman at the Kick-Ass 2 party (which is weird because neither of them are in the film), but I don’t think that panel got too much attention. Everyone at the Con was all about the Loki, and for good reason.

Elsewhere, Olivia is promoting her role in the second season of “The Newsroom,” and I know that she can be sort of generally insufferable because she’s constantly posing for Maxim-level, cheesecake pictorials while also pointing out how smart and funny she is. But she’s talking about a topic now that might soften her up just a bit. Munn reveals that she suffers from trichotillomania, which is an anxiety disorder that causes people to pull out their own hair. Some people limit the practice to scalp hair while others move on to eyebrows and eyelashes. Olivia says that her case is the eyelash-plucking variety; she has spoken about this issue previously, but now Olivia reveals how she covers the results up for the cameras:

Olivia Munn

It’s hard to believe when you see her confident performance on The Newsroom, but Olivia Munn suffers from anxiety so severe that it causes her to pull out her own eyelashes.

“It’s called trichotillomania,” the actress, 33, told PEOPLE Wednesday at the L’Oreal Women in Digital Awards in N.Y.C. “It’s the same thing as people who bite their nails.”

Munn’s condition, which began when she was 26, is triggered by big social situations. “If I were to walk into someone’s birthday party, I’d have a bad anxiety attack,” she admits, which in turn causes her to start lash-pulling.

Fortunately, the star’s experience in the makeup chair has given her the know-how to put together an easy fix. “I just created my own little lash-band with individuals,” she says, adding that she has a powder mix that she applies to her eyelids to help the false lashes adhere.

The rest of her beauty routine is simple: relying on “a good lip balm [she likes a Body Shop one] and a hair tie” to beat the summer heat.

And her final beauty must: Showing off her freckles. “I’ve had them since I can remember … it’s just my skin,” she tells PEOPLE. “I don’t like it when people try to cover them up!”

[From People]

Man, what a pain. I can see how hard it could be for an actress to cope with an absence of eyelashes, but wouldn’t it just be easier for Olivia to buy some falsies instead of sewing her own lashes together? I don’t know how that works, but I can sympathize a little bit with her plight because I went through a hair-pulling phase of my own during grad school, and that sh-t took forever to grow out. This is a very common disorder, apparently, and I’m not quite saying that Olivia is revealing her disorder as a means of appealing to the masses, but it just might help people feel a little less harsh about her.

Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn

Photos courtesy of WENN

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

41 Responses to “Olivia Munn talks about how she covers up her eyelash-pulling disorder”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Tony says:

    She’s a boring fame-hungry twat.

    Obvious agenda. Fake smiles.

    Make no mistake, she is COLD and CALCULATING.

    • Noreen says:

      Yeah, I tend to agree, but I wouldn’t use quite such cruel descriptives about her. She’s not horrible, and she’s certainly not close to being the wretch that many celebrities are.

      That said, I think she’s calculating. And I think she’s calculating by making herself a victim so that she can then “prove” what a “tough” survivor chick she is. There’s a pattern, too. About once a year she’ll reveal some terribly negative thing that happened to her and for about 12 months she’ll milk that.

      A few examples:

      Revealing some random past boyfriend who treated her terribly. But she overcame, you see!! She now keeps her men in check, damm*it!! She’s a SURVIVOR.

      Then, another year she revealed that her step-father abused her and her mother horribly. But she survived, dam*mit! She now takes NO CRAP from any man! She’s a SURVIVOR.

      Then, another year it was all about how hard it was for her to be a woman in la-la-land who is sexy while having to prove she’s also “smart and talented” and oh my God, what an uphill battle for her to “prove” she can be sexy AND smart. But she made it!! And now NO ONE will talk down to her or objectify her, dam*mit! She is a SURVIVOR.

      Now it’s the eyelashes thing, which conveniently she just started talking about this year (2013) and will milk this for several more months, and then in 2014 there will be a new thing.

      You can totally see the pattern. Yes, she is very calculating indeed.

      • Isabel says:

        She was mistreated and abused, yet released nude photos with caption like ‘choke me’, ‘hurt me’, ‘pull my hair’. She is known to sleep around to get parts.

        She has anxiety, yet takes nude pics, most of her roles consist of hot nude chick and nothing more.

        She is ‘smart and sexy’, yet shows up for the opening of an enveloppe, doesn’t seem smart, more desperate, which is not sexy. She also tells everyone she is smart, which smart people usually don’t do, because it looks silly and it means you have something to prove.

        She pulls hair because she is neurotic, yet has no problem with walking around naked in movies/taking racy pics, but when she goes to a party (which she goes to a lot judging by her red carpet pics) the world is scary. It’s almost like Miley Cyrus claiming she doesn’t sexualize stuff to sell records, because that is silly, but is photographed half naked ALL the time.

        Nah. Sorry Olivia, not buying it. I see an insecure chick, which it sad because she is funny, but trying way to hard. She could have marketed herself as a more adult and sexy nerdy chick, like a grown up Zooey Deschanel, but the stuff she does now… Nah, not gonna happen.

      • Noreen says:

        @ Isabel

        I can’t validate this 100% but I have often heard that genuine victims of abuse–be it sexually, physically, emotionally–have an extremely difficult time talking about it. They certainly do not talk about it with the public openness and ease with which Munn talks about her step-father’s alleged abuse. Does that mean she and her mom weren’t abused? No. It just means she’s unusually comfortable revealing painful and humiliating details in public.

        Anything for the career, I suppose.

      • Bridget says:

        Noreen, I’ve never heard that, and I used to work in a DV agency. In fact, MANY people who are survivors of abuse prefer to be quite open and honest about it, as its the secrecy and shame in society that allows abuse to keep going. For many it’s a part of the healing process. There are of course some individuals who will prefer not to discuss it, but it is absolutely not the norm. In fact, it implies further shame and I was strongly suggest that someone seek help if they felt the need to hide that they were abused.

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        This reminds me of a girl at school that I know. She’s fifteen, and she has a sister that is ten months younger than she is. They were both sexually abused by their stepfather. Know how I know? Because she talks about it all the time. I mean, I felt really bad for her, when she first told me, but when she just kept bringing it up (in random conversations) that kind of went away a little.

        Like she told my brother in a usual, nothing special conversation, and he said something like “oh, I’m sorry…”, and then she asked him if he was dating anyone, and got mad (and still is mad) that he said no, and steered the conversation away when he said he didn’t like her.

        The entire school knows about it because she tells everyone. I feel bad for her and her sister (especially her sister because she never says anything about it), because by her telling everyone I think it means that her mom didn’t get them into the right therapy or at least talk to her about it.

        But I don’t like her because she’s one of those girls that is always so dramatic about everything AND really lazy. A few months ago, I was complaining on here about my group not working on a project while I was sick for two days, and I ended up doing all of it myself-she was part of the group.

      • Bridget says:

        @VC, it can definitely be uncomfortable, but part of the thing about sexual abuse is that it can really, really screw up a kid – they don’t have a normal relationship with sex and sexuality, and what is to us totally inappropriate can seem normal to a victim of SA. Remember, their boundaries have been shattered by someone in their life that they should have been able to trust. It’ll affect every relationship they have for the rest of their lives, and it’ll affect their identities and self worth. It makes you uncomfortable hearing about it, but could you imagine living with it?

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        I know, I understand that people process it differently and that it will affect her for the rest of her life, but I mentioned it because she is like Olivia Munn. I felt really bad for her, wondered why her mom didn’t put her and her sister in therapy or something, but just from what I’ve seen from her, she is one of those people that invokes an awful, traumatic incident to get pity for herself. I mean she asked my brother out right after telling him that she had been molested.

        And she’s just a flat out awful person. I’m also less inclined to like her because we had a group project, in which she did absolutely no work in, and then got mad at me when she got a bad grade.

        So I do feel really bad for her, as it has obviously affected her badly. I also feel bad for her little sister because her older sister keeps telling everyone about what happened-I think that they both need help. But I’m going to avoid her now.

  2. bammer says:

    Since she goes to the opening of every event in the world she must be plucking a lot. Like every hour. Is this even true? I can easily see her lying just to get attention. A little less harsh towards her??? Guess not lol.

    • Noreen says:

      She has to stay relevant somehow, and apparently talking incessantly about herself is all she has.

    • Ktizzle says:

      I have had trichotillomania since I was about 4 years old, and the pulling is constant. I never pulled out all of my eyelashes, but I used to have enormous patches in them. I don’t pull eyelashes anymore, but just hair from my scalp.

  3. Bobbi says:

    I do this. I hate it. And to think A homemade strip of eye lashes will solve it???

    • Gretchen says:

      Man, it sucks, i do this too. it doesn’t seem to be triggered by anxiety for me, but whenever I get the feeling of an ingrown eyelash I proceed to pull out pretty much all of the eyelashes on that eye until a look in the mirror convinces me that I must have got it because there are none left….unfortunately then I also have the realisation that THERE ARE NONE LEFT and bald eyelids look weird :(

      • Venus says:

        Yep, me too. I’m worried I’m going to have a permanent bald spot on my eyelids one of these days. Luckily my eyelashes are blonde and I wear glasses, so they’re not very visible even when they’re there. Ugh.

      • lola says:

        I do this too. It’s less about anxiety, and more about this feeling of having to get rid of this strange sensation. Apparently what we have is related to OCD…
        I have become really scared of people looking directly at me, because I am afraid they will notice my lack of eyelashes or patchy eyebrows, and will question it or just think I am ugly or something.

        I have tried false eyelashes, but they become so costly, and they aren’t “mine”. I am currently trying to regrow my eyelashes back. I started in December 2012, and still have patches slowly growing in…

  4. Sixer says:

    I pulled hair for a while when I was a kid. I remember my mother panicking big that there was something terribly wrong. But there wasn’t – in my case anyway – it was just a bad habit and a few days wearing mittens broke it.

  5. Bianca says:

    One of my best friends has trichotillomania. She used to have a long thick mane of hair, but she pulled out so many of them that she eventually ended up with a rather big bald spot in the middle of her head, that she managed to cover up for a long time. We tried to get her to stop but she wouldn’t listen. She realised what she had done only when her hairdresser questioned her about it, and only then she admitted to having a problem. It was very unsettling for her and she cried her eyes out about it. It’s pretty terrible what losing one’s hair can do to self-confidence.

    • msw says:

      Please don’t mistake “not listening” with denial or having a really hard time stopping. Trich sucks and it is an evil mistress.

  6. jesb says:

    why do people have such a hater on for her? I think she is smart, sexy and well that’s pretty much it but I enjoy watching her and everything I’ve seen her on. she did a great guest spot on the new girl and I love her love love love her on the newsroom she is adorable and dorky and what I expect she is like in real life minus all the economic talk lol

  7. Poppy says:

    I have a milder version of this – I pull at my eyelashes and eyebrows mostly, rather than the hair on my head. It’s really frustrating, because you know that it’s not good but it’s really compulsive.

  8. jen says:

    I have trichotillomania (spent my middle school years with no eyebrows or eyelashes – brutal). Whatever. She gets no extra sympathy from me for being generally insufferable and constantly whining about people not taking her seriously enough.

    • emmie_a says:

      Yeah I don’t see why this would get her any sympathy. As a fellow anxiety sufferer, there are medicines and therapies known to greatly lessen anxiety. For me, those things are easier than sewing on eyelashes.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t mind her too much – I think it’s cool that she talks about her trich. I had it pretty badly when I was younger, and know quite a few people who still have it. Many people didn’t know what it was until they heard her discuss it.

    Nail biting is actually called onychophagia. Nail biting, skin picking (dermatillomania) and trichotillomania are all impulse control disorders and thought to be related to obsessive compulsive behaviours. You can have any combination of the three. I have all three – the derma and nail biting are definitely worse than the trich for me.

    • Hakura says:

      I can’t even imagine what that must be like for you. =< Your mention of the 'skin' related version of this problem caught my attention.

      I know this sounds kind of.. gross, but while I don't think it's to the level of severity to count as *that* OCD, I do have this habit of picking my scabs, sometimes w/o even realizing I'm doing it.

      I can't seem to *stand* them, & pull them off even when it usually causes me to bleed. x___x I probably have a few scars that I wouldn't have ended up with, if I'd just left it alone.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Yeah, I’ve been picking at scabs and stuff for a long time. My earliest memory of doing it was around 5 years old. It comes and goes – I found having fake nails helped with the biting. Lately though my anxiety is pretty high so I’m back to my old habits. I can relate to not realising you’re doing it.. sometimes I’m not even anxious and I’m doing it. It’s not fun.

    • Barhey says:

      I have onychophagia and dermatillomania related to anxiety, but luckily my symptoms are usually mild. Because of that , I found that getting a hard shellac or gel on my nails helps the biting a lot. It makes it so there’s nothing to bite except a hard surface, so the urges go away and I can stop doing it. It’s expensive to get my nails done constantly but it’s really been a life changer!

  10. the artful dodger says:

    I wonder if posting photos of her crotch from behind on twitter threw her into an anxiety attack? Birthday parties are pretty scary.

  11. Shijel says:

    I can relate. I pluck my eyebrows and eyelashes both. It blows, I have gaps in my lashes and brows and it looks dumb. I even bleached my brows to go for that ‘alien’ look, as it also hides my very uneven eyebrows. It’s not even anxiety, when I’m idling I just… start plucking.

    Other than that, this chick does not concern me.

  12. Lucy2 says:

    I have that too, but never too badly and it’s lessened over time. It must be tough in a career that focuses so much on appearance.

    But I find it a little hard to believe she has THAT much social anxiety, given her chosen career and that she shows up to every event she’s allowed into. I can’t see someone who claims a friend’s birthday party gives them an anxiety attack happily going to comic con or other big events like that, or constantly being about self promotion.

  13. Bridget says:

    For some reason Olivia Munn doesn’t bug me. She’s got an awful lot of hustle, which she needs as she’s an over-30 cheesecake girl. And clearly people like her in person, because she’s made an awful lot of great connections even on small jobs.

  14. annaloo. says:

    I love her. I love that she’s smart and beautiful. I love that she’s not afraid to embrace the skank. I don’t think she’s particularly funny, but that she’s fluent in Japanese makes me proud. She’s a breath of fresh air from all the blond, twig skinny types that dominate the entertainment field and press. Plus she’s a fellow hapa military brat! Represent! Keep up the Hollywood strategy, girl!

  15. Hakura says:

    I have an incredibly ‘cynical’ mind. After reading this, the first thing that popped into my head was “Maybe she saw all the attention (& support) Kelly Rippa got for her disorder recently, & figured she could take advantage.

    I don’t know anything about her, nor seen anything she appeared on, so I can’t judge what kind of a person she is.

    • Noreen says:

      Munn had already “revealed” her eyelash pulling earlier this year well before Kelly’s issue was revealed. It’s just that Munn keeps “revealing” it to anyone who will listen. See my post at the top of the page about her pattern for doing this.

  16. Isabel says:

    Just a way of trying to appeal to women, because generally they think she is a famewhore.
    Her whole ‘sexy nerd’thing is for the male fans, the sob stories for the female fans.

    I don’t believe a single word she says.

  17. Reese says:

    I’ll always remember her as that chick who sent those dirty texts and naked pics to Chris Pine. Boy those were…interesting lol.

    So I know she’s on the Newsroom and I think she’s a slightly below average actress. Has she really done anything else?

    She is pretty though. Wow.

  18. Daniel says:

    can she just go away now, ugh! no-talent chick who is showing off her body in mens magazines, ugh! boring! yawn! go away now!

  19. Official Bitch says:

    Women do not care for this douche.