Lena Dunham stares at herself in the mirror ‘because I like the way I look’

Stephen King rushes into his appearance on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert'

Lena Dunham covers the latest issue of Cosmopolitan UK. Y’all know I’ve been over Lena for years now, but I still feel the need to check in with her whenever she does a magazine interview or when she says or does something crazy-notable. Lena is in a different place these days – she’s sober and off pills. She’s recovered from her hysterectomy. She’s still dealing with significant health issues in the form of fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome though. But… she’s happy and clear-headed for the first time in years. Does she deserve a second chance? Or will she always be an a–hole? I’ll let you decide – you can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Her pill addiction: “It got really complicated. I realised I wasn’t just taking medication for physical pain, I was taking medication for the emotional pain too. And then suddenly, especially this stuff, the benzos [benzodiazepines, a common type of anxiety medication], it changes your brain chemistry and suddenly you’re not yourself. You’re not present. You’re not functional. One day, I looked around and I was lying in a bed in my parents’ apartment under two blankets, in the same pyjamas I’d been in for three days, and I was like, ‘This isn’t me.’ It wasn’t that I was suicidal. I felt nothing. I didn’t want to live.”

She’s got so much happening in her career: “Work has always been my medicine,” she says, suddenly serious. She spent 28 days in rehab, but once she was out, she threw herself into project after project – making an appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, launching a new feminist podcast, The C-Word, and directing and executive-producing HBO and BBC finance drama Industry (for which she relocated to rural Wales). A 10-part high-school series she’s exec-producing, Generation, has been commissioned by HBO Max, and this spring she starts filming her first major movie, with a second in the pipeline.

Learning to prioritize her health: “Now I tell my staff, my manager, the people I work with, ‘I’m not going to take any calls today because I’m not feeling well.’ I’ve learned to really protect myself.” Of that time, Dunham says that “my entire twenties was me jeopardising my health. I remember [during] the first season of Girls I would go out with guys and stay out until four in the morning, and then show up at work at 9am and slay it, but it was like, ‘What if I had a full night’s sleep and I didn’t feel the need to go out to the bar with every Tom, Dick and Harry who asked me because I was afraid I was unlovable?’ That’s one of the reasons medication was so easy and breezy for me, because I thought, ‘Oh, there’s a pill I can take?’

She’s abstaining from relationships too: “Sobriety for me means so much more than just not doing drugs, it also means that I abstain from negative relationships. It means I’ve taken a hiatus from dating, which has been amazing for me. I think it’s been 14 months now that I’ve just been totally single. I may have smooched a guy at a party once, but that’s not illegal. I hang out with my dogs, my cats. It’s created a lot of clarity because I think [for] so many of us, even though the world has become much more sex-positive, as young, ambitious, independent women our relationship to sex is fraught and complicated. On the one hand, we’re taught to demand what we want; on the other hand we’re scared we’ll never find anyone and have to settle.

She hasn’t had sex in a while: “I realised that until I was in a dynamic with someone who made me feel super-safe, I didn’t want to do it. People right now will go, ‘Oh my god, you haven’t had sex in over a year,’ and I’m like, ‘No, actually it’s been the most healing thing.’”

At peace with her appearance: “It’s funny, I’m probably the heaviest now that I’ve ever been in my entire life, and I’ve been through so much physically, but I look more like when I was 22 than at any other point because I can feel the peace inside me. Sometimes I’ll even find – and you’re not allowed to say this as a woman – that I’ll be sitting there staring in the mirror for two minutes because I like the way I look. I look at myself and think, ‘Woah, I just got lost looking into my own eyes.’”

[From Cosmopolitan UK]

I thought that last part was interesting because my immediate reaction was “literally Narcissus” – she’s talking about getting lost in her own beauty and staring at herself in the mirror. But then I was like… “but maybe she has a point?” She’s right – women aren’t supposed to admit that we look in the mirror and think “hell yeah, I’m hot.” I do that sometimes (rarely) but would I admit it in a magazine interview? No, because women are supposed to be humble, lest we get humbled. I don’t know. As for the rest of it… she talks like someone who has come out of the tunnel of addiction and codependence, which is what she is, so…?

Stephen King rushes into his appearance on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert'

Covers courtesy of Cosmo UK.

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64 Responses to “Lena Dunham stares at herself in the mirror ‘because I like the way I look’”

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  1. NextToMe says:

    Good for her! She really started getting on my nerves the last few years before taking a break. I had no idea she was suffering so much. But she’s a fighter and a hard worker. There is lots more success for her!

  2. runcmc says:

    “Now I tell my staff, my manager, the people I work with, ‘I’m not going to take any calls today because I’m not feeling well.”

    Wow, the sheer privilege of that statement. I know she’s not advising other people to try that but wow it would be nice to have that option in life. No, when I’m not feeling well – physically or emotionally – I still have to do my job and take calls from people I don’t wanna talk to.

    • Jackie O'Glasses says:

      That’s always been my problem with her. Her lack of self-awareness is Goop level irritating. I’m never happy to see her, but I find myself reading about her on this site, lol

    • MeganBot2020 says:

      It is, but I have EDS too and honestly I have to do the same thing. Unfortunately having a serious illness has ruled me out of many jobs, but the reality of living with a chronic illness is that your work has to fit around your health. I’m not a Lena fan at all, but what she’s saying isn’t uncommon for the entertainment industry which is finally waking up to stuff like disabled access.

    • Sumodo1 says:

      I lost my career due to Lyme Disease and it wasn’t possible to just take the day off. Not as an associate producer in a top 5 news market. Good on ya, Lena. But, no. These pictures are awful and look amateurish.

    • eto says:

      Not that I would ever take up for Lena, but do we really need to qualify everything we say with a statement about privilege? It’s a bit much that someone can’t just say, “I deal with stress by x”.

      • MB says:

        Came here to say the same thing.
        It would be amazing if people could stop whingeing about how a celebrity (who is specifically asked to talk about their experience with their own life) hasn’t stopped to acknowledge that they might have it better than other people. Of course they do. They have it better. The choices they face / make won’t always apply to the everyman. DUH! Oh, and does a celebrity pointing out the obviousness of their privilege make any flipping difference to us or our lives?! No it doesn’t.

        Seems like unless celebs are grovelling and apologetic for being famous or having cash or not being of a particular background, they can’t actually comment on anything. However, even if they do grovel and apologise for existing they are accused of being fake and performative.

      • bros says:

        There are lots of women in management positions who can say the same thing and I don’t begrudge them that they are in a position to say they are not taking calls for a day. just because she has money and happens to be annoying, I do not find it insulting that she didn’t preface her statement with an acknowledgement of her privilege. not every statement from a celeb has to be dripping with privilege apologies.

    • Nicole r says:

      She said she has EDS though, which is a chronic degenerative genetic disorder (which I also have), so she probably isn’t talking about the level of not feeling well other people are talking about. She probably doesn’t mean “I have a headache”…. She didn’t explain it well though bc if I didn’t have EDS I would have read it exactly how you did.

    • TheMummy says:

      As someone who has physical and mental disabilities, I would like to respectfully suggest that that is exactly what she should be doing sometimes. It is possible when you have disabilities to push yourself too far, and there are days where you just have to listen to your body and your mind and take all the rest. It’s not about being lazy. It’s not about not doing your job or not wanting to do your job. I can see how that might look like privilege, but there are times when you are just too depleted to even brush your own teeth. It is not laziness and it is not privilege. It is survival. She is no different just because she is famous or has a megaphone. Took me a lot of years to throw off the crushing guilt, but now I see it clearly and when I have those days, I take them without guilt. Because that is what lets me get up and keep doing all the things the next day.

      • Sara says:

        I sort of disagree with this. There have been multiple times when I was hospitalized for various illnesses/ health issues (herpetic whitlow which is intensely painful and a ruptured ovarian cyst also like as painful as childbirth ). Both times I was living overseas with my kids and my husband not realizing what was happening went to work and left me extremely unwell with our two year old. I had to push through the awful, terrible pain and take care of my baby until I could to the hospital. I clearly remember carrying my daughter from doctor office to doctor office (on public transportation) as I got worse and worse. You never know what you are capable of doing until you are in that situation. Would I have *loved* to have my spouse stay home and take care of our kids so I could lay quietly in a hospital bed recovering? Sure. Eventually I did get admitted to the hospital. But you never know what you can do until you have to do it. Lena strikes as a person who has never had to push through anything in her life. She seems to have zero grit at all.

    • theresa says:

      my thoughts too

    • Sara says:

      lol right?

      Maybe I should try telling my kids/job/dog that Mama’s not taking any calls today ok? Because I need to protect my fragile self. I’m sure my husband, boss and everyone else would love that.

      I can’t stand her.

      Oh and she needs to feel ‘safe’ with someone. Also eye roll. Anyone who has ever been married for any length of time could tell her long term relationships are not ‘safe’. At some point, some day, the gloves come off and you need to be able to deal with it, just like how you need to be able to deal with the rest of life.

      But this is someone who has the luxury of spending three days in the same pjs at her parents house as an adult. So….

  3. Keessie says:

    So out of touch. It’s the only thing I get from it. Why would they publish this…

  4. NVYwife27 says:

    She molested her sister. Unapologetically. No second chances.

    • Joy says:

      Exactly. She should be fully cancelled.

    • nicegirl says:

      Yep

    • Paula says:

      Totally canceled. I was molested by my older sister and it took me a long time to allow myself to feel the pain and call it sexual abuse because it gets down played so much in our society (“it’s just being curious”). The way Lena got away with it just showed this yet again.

      • nicegirl says:

        Paula, I wish that never happened to you, sending support your way, from your celebitchy friend nicegirl.

    • Kate says:

      What?! Ugh it’ll be so triggering to read about that but wtf I had no idea…

    • Ponytail says:

      She was seven years old. What sort of person blames a seven year old for the incident Lena Dunham descfibed in her book?

  5. Ariel says:

    She rubs me the wrong way, so take my catty comment with a grain of salt: I’m shocked she can see the mirror with her head so far up her own ass.
    She’s growing as a person? She still thinks she’s the most fascinating person in the world.

    • (THE OG) Jan90067 says:

      I’m with you, Ariel, and NVYwife27, completely. She’s just a pile of self-centered, privileged garbage.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      I’ll take your catty and raise you to obvious reason, “Psych Ward Stories,” accompanies her cover.

    • Lauren says:

      She’s the sort of person that I could see convincing herself she has a pill addiction because she thinks it makes her more interesting and relevant.

  6. Originaltessa says:

    She’s perma cancelled with me. She’s a gross and horrible person… inside and out. Yeah, it’s rough. I don’t care.

  7. Cobra says:

    but..when were you, when were you Under Lena?? :)

  8. minx says:

    Me, me, me. I, I, I.

  9. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    I still don’t like her. Not sorry.

  10. Evil Owl says:

    If she were my friend, I would cut her out because I can’t handle that level of self absorption. But as a celebrity, I mostly enjoy her and her delicious brand of entitlement. Also, her work on TV and films is very entertaining.

  11. Snappyfish says:

    I was never a fan. She is overrated. I think she became a thing because of the “fish” over Girls which was frankly meh.

  12. ChillyWilly says:

    Everything she says here is great, but she never comes off as genuine to me. She is always contradicting herself. Next year she will be telling us how she lost 60 lbs because she hated the way she looked at this size. I dunno, it all reeks of bull$hit to me.

  13. girl_ninja says:

    I’d hate to constantly have my awful mistake thrown in my face but this woman is just so selfish! The way she lied about Aurora Perrineau to discredit her still infuriated me. I believe that she actually dangerous and can’t be trusted.

  14. anon says:

    I just.

    It’s just interesting to me how. many. second. third. fourth. chances she’s been given after all the dumb shit she’s said and done just to stay relevant and attention-seek. I tried to make it through the first season of Girls, but honestly, it tried real hard to be a rehash of Sex in the City: Millennial Version that in my opinion was exploitative and demeaning – not the faux feminism that she was pushing. I mean, if you dig her schtick, because that’s what it is – a schtick – good for you.

    I don’t hate Lena Dunham – she’s not relevant enough in my worldview to really care one way or the other.

    But I will say she embodies the very definition of white privilege. She reminds me of a female version of The King of Comedy movie from the early 80s. (Google it.)

  15. FHMom says:

    Still don’t like her. She’s lucky she has a career or else she’d permantly be needing her parents to support her. I see an on line talk show in her future.

    • Imtired says:

      Interesting prediction. I’ve never seen girls (I would if it was on netflix or prime) but it was apparently a show that many people watched. So I see her running more shows or movies or documentaries. Not talk shows as she’s not very well liked.

  16. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    I’m only going to comment on one thing here. I agree that you should look in the mirror and love what you see. As women, we are pretty quick to compliment another woman but beat our selves up. And if you openly admit you think you’re beautiful, others are quick to put you down. I can admit that there are times I look in the mirror and think, “Damn, I’m beautiful.” It took a long time to get here too.

    Also, I remember in high school, another girl complimented me on something and I jumped to criticizing myself. She told me that instead of doing that, I should simply say “thank you.” It was impactful.

    • A says:

      Yep. Not only that, but I love watching myself age, too.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      Whenever I was complemented at a younger age I always said something about how *fat*I was (I wasn’t)if I said a confident thank you then it was turned into being so in love with yourself.
      At 44 I say Thankyou-it should not take that many years to learn to accept a compliment,and it’s always nice to give one too.

  17. Paula says:

    Lena Dunham stares at herself in the mirror because she is a narcissist

  18. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    Sorry: Me, Myself and I is still an arsehole. Put her in a room with Jameela Jamil and watch them out-arsehole each other

  19. Mariettaj81 says:

    I’ve never really watched anything Lena was in. To me she gives off the Harvey Weinstein vibe, but the female version. So entitled and thinks they can get away with anything. So, no not a fan.

  20. Kayla says:

    Wow no thanks

  21. Mumbles says:

    She was seven years old when she looked at her toddler sister’s private parts. There was no malice involved, just curiosity. Child abuse experts have weighed in and concluded that this wasn’t molestation or abuse.

    That said, and separate and apart from it, I do find her such a narcissist. She did a piece in the Guardian about Caroline Flack’s suicide and managed to inject herself into that sad story.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Writing about it against her sister’s wishes is pretty abusive though.

    • DSW says:

      She did some other inappropriate things as she entered her teens that might not be called molestation but definitely showed a lack of boundaries. She described bribing her sister with candy and money for lengthy mouth kisses. She even compared her actions to those of a sexual predator wooing a child. She also admitted to masturbating while lying next to her sister in bed.

  22. Rose says:

    Who crowned this numpty “the voice of a generation”

  23. Jaded says:

    The only thing that resonated with me was her comment ‘This isn’t me.’ It wasn’t that I was suicidal. I felt nothing. I didn’t want to live.”

    I’ve been there. And it wasn’t a pretty place to be, it was after an early relationship with an alcoholic, malignant narcissist. I was so young and naive…and when the relationship finally crashed and burned he’d taken everything out of me. I was empty and it terrified me, but myself finally came back and I recovered.

    Other than that I’ve never seen Girls, I only know she seems so full of herself it’s a wonder her head fits through doorways.

  24. Rashida says:

    I remember watching Girls years ago. I got halfway through the first episode and had to turn it off due to being repulsed by the unabashed privilege. When I discovered that was a fairly common response to the show it restored my faith in humanity a little.

    • Allergy says:

      This was one of those shows that irritated me enormously from the first second of the very first trailer. I could never pinpoint exactly what it was that was so off-putting. I think it was mostly just her.

  25. emmy says:

    There’s a difference between liking what you see in the mirror and getting lost in your own eyes. It’s the difference between confidence and ridiculousness.

  26. Naddie says:

    I completely believe people might find themselves beautiful and it’s healthy, but I don’t buy it from her, sounds like compensation, like a very shy person who displays a contrived loud behavior but you can see through.

  27. Nina says:

    I’ve heard her name before but no idea what she’s been in. Just skimmed the article but learnt that I don’t need to know about her . Thanks for that.

  28. sunny says:

    Still think she is problematic as hell but she has been through a lot and it is good that she is getting help and making progress. Always good to see people get the help they need and make changes in their life.

  29. Teebee says:

    She’s hoping if she says things enough and with a big enough audience she’ll believe them too.

    She might be embracing her new clean, self-accepting persona because she craves relevancy.

    You just wait. She’ll go on some crash diet soon enough, lose a ton of weight and then start wah wah-ing about how she was self-medicating with food, or that she realized she was actually compromising her health by letting herself gain weight, and now (at new skinnier size) she’s finally happy…🙄

  30. Amber says:

    Lena is someone I generally don’t like or trust all that much, but I do appreciate her frankness in talking about addiction, especially to pills. These are valuable conversations to have if we want to de-stigmatize addiction as a disease. I took benzos for years to manage panic disorder and PTSD, but I often took less than I needed to because of their reputation for being addictive. The slower-acting ones that take longer to work and stay in your body for longer, those aren’t so bad (some of them can be used to treat epilepsy as well from my understanding), but the fast-acting ones like Xanax only last a few hours and then they’re totally out of your system, and the resulting come-down from the medication can make your anxiety even worse. I was prescribed both kinds of medications but ended up only using the Xanax in absolute emergencies when I could not stop having panic attacks. They do make you feel kind of disconnected from everything. You’re in a no-man’s land between sleeping and waking, kind of. It’s pleasant, but it’s empty.
    I believe in second chances for people within reason. Taylor Swift used to drive me crazy but I do think her recent political activism, as flawed as the execution may be, is her acting in good faith. She still doesn’t do a great job of handling industry beefs, and her perception of things can be a little warped because of her privilege and fame, but I think she’s making an effort to use her platform for good and that counts for something. With Lena I just feel skeptical. I wish her all the best but I’m not a fan.

  31. Lucy2 says:

    Nope.