Mena Suvari is finding her voice. The American Beauty star is opening up in her new book, The Great Peace: A Memoir, and in a series of interviews, about her journey toward healing after trauma.
The 42-year-old told People that she is working through her past of being sexual abused and addicted to drugs, in part, by changing her present.
She explained that she got breast implants after being on a shoot where she was given "chicken cutlets" to make her chest look larger, and that she justified her decision to her friends, saying "dresses will fit me better" and "life can be so much easier."
Suvari said that in “some ways, it was a distraction. Something I could fill my time with — so that I didn't think about everything else."
She decided to remove them. "I would catch myself so many times realizing, 'I have these bags in my chest.' And I didn't have that connection as to why I truly did it. There was a lack of appreciation on my part. So I just sort of felt like, 'Who am I and what am I doing?' I had gone to this extent, to such extremes, looking for this identity."
She also became more aware of the health consequences of breast implants. "One of the actresses I worked with at the time shared her experience with her implants and how she almost died. And I was shocked and I was terrified. And I thought, 'Oh my god, like, can this happen to me? I don't even know what kind of implant I have.' "
"I just felt like I got to this place in my life where I was like, I'm ready to just be me."
As a result of her trauma, she said she struggled with feeling unsettled: "I was always looking for the answer. I was constantly just looking for this thing that then would get me there. If I just get this, then I'm there. If I do that, then I'm there. So I get surgery. I'm proportioned. Life's good. Everything will be better. Oh, yeah."
Suvari added that was unable to "find her voice," and seeking the approval of others. "I needed someone else to tell me all the time what I could do, or what was okay. I was so scared of changing anything."
She also spoke out about an “unusual” experience she had with Kevin Spacey, while filming American Beauty, which she’s thought about following allegations of abuse against him. She told People that to prepare for a scene one day, he brought her into a side room where they "lay on the bed very close to one another. He was sort of gently holding me. It was very peaceful but weird and unusual."