Amanda Bynes had a promising start to her acting career. The young actress rose to fame in shows like Nickelodeon's All That; later, she starred in The Amanda Show and charmed audiences with her roles in peppy, kid-friendly flicks like What a Girl Wants and She's The Man. But behind the scenes, Bynes was struggling with depression, deep insecurities about her physical appearance, and increased reliance on drugs such as marijuana and Adderall. Plus, there were those strange tweets...
Now a successful student at Los Angeles' Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (since 2014), Bynes is seeking to put her past behind her and resume a career in acting and fashion. But first, she was willing to reflect on it all for a candid interview with Paper magazine.
Of the time when she began relying on drugs, Bynes said: "I definitely abused Adderall." Around the time she was filming Hairspray, she recalled, " [I was] reading an article in a magazine that [called Adderall] 'the new skinny pill' and they were talking about how women were taking it to stay thin. I was like, 'Well, I have to get my hands on that."
She continued, "When I was doing Hall Pass, I remember being in the trailer and I used to chew the Adderall tablets because I thought they made me [more] high [that way]. I remember chewing on a bunch of them and literally being scatterbrained and not being able to focus on my lines or memorize them for that matter."
At the same time (in 2010), Bynes was feeling down about her physical appearance, especially when she saw herself on screen. She would later quit Hall Pass, leaving the cast and crew in a lurch.
The feeling of insecurity only worsened when Bynes watched herself in Easy A. "I literally couldn't stand my appearance in that movie and I didn't like my performance. I was absolutely convinced I needed to stop acting after seeing it. I was high on marijuana when I saw that but for some reason it really started to affect me. I don't know if it was a drug-induced psychosis or what, but it affected my brain in a different way than it affects other people. It absolutely changed my perception of things."
After that, Bynes infamously took to Twitter to announce her retirement from acting. And yes, she realizes now that was not the best move. "I was convinced that I should never be on camera again and I officially retired on Twitter, which was, you know, also stupid. If I was going to retire [the right way], I should've done it in a press statement — but I did it on Twitter. Real classy! But, you know, I was high and I was like, 'You know what? I am so over this' so I just did it. But it was really foolish and I see that now. I was young and stupid." But things would get worse.
At the time, Bynes said, "I was hanging out with a seedier crowd and I isolated a lot... I got really into my drug usage and it became a really dark, sad world for me ... [I was] just stuck at home, getting high, watching TV and tweeting."
Oftentimes, Bynes' tweets turned into bizarre jabs aimed at fellow celebrities. "I'm really ashamed and embarrassed with the things I said. I can't turn back time but if I could, I would. And I'm so sorry to whoever I hurt and whoever I lied about because it truly eats away at me. It makes me feel so horrible and sick to my stomach and sad," she said. "Everything I worked my whole life to achieve, I kind of ruined it all through Twitter."
Now four years sober, Bynes is by all accounts doing well at school. The president and chief executive of FIDM told Paper: "She wanted to get well. She's tasted the worst of the world and she's come through it beautifully. And I think one of the things she's going to be greatest at now is giving advice, starting with young people in the fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth grades — people who are tempted by [others] around them. She can talk to anybody about anything and say, 'I've been there and done that and you can [overcome this], too. She could save so many young people today."
One of Bynes' advisors added, "Instructors love her. Love her." She claimed the teachers have said they "wished all of their students could be like [Amanda]. She's smart, she participates in class — she's an amazing student."
"Truly, for me, [my behavior] was drug-induced, and whenever I got off of [drugs], I was always back to normal," Bynes said. Now planning to get back to acting, she said that she hopes to approach finding roles "kind of the same way I did as a kid, which is with excitement and hope for the best."
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