Amanda Bynes returned to the spotlight in a big way as the cover star of Paper magazine’s annual “Break the Internet” issue. In a lengthy and often emotional profile, Bynes reflected on the rise and fall of her career as an actress, especially how some of her most popular films, “She’s the Man” and “Easy A,” played a role in negatively shaping her self-image and driving her out of Hollywood.
“She’s the Man,” a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” released in 2006, starred Bynes opposite then-newcomer Channing Tatum. The story had Bynes’ character spending a large portion of the movie dressed as a man, which the actress told Paper had a damaging effect on her mental health.
“When the movie came out and I saw it, I went into a deep depression for 4-6 months because I didn’t like how I looked when I was a boy,” Bynes said. “I’ve never told anyone that.”
Bynes said the image of herself with sideburns and short hair ignited “a super strange and out-of-body experience” that put her in a funk. The actress reacted even more critically to “Easy A,” Will Gluck’s 2010 teen comedy which cast Bynes opposite Emma Stone. Bynes played a devout Christian mean girl in the film and earned strong reviews, as did the film as a whole, but the actress said she had “a different reaction than everyone else to the movie.”
“I literally couldn’t stand my appearance in that movie and I didn’t like my performance,” Bynes said. “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.”
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After seeing “Easy A,” Bynes convinced herself it was time to give up acting and leave Hollywood behind. “I was convinced that I should never be on camera again and I officially retired on Twitter, which was, you know, also stupid,” Bynes said. “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!”
“Easy A” remains Bynes’ last feature film. As revealed in the Paper magazine interview, Bynes is now studying fashion at Los Angeles’ Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.