It’s no secret that Single Parents actress Leighton Meester had a rough childhood, but it’s something she rarely discusses publicly.

However, in anticipation of her new fashion collab with designer Christy Dawn, Leighton got real about what it was like to worry about food growing up.

Leighton told People,

“A lot of different periods of time growing up, I experienced food insecurity. That was just how I grew up. There was good, easy times and then a lot of the time towards the end of the month, it wasn’t as easy.”

It’s this experience that motivated Leighton to work with Christy to create a new jumpsuit, for which 100% of the proceeds go to L.A.’s Downtown Women’s Center. The center helps women struggling with homelessness and hunger and Leighton has volunteered there for years.

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Leighton rocking her signature jumpsuit

Leighton rarely talks about her personal life, let alone her past. The last time she truly opened up was back in 2012 for her cover story with Marie Claire.

Leighton was born while her mother was serving out a prison sentence for drug trafficking. And even once her mother got out, things weren’t exactly easy for her. She told the magazine,

“I couldn’t relate to kid stuff. ‘Jimmy doesn’t like me!’ Who cares? I was worried we didn’t have gas money or food. Those were my concerns.”

Of course, Leighton never let her childhood struggles stop her from pursuing her dreams. She added,

“You can take what is handed to you and use it as an excuse to mess up. But I’ve always handled what was given to me by life. I consider myself lucky. I was never lied to. And I was loved.”

leighton meester mom
Leighton volunteering at the Downtown Women’s Center

Speaking with People, Leighton wants folks to know that her situation growing up is not uncommon and there are more people struggling with food insecurities than you might think.

“It’s people that you work with, it’s your friend at school, it’s your neighbor. It’s people that you wouldn’t necessarily think are experiencing food insecurity.”

All three versions of the Leighton Jumper, which is made entirely of upcycled materials, are currently sold out.

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