Taylor Swift has opened up about the body image struggles she faced earlier in her career, and why she finally decided to start talking politics.
Swift spoke candidly as she gears up for the release of her new documentary, Miss Americana.
During the Netflix film, the ‘Lover’ singer is heard saying: “It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day.”
She admits that while she isn’t proud of it, there have been a small number of occasions when “a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or… someone said that I looked pregnant, and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit — just stop eating.”
Speaking to Variety, Swift confessed that she wasn’t sure how comfortable she would feel “talking about body image and about the stuff I’ve gone through in terms of how unhealthy that’s been for me — my relationship with food and all that over the years.”
“I’m not as articulate as I should be about this topic because there are so many people who could talk about it in a better way,” she said, explaining that she was reassured by the way in which Miss Americana’s director Lana Wilson told her story.
“All I know is my own experience,” she explained. “And my relationship with food was exactly the same psychology that I applied to everything else in my life: If I was given a pat on the head, I registered that as good. If I was given a punishment, I registered that as bad.”
Swift recalled seeing her photo on a magazine cover for the first time early in her career, with the headline “Pregnant at 18?”
“I just registered that as a punishment,” she said. “And then I’d walk into a photo shoot and be in the dressing room and somebody who worked at a magazine would say, ‘Oh, wow, this is so amazing that you can fit into the sample sizes.’ And I looked at that as a pat on the head.”
Now aged 30, Swift said that her relationship with food and with her body is much more positive.
Whereas in her younger days she would sometimes feel faint on stage because of her eating habits, she now realises “if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel [drained].”
While she now feels able to ignore criticism of her body, she still recognises the impossibility of beauty standards.
“If you’re thin enough, then you don’t have that ass that everybody wants,” she says in Miss Americana. “But if you have enough weight on you to have an ass, your stomach isn’t flat enough. It’s all just f—ing impossible.”
Taylor Swift on Cats and being an LGBT+ ally.
Elsewhere in the interview, Swift acknowledged the critical mauling that faced her most recent project.
“I had a really great time working on that weird-ass movie,” she says of her part in Cats.
She also explained her decision to come out swinging for LGBT+ rights and to speak out against the Republicans after many years of remaining apolitical.
Swift said “to celebrate but not advocate felt wrong,” and that using her voice to support LGBT+ rights “was the only choice to make.”
“I’ve talked about equality and sung about it in songs like ‘Welcome to New York,’ but we are at a point where human rights are being violated,” she said.
“When you’re saying that certain people can be kicked out of a restaurant because of who they love or how they identify, and these are actual policies that certain politicians vocally stand behind, and they disguise them as family values, that is sinister. So, so dark.”