Billie Eilish has spoken about her body image and the artistic persona she’s created.
The 18-year-old star, who delivered a powerful message against body-shaming in arena tour video earlier this year, said that she can feel “trapped” by the way she portrays herself in the spotlight.
“Sometimes I dress like a boy. Sometimes I dress like a swaggy girl. And sometimes I feel trapped by this persona that I have created, because sometimes I think people view me not as a woman,” she told GQ in a new interview.
She continued: “That tour video was about all that. It is me saying: look, there is a body underneath these clothes and you don’t get to see it. Isn’t that a shame? But my body is mine and yours is yours. Our own bodies are kind of the only real things which are truly ours. I get to see it and get to show it when I want to.”
“Here’s a bomb for you: I have never felt desired. My past boyfriends never made me feel desired. None of them,” she said. “And it’s a big thing in my life that I feel I have never been physically desired by somebody. So I dress the way I dress as I don’t like to think of you guys – I mean anyone, everyone – judging it, or the size of it.”
She added that her perception of herself may change. “But that doesn’t mean that I won’t wake up one day and decide to wear a tank top, which I have done before.” The interviewer asked that when she does do that, how does it make her feel? “Well, I do that and suddenly my boobs are trending on Twitter. Which is fine – that shit looks good.”
Eilish’s ‘Where Do We Go?’ world tour kicked off in Miami in March before later being halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
During an interlude at the Miami gig – and at subsequent shows – a video clip starring Eilish was projected onto big screens. Narrating the visuals, which presented the singer in a vest before stripping down to her bra and sinking into water, Eilish called out those who have body-shamed her: “The body I was born with – is it not what you wanted?”
Eilish asked in the clip: “Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips?
“The body I was born with – is it not what you wanted? If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?” She finished the clip by warning against making “assumptions about people based on their size”.
Elsewhere in the GQ interview Eilish spoke about scaling back her use of social media. “Look, I am clickbait at the moment. Anything with my name on it or anything I say or do can and will be used against me. I don’t watch people’s [Instagram] Stories, I quit Twitter a couple of years ago, I look at the occasional meme and I feel bad that I don’t post more, as the fans want it, but I have nothing to post. Honestly. Zip.”
In other news, Eilish has joined dozens of musicians including Rihanna, Dre Dre and Beyonce in calling for justice for George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody on May 25 and sparked a wave of anti-racism protests globally.