Lizzo: ‘I didn’t love who I was because I was told I wasn’t lovable’

Princess Charlotte is spotted on her first day of School in London!

Lizzo is one of three cover subjects for Elle’s Women in Music issue, the October issue. I love Lizzo. I think the world has collectively fallen for Lizzo. She’s amazing and she’s become a big star at the age of 31, which gives her a maturity to avoid doing and saying problematic pop star sh-t, quite honestly. Lizzo doesn’t say anything particularly controversial in this interview, but knowing that these quotes about self-love and her years of struggle are coming from a plus-sized African-American woman in today’s world IS the “controversy.” You can read the full Elle piece here. Some highlights:

Her wilderness years: “I just felt like I was throwing music into the world and not even making a splash. A tree was falling in the forest and not making a sound, you know? I was crying in my room all day. I said, ‘If I stop making music now, nobody would f–king care.’ ” Her producer showed up at her apartment to give her a pep talk, and to tell her that even if her music didn’t feel important to the world, at least it was important to the two of them. “So I just made the decision to keep going as an artist. And I’m so grateful I did, but it was by the skin of my teeth.”

The idea of a one-album wonder: “If my next album doesn’t do anything like this [one], and this was just a one-time thing, I’m going to be grateful. And I’m also gonna have a fan base that I can tour on. I’ve been touring for a long time—why would that stop? I’m gonna continue to do that forever.”

The days of living in Minnesota & working with Prince: “I miss those days. Not just when Prince was physically with us, but how it felt to be young and excited about music, and life, and not knowing what was next, and not having money but manifesting our dreams. There’s a spirit of adventure that I took away from that—to never let life and music not feel adventurous, and to always push yourself and believe in the magic you’re creating.”

She used to feel more comfortable as part of a group: “I had an insecurity about what a star looks like, or what a front-person looks like. I felt like I was inadequate; I felt like I wasn’t enough; I felt like people didn’t want to look at me and listen to what I had to say.”

Self-love: “I take self-love very seriously. And I take it seriously because when I was younger, I wanted to change everything about myself. I didn’t love who I was. And the reason I didn’t love who I was is because I was told I wasn’t lovable by the media, by [people at] school, by not seeing myself in beauty ads, by not seeing myself in television…by lack of representation. My self-hatred got so bad that I was fantasizing about being other people. But you can’t live your life trying to be somebody else. What’s the point?”

[From Elle]

“My self-hatred got so bad that I was fantasizing about being other people. But you can’t live your life trying to be somebody else.” That quote is a gut-punch. But even there, I feel like she should give herself a break – a vivid fantasy life is how people cope, you know? It’s how people survive the bad times, the low moments – we dream we’re somewhere else, we dream that we’re someone else. Anyway, I can really feel her emotional journey into self-acceptance and self-love. It wasn’t an automatic or easy thing for her, and even now that she’s a big star, I’m sure she encounters people on a daily basis who are trying to demean her. But she’ll keep on thriving. I hope.

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty, cover courtesy of Elle.

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22 Responses to “Lizzo: ‘I didn’t love who I was because I was told I wasn’t lovable’”

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  1. Tiffany says:

    These editors still have not learned, have they. Lizzo’s lower body should not be covered, at all.

    They should have just done a close up and be done with it.

    • Renee says:

      Right Tiffany. It’s the first thing I noticed. They always do this with plus size women (they did the same thing with Melissa McCarthy on a cover a couple years ago.) Their answer is to always put a big coat to cover.

    • smee says:

      ITA agree. I saw another photo shoot where they covered her up with orange tulle. B.S. She and her team do not hide her body on stage and she shouldn’t go along with this shiz….

      Lizzo is totally what the world needed. I’m sure she’ll have a long career ❤

  2. Sayrah says:

    She’s so great.

  3. Lillian says:

    When others talked about how society and their standards. It really upsets me. People would tell me I was fat growing up and I had low self esteem. It comes back every once in a while, I can’t even take pictures of myself. I love Lizzo and I look up to her

    • Lily says:

      I didn’t mean to post that twice!

    • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

      I was a chubby kid, maybe 10-15 overweight, but growing up as a child in the age of Twiggy, if you weren’t a stick, you were fat. I was *always* told, “Oh, you have such a pretty face…if only you were thin(ner).” I always felt so bad about myself, that I wasn’t *really* good because I wasn’t thin. Good grades didn’t matter, artistic/linguistic talent didn’t matter. I wasn’t thin. THAT was all *I* heard, out loud, and more importantly, in my head. There weren’t ANY chubby/heavy role models (unless you counted an old(er) comedienne, Totie Fields (who died due to complications from diabetes during plastic surgery).

      ALL of my childhood, teen years, into my 20s…same line (the thought behind it being you’d have friends, boyfriends, be invited to parties, etc)”…if only you were thin”. Well… I lost the weight, and you know what… it *didn’t* change. I gained the weight back and then some. Over and over, up until my 40s. I’ve lost enough weight in my lifetime so that I should be hanging from a charm bracelet. Hundreds of pounds, up and down. I always kept hearing, “…if only…”

      Well…finally, in my late 40s I lost almost 150 lbs., and in the last 18 mos. I’ve lost another 50 lbs., FOR ME. And while my life hasn’t changed, radically or otherwise, now *I* feel better about ME, MY health etc. And while there are great role models now, I still feel the message really isn’t out there.

  4. Lily says:

    When others talked about how society and their standards. It really upsets me. People would tell me I was fat growing up and I had low self esteem. It comes back every once in a while, I can’t even take pictures of myself. I love Lizzo and I look up to her

    I’ve had very few dates and never been in love, still a virgin in my twenties. Feel like a loser

    • lanne says:

      You are NOT, NOR HAVE EVER BEEN a loser!!! Twenties is so young. Love will come. So many people (including me) did stuff I wasn’t ready to solely because I thought I was “missing out” on something. Think of all of the wisdom and maturity you can bring to your first experience whenever it comes (and wait to share yourself with the person who sees all of your wonderful qualities and shows genuine interest in you! You deserve kindness and respect. We all do. Those first experiences might be awkward, uncomfortable, and weird, but those are authentic feelings, and authenticity builds relationships)! Go ahead, take a selfie! Look at it closely. Ask yourself: what beautiful thing can I see in my own face? Do I radiate calm? kindness? exuberance? Smile, eyes, animated, interesting face? Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, just look at yourself and smile. I guarantee, if you look at yourself with love, you will see something beautiful. If you can’t right now, then say, “I need to learn to love myself.” And then come back to the exercise when you are feeling good about who you are as a person. Feeling confident is a delicate thing sometimes–we have to nurture that feeling, but it can grow. Do something nice for yourself that you like to do, even if it’s a scented bubble bath. Feel happiness in the moment, even in the smallest thing. Think of all your great qualities and celebrate them! When you can feel good about yourself, you can project that good feeling outward, and that’s what beauty is all about, anyway. We all feel like losers sometimes, but we have to recognize how distorted and wrong that feeling is, and actively fight against it. So many of us women are our own worst enemies. It’s not arrogant to love yourself. Love is much better armor to face the world with than self loathing. Practice self love every day, even by taking just a small action. Relationships will come, but in the meantime, why not build a better relationship with yourself? Hope these words from a stranger can help.

    • MC2 says:

      As my bff told me when I complained about not dating or having sex “girl, I can send you a postcard that reads ‘this is all the hurt feelings & bad sex you missed’, so you can have that & get over it.” The sex that is worthwhile & fun is when you are comfortable with yourself & who you are with, until those happen it’s just lame & unfulfilling anyway. Keep doing you, try to ignore the box that society tries to put you in & it’ll happen.

    • Christina says:

      Lily and Lanne, yes!!! Lily, listen to Lanne.

      You are wonderful as you are.

  5. JanetFerber says:

    Lily, it gets better. It really does. And Lizzo is super-amazing and I love her.

  6. Nicegirl says:

    I love Lizzo so so much❤️❤️❤️

  7. AppleTartin says:

    Yeah, this hits home with me also. Was told my whole life how fat and ugly I was by a sick family member who had to make other feels bad to make themselves feel good.

    Until I was able to break the cycle and look at myself and see how cute I really am and be free.

  8. MyHiddles says:

    What I love about her is most of her music references women taking care of each other.

  9. Naddie says:

    I can relate to every single word of the last paragraph, minus the representation (sorta). And I don’t even want to look better to impress anyone, I just want to be able to take a picture. To look in the mirror without looking straight away. I love you Lizzo.

  10. Bc says:

    This made me shed tears. The fact that im the same age , been battling the same issues and slowly just this year coming into the realization that i am enough just for me as i am even with all my “issues”.

  11. India Rose says:

    NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert with Lizzo is fantastic. You can watch it on YouTube.

    Lily, be your radiant, glorious self. Follow the ideas that excite you, surround yourself with what you love, listen to music that makes you light up inside and let your light shine bright. You are so brave to share this deeply.

    Maya Angelou said, “Radiant jewel: you glow, you shine.” And so you do.

  12. Kath says:

    Words cannot express how much I love Lizzo. I wish someine like her had been around when I was growing up.

  13. Tea says:

    I like Lizzo though I can’t help but notice her latest hits are always about how she dresses up / gets hair done / etc to feel pretty or good about herself. There’s a lot of consumerism in there. Not the best message. Just a different thing to do to feel good to replace weight stuff. Why do women always have to do something to be ‘okay’?