Olivia Rodrigo, 18, had to outgrow the notion that ‘being sweet is the end-all’

Olivia Rodrigo has an excellent profile in the September issue of GQ. Olivia is one of the biggest things in pop music today, she’s already produced several hits and her album Sour is going to be one of the biggest albums of the year. Olivia also has a really smart team around her – considering she “got famous” during the pandemic, I think it would have been easy for her to blanket the media through Zooms and interviews and really get overexposed. She has not done that. There’s a natural reticence about her which is very appealing. As the GQ writer notes, this 18-year-old seems to have a good head on her shoulders. Some highlights from this piece.

Her one piece of artwork in her new apartment: Inside a white frame ceremoniously sits a single printed-out tweet. Specifically, a tweet about her by Cardi B that reads: “You doing sooo good for your age. Don’t let no toxic sh-t get to you and don’t let nobody restrict you from your voice.” Olivia says:“I honestly bawled. I literally saw it and cried. I was like, ‘Thanks, Cardi. I’m not going to listen to bullsh-t.’ ”

Her apartment: “I love living alone. I also just don’t know how to take care of myself, though. I don’t know what to buy from the grocery store or how to clean up after myself, I realized. It’s been a learning experience.”

Accusations of artistic plagiarism by Courtney Love: “To be honest, I’m just flattered that Courtney Love knows that I exist.”

On Joshua Bassett’s coming out: “I know nothing about it, and it’s not my business to speak on it.”

Whether she’ll still act: “Not sure. I really don’t know where my career’s going to go in the next five years or in the next 10. I’m really grateful that I get to be doing both now. I just think it’s about finding projects and writing songs I feel really passionate about.

The first album that inspired her: “The one that first comes to mind is Lorde’s Pure Heroine. When it came out, I was like 11 or 12 or something like that. I had the vinyl record of it. I got it from Urban Outfitters. I remember listening to the lyrics and thinking, Oh, my God—I can actually see myself in these lyrics.

On the Britney Spears situation: “The Britney stuff was just horrific, and I’ve been following it very closely. I think it’s just so awful. I think, as an industry, people are getting better at not taking advantage of and manipulating and bullying young women. But it’s still so apparent, and I witness that too. Not near at the level that Britney has, obviously. I think that’s an important paradigm that I hope that we’ll be able to break in the coming generations. I’ve definitely seen corporate dollars be prioritized over people’s mental health. That’s always been something that I’ve been really conscious of in my own career, and I’m really lucky I’m surrounded by people who are conscious of that and conscious of my mental health being the most important thing. You can’t make art and have a good career if you’re not there.

Where she thinks being a “people pleaser” comes from: “Being a girl. I think women are praised for always being nice and kind and helpful. And that’s something that I’ve had to sort of outgrow as I grew up as a young woman in the world—that notion of being sweet is the end-all. That sort of mindset got me into a lot of situations where I just didn’t stick up for myself. I didn’t advocate for myself or treat myself well. There’s a lot more adjectives to me than sweet.

She’s a happy person who loves dramatic, sad songs: “I’m the happiest person ever, which people might not guess from my songs. I love drama in songs, and I just love really depressing songs. I just love songs that move you. It’s also, I think, a medium for you to express feelings that aren’t fun or socially acceptable to talk about. Like, “good 4 u” is so angry and petty. I would never go up to somebody and say stuff like that, but you can in the song, and it’s really therapeutic that way.

She’s not into dating apps: “I had Raya for a second, and it was so vomit. Like, I could not.”

[From GQ]

Love that she name-checks Lorde because out of all the pop stars from the past decade, that’s the kind of vibe Olivia gives off too. Not musically – their music is different – but that energy of “wiser than her years” and “a surprisingly mature pop star for her age.” She even dodges questions like a seasoned pro – she’s not getting into a war of words with Courtney Love, nor will she comment on her ex’s coming out. It also feels like there are a lot of women – Taylor Swift, Cardi, to name a few – who are keeping their eye on Olivia and they’re there to advise her if she needs it.

Her GQ video is very cute:

Photo courtesy of GQ.

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8 Responses to “Olivia Rodrigo, 18, had to outgrow the notion that ‘being sweet is the end-all’”

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  1. Size Does Matter says:

    When a woman gets older, it’s “pleasant” instead of “sweet.” Fuck pleasant.

    • Mmc says:

      I think being pleasant and polite to everyone is the bare minimum, for men and women.

      • Oria says:

        Yeah, I agree. You can be pleasant and polite, and STILL advocate for yourself and stick up for yourself.
        Unless the situation is calling for a proper amount of anger, then all bets are off

      • Justme says:

        Thanks Mmc. Nothing wrong with being pleasant (or for that matter sweet). Doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat. But sometimes I think people nowadays- male and female, could try to be a little more pleasant and polite. Makes life more . . .well – pleasant for all of us!

  2. C.R. says:

    Why do these modern pop kids look so dead behind the eyes? Billie Eilish too. Someone give em a coffee.

  3. LWT00 says:

    Word. Woe betide the person who calls me “sweet.” I’ve never considered it a proper compliment.

  4. Normades says:

    She has a lot of good things to say and says them well.

    But, the thing that stood out most is the bit that the guy everyone thought Drivers license is about came out?! So the blonde in the song was just his friend (She always said it was lies). They both got a lot of flack for that online and to my knowledge Olivia just stayed mum. Maybe I’m missing something here, so please correct me, but that’s not cool.

  5. Otaku fairy says:

    It’s good that she sees that at such an early age and is finding that balance. Even when you understand in your head as a woman that there are risks to making that the end-all, it’s uncomfortable to put it into practice and seems like it’s a lifelong struggle, with lots of backsliding along the way. In the moment, it may seem like our motive for choosing sweetness is 100% about not wanting to add to someone’s bad day. But a lot of times, a good portion of it for us as young women is also about protecting ourselves from the ‘punishments’- even when we know sparing ourselves from that comes at someone else’s expense. Not that sweet in the end. There’s evidence that it’s easier for females to respond when a male is in pain, so we may have to be more on guard with this weakness in some areas than others.
    It’s good that she’s had people looking out for her, and hopefully things really are changing for girls, even if it’s slow.