Billie Eilish wants to be ‘making the difference & shutting the f–ck up about it’

I took a break from covering Billie Eilish and her interviews for a bit because she was getting pretty repetitive and exhausting. I’m sure Billie exhausted herself too – every little thing about her life and work was overanalyzed by her fans, she was giving confessional interviews every week and no one wanted to actually give her the space to grow up, change and mature as a woman and as an artist. But some stuff did change for Billie over the past year: she got a boyfriend, she started accepting and loving her body more and she’s been learning how to be a better and more effective activist for the issues she cares about, like environmentalism. Billie is Vogue Magazine’s first ever “cover video,” and she used the Vogue cover story to shine a spotlight on a dozen other young climate activists’ work. This interview was pretty good. Some highlights from Billie:

Turning 21, getting out of her teen years: “Going through my teenage years of hating myself and all that stupid sh-t, a lot of it came from my anger toward my body, and how mad I was at how much pain it’s caused me, and how much I’ve lost because of things that happened to it. I got injured right after we made ‘Ocean Eyes,’ so music kind of replaced dancing.”

She has hypermobility: Years of subsequent lower body injuries, and just as many misdiagnoses, increased the alienation Eilish felt in her own skin before she discovered, through her movement coach, Kristina Cañizares, that she has a condition called hypermobility. “I felt like my body was gaslighting me for years. I had to go through a process of being like, My body is actually me. And it’s not out to get me.”

Her environmental activism: “I’ve spent all of my effort trying not to be in people’s faces about it. Because people don’t respond well to that. It makes the causes that you believe in look bad, because you’re, like, annoying the sh-t out of everybody.” But she has tried to educate people. During 2022’s Happier Than Ever world tour, Eilish set up Eco-Villages at her concert venues in partnership with Reverb, a nonprofit that has “greened” the tours of other acts and artists like Maroon 5 and Harry Styles. Inside those spaces, fans could fill their water bottles for free, register to vote, and learn about environmental nonprofits, with an emphasis on BIPOC- and women-led organizations. “I’m still not shoving information down people’s throats. I’m more like, I’m not going to tell you what to do. I’m just going to tell you why I do this. But you’re also a bad person if you don’t do it.”

She’s not an environmentalist for clout: “I don’t want to be parading around like, Look at me! I’m making a difference. I just want to be making the difference and shutting the f–ck up about it. I shouldn’t be making any products. I shouldn’t be selling anything. It’s just more sh-t to go into the landfill one day. I know that. But no one’s going to stop wearing clothes. No one’s going to stop making stuff. So I just do it in the best way I possibly can.”

She refuses to buy or use private planes: “I have to take planes. I hate it,” she says of touring’s environmental impact. Unlike other musicians of her stature, Eilish refuses to fly private and is committed to finding unusual workarounds for travel. Her determination to reduce her carbon footprint resulted in 8.8 million gallons of water saved, and 15,000-plus tonnes of CO2 neutralized, which Reverb’s recently released tour impact report says is “equivalent to taking 3,000 homes off the electric grid for a year.”

Her longterm goals: “We all wish that we could just do it ourselves. I wish I could just make changes in my life and save the world alone. Grow my own food and live off the grid. Erase my carbon footprint. But all that does is erase me. When really, if every single person just did half of what they should do, we could fix this.”

[From Vogue]

I didn’t know that Billie refuses to fly on private planes. Good for her. Good for her for taking the time to figure out work-arounds to flying too, a lot of touring musical acts would simply buy or rent a private plane for the sheer convenience of it. I laughed at this: “I just want to be making the difference and shutting the f–ck up about it.” She participated in Earthshot, you know. But she wasn’t one of the celebrities flying into Boston this year – she recorded her performance virtually, which is how all of the Earthshot winners and finalists appeared too. Prince William is an example of someone who is only an environmentalist for the clout – he doesn’t want to make a difference, he just wants to talk about how HE deserves credit for being a keen environmentalist. Also: “I shouldn’t be making any products. I shouldn’t be selling anything. It’s just more sh-t to go into the landfill one day. I know that.” Ouch – guess we’re never going to get that Eilish lifestyle brand full of plastic tchotchkes.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Vogue.

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13 Responses to “Billie Eilish wants to be ‘making the difference & shutting the f–ck up about it’”

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  1. BothSidesNow says:

    Good for Eilish to bring these vital issues to the forefront. And she is absolutely right in that you can’t force people to do and be better but giving them the tools to achieve these actions is powerful. Eilish is talking her approach in her own settings which is a great deal which is opposed or ignored by the thousands. On a side note, I am happy that she can love her body exactly what it is right now. How forward thinking and powerful her own pool of activism is!!! Kudos to Ellis for finding an effective
    tool and fully utilizing it.

    • kirk says:

      Also loved watching the Vogue video and finding out about these wonderfully inspiring young people!

  2. Duch says:

    I’m truly impressed with the deep thinking and meaningful actions and decisions she’s made around the areas she can impact – at only 21.

  3. Eurydice says:

    A very sensible approach and effective use of personal energy. Spend it on achieving the goal, not on talking about it.

  4. Yvette says:

    I’m sorry, but I just can’t with this girl. I can’t get over that comment she made about not wanting to go to the Grammies and be with all those ‘old’ people, meaning all the incredibly talented artists who came before her. That just seemed a bit catty and disrespectful.

    • Sass says:

      I actually tried to look up this alleged comment but it’s nowhere on the Google. Honestly – knowing what we know about awards, I can’t say I blame her if she did say it. Also, how old could she have been at the time? I’m guessing she was still a teenager. Are we still mad at Ariana Grande for licking doughnuts? Like cmon. Kids say and do stupid stuff. Then they grow up and mature. I’m not a huge Billie fan but I remember being a teenager and I have two teenagers. I would hate to think anyone would judge me for one thoughtless immature comment when I was not even 20 yet. Or for my kids to experience the same. In fact I would posit that anyone who clings to grudges with children is the one who needs to – as you said – get over it.

      • SophieJara says:

        Agreed. What a standard and nothing comment for a teenager to make. She also has Tourettes and struggled with red carpets because of it, so of course she wouldn’t like the Grammys.

    • Elle says:

      I think it’s appropriately disrespectful for her age, tbh. It would sound different coming from someone in her thirties.

    • Fabiola says:

      This is a typical thing that a young person would say. I would’ve thought the same thing when I was younger, why would I wanna be with a bunch of old people. I guess when you were young you wanted to hang out with your parents and grandparents friends. You were so much mature. Get over yourself.

    • Annalise says:

      @Yvette- So I’m assuming you have never ONCE said anything offensive, or anything that you regretted saying, in your entire life??

      I hope no one ever makes a judgement about YOUR character, with evidence as flimsy as something you said as dumbshit kid, which we ALL were at some point.

  5. ElleE says:

    Someone handed Lorde’s career to Billie & she is not Lorde.

    She can’t “find herself” bc she is not the OG.

    Looks like she isn’t f-in it up too much so good for her.

    • Arizona says:

      the only thing they have in common is being seventeen when their first album came out and being involved in writing their music, in which case Avril Lavigne came before Lorde. 😂

  6. j.ferber says:

    Elle, agree. I taught high school and “old” to a teenager was 30. And I mean REALLY old, like there was no difference between 30 and 70. So I get it totally.