H.E.R.: ‘I wanted to be anonymous… it’s time for people to get to know’ me

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There’s a new profile of H.E.R. in Vogue Philippines, which has dual significance. H.E.R. is half Filipina and the interview is conducted in the Philippines shortly after Christmas, during a trip she’s taken with her whole family. And the feature is being sort of touted as an introduction to H.E.R., since by design she’s been fairly private about her image up until this point. I didn’t know much about H.E.R. aside from some of her music and the fact that she is Filipina and Black. Her career come up and insights are pretty interesting. Some highlights:

On taking her family to the Philippines: H.E.R. is spending the holidays in the Philippines for work but also for family. In 2019, H.E.R. brought her immediate family home to the Philippines for a vacation—her first time in the country since she was four. Connecting with their Cabanatuan-based clan, visiting the place where her mother grew up and reuniting her mother with her sister after 15 years, H.E.R. and her family made a pact to start a family tradition and come back every year—a few days ago, she took her family to a luxury resort in Palawan.

On her initial choice to be anonymous: “There were so many reasons why I wanted to be anonymous and why I wanted the music to shine,” H.E.R. tells me. “I had been through so much stuff that a young woman goes through. I wanted people to hear the message and really understand what I’m saying and not be so focused on what I look like or who I’m dating or what I’m wearing and all those things that to me, we started to focus on more because of social media. It was all about the ‘full package’ and the music came last.” In the process, H.E.R. has become one of the few young artists to break through without the public really knowing who she was—and it’s become a gift and a curse.

On changing her style: That renewed self-possession is apparent in Wilson’s personal style. Gone are the days when the artist hid behind sunglasses and big hair, shrouded in sweats and hoodies. The past few years have seen Wilson embrace bolder, more assertive looks, blossoming into a red carpet player. “Being 25, the things that worked when I was 18 and 20 don’t work for me now and the things that I want are different,” she says. “I know that’ll be forever changing, but I’m comfortable in that. I can’t tolerate anything or anyone that will try to take that away and try to make me something I’m not.”

On her family: In recent years, as she’s shared more details about her personal life, H.E.R. has always made it a point to talk about the sacrifices her parents made to make her dreams happen. “They’re working-class people—my mom’s a nurse, my dad’s a construction worker. They didn’t have a lot of money to be able to just travel to New York to [take me to guestings],” she said on The View. “They really made it happen for me because they wanted to see me live out my dreams.”

[From Vogue Philippines]

It was interesting to learn more about H.E.R. and her reasons for the initial anonymity behind her image. I also had no idea that she played piano on TV as a child and later released a single as a teen! It makes sense that she would want to reinvent herself after not getting much traction from her earlier work. The anonymity definitely added some intrigue, but her reasons about keeping parts of her life private also make sense. I’m sure she observed how the industry seems to chew up and spit out other young female artists who do more of the “full package” thing she’s discussing. But it’s nice that she’s become more comfortable sharing information and getting into the whole fashion aspect of being a celebrity. It’s also crazy that she’s only 25 and only two letters away from EGOT status, since she already has an Oscar and multiple Grammys. And it’s nice that she seems to always make a point to give her parents credit. One major takeaway from this profile is that H.E.R. is very family-oriented and that has probably played a large part in her success.

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7 Responses to “H.E.R.: ‘I wanted to be anonymous… it’s time for people to get to know’ me”

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  1. Lucía says:

    I love her and her music so much, and have done so for many years now. It’s crazy for me to think she’s only 25.

  2. Emmy Rae says:

    Wow! Every one of those Vogue looks is incredible. No bad colors for her I see. She is really wearing the clothes and not the reverse.

  3. Nanea says:

    I didn’t know much about H.E.R. besides the music, so it’s good to see she managed to come to terms with being a public figure in a way that felt comfortable to her.

    And thank you, Peridot, for featuring different stories and faces, even if I, like probably the majority of commenters, mostly come here for b*tching about the welfare royals and the whole royal-adjacent circus.

    • kirk says:

      Agreed. I really like H.E.R. and have so much respect for her. I’m not sure I’d have known about Vogue Philippines profile otherwise. Thanks!

  4. Kimmy says:

    I think she is going to be a legit superstar. She is so talented!

    I vaguely knew who she was, but we randomly watched Beauty & the Beast live with our kids and she was INCREDIBLE. I’m e cited to see what she does.

  5. Roan Inish says:

    She was really lovely in Beauty & the Beast. That was the first I saw or heard her perform. (Though I had heard of H.e.r.) I wish for her all the success she deserves and kudos to her parents for supporting her career and raising such a thoughtful young woman.

  6. Ellis says:

    Thanks for covering this, I love H.E.R and went to see her live several years ago and her voice was beautiful. And because she has been so private I didn’t know until recently she was a fellow FIlipina.
    She also is only a Tony away from an EGOT as she has an Emmy, I think a daytime one for a children’s program. She’s so young I hope she will be able to do it one day.