Being in the public eye at a young age is bound to have a negative impact on a person’s self-esteem. Between tabloids picking apart your appearance and fans striving to emulate you, fame can play serious tricks on a person’s mentality. And 19-year-old singer-songwriter and Gen Z icon Billie Eilish is no exception. Earlier this year, Eilish shirked her signature baggy clothes to reveal her curvy physique on the cover of British Vogue, a move that basically broke the internet — in both good ways and bad.

While her new era has been focused on taking back her body and not being afraid to embrace it, despite what critics may say, Eilish admits that she still struggles with body image issues. In a recent interview with The Guardian, the singer opens up about her relationship with her body — which is pretty complicated — and how societal expectations are incredibly damaging, especially in Hollywood. The pressure to look perfect, she says, leads to a “loss of freedom in your body.”

Eilish explains in the interview that she’s always noticed certain people who are hyperaware of their appearance. “They never move in a weird way, or make a weird face, because they always want to look good,” she says. “It’s such a loss to always try to always look good. It’s such a loss of joy and freedom in your body.” 

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She goes on to say that while she would never judge someone for having plastic surgery, those who undergo it should be honest about it. “It’s completely fine to get work done – do this, do that, do what makes you feel happy,” Eilish says. “It’s just when you deny it and say, ‘Oh, I got this all on my own, and if you just tried harder, you could get it.’ That makes me literally furious. It is so bad for young women – and boys, too – to see that?”

Even Eilish, who is attuned to what goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood, isn’t immune from the effect that perfect-looking images on social media can have. “I see people online, looking like I’ve never looked,” she says. “And immediately I am like, oh my God, how do they look like that? I know the ins and outs of this industry, and what people actually use in photos, and I actually know what looks real can be fake. Yet I still see it and go, oh God, that makes me feel really bad. And I mean, I’m very confident in who I am, and I’m very happy with my life…I’m obviously not happy with my body.” Eilish then added: “But who is?”

How then, does a superstar performer like Eilish handle stadium tours and television appearances when she’s not feeling confident? “When I’m on stage, I have to disassociate from the ideas I have of my body,” the singer explains. “I have such a terrible relationship with my body, like you would not believe, so I just have to disassociate…Then you get a paparazzi picture taken when you were running to the door and had just put anything on, and didn’t know the picture’s being taken, and you just look how you look, and everyone’s like, ‘Fat!'”

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Despite the pressure, Billie Eilish maintains a healthy perspective on her body. “We only need bodies to eat and walk around and poop. We only need them to survive,” she says. “It’s ridiculous that anybody even cares about bodies at all. Like, why? Why do we care? You know, when you really think about it?”

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