Taylor Swift Reveals Her Experience With an Eating Disorder in 'Miss Americana'
As her documentary “Miss Americana” hits Sundance Film Festival and soon Netflix, Taylor Swift reveals for the first time she struggled with an eating disorder as her public life took off.
“Miss Americana” is billed as a revealing documentary about Swift’s life behind the music and camera and includes her talking candidly for the first time about struggling with an eating disorder. During a montage of hurtful comments against the backdrop of endless paparazzi photos, Swift explained how she internalized the ones suggesting she looked pregnant, which led to her struggle with an eating disorder.
— Miss Americana (@MissANetflix) January 16, 2020
In an interview with Variety, Swift explained how the push and pull of the messages she was receiving in the media and in person played into her eating disorder. Paparazzi photos or magazines would criticize a shirt she wore as making her stomach look too large while at a photoshoot she would be praised for being able to fit into tiny sample size dresses right off the rack.
“I’m not as articulate as I should be about this topic because there are so many people who could talk about it in a better way, but all I know is my own experience,” she said. “And my relationship with food was exactly the same psychology that I applied to everything else in my life: If I was given a pat on the head, I registered that as good. If I was given a punishment, I registered that as bad.”
The “Shake it Off” singer said she still doesn’t feel comfortable talking about her struggle with an eating disorder, but felt it was important to include in her documentary.
“I think I’ve never really wanted to talk about that before, and I’m pretty uncomfortable talking about it now,” she said. “I didn’t know if I was going to feel comfortable with talking about body image and talking about the stuff I’ve gone through in terms of how unhealthy that’s been for me — my relationship with food and all that over the years.”
Miss Americana is intimate and funny and sad and poignant. Plus, it’s the Taylor Swift sing-along we all need. Loved it. #Sundance
— leebzee (@leighblickley) January 24, 2020
She highlighted body image advocates, like Jameela Jamil, who regularly calls out the entertainment industry for its unhealthy and unrealistic messages about body size, help calm the side of Swift that can “go into a real shame/hate spiral.” As she’s realized just how impossible Hollywood’s body image ideals are, Swift said she’s been able to come to terms with her eating disorder and is much healthier now.
“You can decide whose opinions matter more and whose opinions you put more weight on,” Swift said, adding:
I know that there’s a lot of bad stuff that’s gone on recently, a lot of really hard stuff my family is going through, and a lot of opposition and feeling pressure or suppression of one kind or another. But I am actually really happy. Because I pick and choose now, for the most part, what I care deeply about. And I think that’s made a huge difference.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 15, 2020
Image via Creative Commons/Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer