Singer Taylor Swift, 30, is opening up about her past struggles with a eating disorder.
In her new documentary “Miss Americana,” Taylor revealed that paparazzi photos were “not good” for her. She explained, “A picture of me where I looked like my tummy was too big, or… someone said that I looked pregnant… and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit, just stop eating.”
Swift pointed out that her eating disorder were starting to affect her stamina on tour. She said, “I thought that I was supposed to feel like I was going to pass out at the end of the show, or in the middle of it. Now, I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel [enervated].”
In a recent interview with Variety, Swift admitted that she felt “pretty uncomfortable” discussing her relationship with food, but felt it was a necessary part for the documentary. 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… 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.”
She emphasized, “I remember how, when I was 18, that was the first time I was on the cover of a magazine. And the headline was like ‘Pregnant at 18?’ And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat. So I just registered that as a punishment. And then I’d walk into a photo shoot and be in the dressing room and somebody who worked at a magazine would say, ‘Oh, wow, this is so amazing that you can fit into the sample sizes. Usually we have to make alterations to the dresses, but we can take them right off the runway and put them on you!’ And I looked at that as a pat on the head. You register that enough times, and you just start to accommodate everything towards praise and punishment, including your own body.”
Swift revealed that she is now “a size 6 instead of a size double-zero.” When she was a double-zero, she had a response ready for anyone who expressed concern over her weight, saying, “‘What are you talking about? Of course I eat... I exercise a lot.’ And I did exercise a lot. But I wasn’t eating.”
"Miss Americana" director Lana Wilson praised Swift for tackling the subject matter, telling Variety, “I think it’s really brave to see someone who is a role model for so many girls and women be really honest about that. I think it will have a huge impact.”
On Thursday, Taylor premiered "Miss Americana" at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where she thanked Wilson for making her feel safe while working together. She told Wilson, “In the public eye, when I get sad or upset or humiliated or angry or go through a really horrible time, I feel like people lean in with this hunger and you never did that to me. That was what made me feel okay about feeling sadness, anger, humiliation around you because I felt like when I got sad, you did, too.”
She added, “And so, it made all of that all right, it didn’t make me feel like, ‘Oh, she feels like she’s got a really good part for her movie now,’ and I really want to thank you for that.”
"Miss Americana" premieres on Netflix on January 31.