I like Demi Lovato, even if I have not previously enjoyed her take on pants. I don’t know a lot about her as a human, but she’s someone who’s revealed a lot about her struggles and who keeps clawing her way through them. We all know the pitfalls of being famous from a young age, and she sniffed out her demons so early that she’s got a long life ahead of her of trying to stay ahead of them. That is a lot to carry with you. But she’s genuinely talented — of the group she came up with, I think she easily has the best pipes, as displayed in “Sorry (Not Sorry)” — and I think her music is sassy, and I would like to see her triumph. So while the cover line paints that picture, I don’t know if the cover itself matches.
I don’t necessarily dislike the cover as it is. She is making fairly solid eye contact. But the dress, which is one of those bizarre sports-bra Valentinos, has such a tortured bodice that I find myself frowning at this rather than reveling in it. And her pose is making my lumbar region hurt. There’s a photo inside of her punching right at the camera in a green shirt that I think would’ve made such an arresting, assured alternative. There’s a trace of vulnerability in it, but it’s also fierce and confident. (There is also a photo inside that bears out her complicated relationship with pants; they only make ANY kind of sense if she’s going to stand in that specific one-legged pose forever, and they might actually be Marc Jacobs For Glamping — but as some kind of residential situation for pets.)
I did laugh a little at the Angelina cover line, because however we’re supposed to talk about getting older these days, almost everyone I know would have that exact same under-the-breath reaction to reading Angelina Jolie discussing how much she loves aging. It’s not DIRECTLY snarky but it had a familiar undercurrent to it that my dark heart appreciates.
The Demi story is fine. It doesn’t say a whole lot we don’t already know, unfortunately, but it churns along the narrative that Demi is a tough cookie. There are multiple references to her being pleased to have the chance to tell her story, and to be a role model — speaking openly about mental illness and battles with food and body image, in ways she says the people she looked up to as a kid were not — and how emotional it can be to hear from fans how much she’s influenced them to keep on going. And yet then she also says this:
It’s the only reference—serious or comic—this avid Hillary Clinton supporter will make to Donald Trump today because, she explains, “I feel like 1) it falls on deaf ears, and 2) my feelings towards anyone or anything are not going to change the situation.”
So… which is it? Are you an influential voice for your fans, or are you someone whose words fall on deaf ears? Obviously, it’s her choice how to speak out and be involved politically, but it seems strange to align herself so avidly with Hillary and to tout her 65 million hardcore Instagram fans, and then turn around and act like her words don’t matter and that there’s nothing she could do to effect change. That’s the kind of reasoning that worries me. That is not how to be a badass (and I feel Ellen Pompeo would agree). Because Demi clearly knows, she has been told, that she matters to her fans. They want to hear what she has to say. And that’s a lot of responsibility, a scary amount sometimes I’m sure, but preaching what reads like apathy from her pedestal is an unfortunate response. The last thing anyone should want is for young people to feel like, “Oh, well, no one will hear me and nothing I do will matter,” because they’re precisely who we need to speak up and feel consequential. But if that’s the reason Demi Lovato is giving in an interview… girl, we’ve all been there, where we wanted to scream and hide away from CNN and Twitter and politics and the whole lot of it. If that’s the issue, then say so. Otherwise, the message should be pretty clear: If it matters to you, then show up.