The last time we saw Demi Lovato on a major cover, it was Cosmo, and her body didn’t look recognizable. I thought it was a tricksy angle on her face, as well, but she’s more recognizable in that one than here:
The outfit is magazine-edgy; it’s not great, but it actually serves its purpose pretty well. The blouse under it is a weird mismatch that works in a fashion-spread context better than it would if she walked out with it and went to the store. The rings and the dark nail polish are totally up my street, and I also love that they’ve managed a bold lip and bold eyes without them looking crazy, and it’s amazing to see her freckles. All of that is good; she looks grown-up and polished. But it’s true that this doesn’t look like her either. She looks like herself crossed with Olivia Munn, mixed with “Oh, I know that girl… I think … Is she on a CW show? No, that’s… huh, maybe she just looks like someone I went to college with.” Obviously that’s where her name right by her head comes in really handy, and for that reason it matter somewhat LESS whether she looks instantly like Demi Lovato. This is a totally cute person. Is she the cute person I conjure in my mind when I think of Demi Lovato? Not entirely, and I think it’s because Glamour may have shaved off some of her chin and cheeks, basing it off a photo taken on Sept. 24. I love Demi’s face and don’t think she needs any adjustments made; maybe Glamour just played the contouring game, but I’m not so sure.
The article is a Q&A which touches on a lot of things, namely every young singer’s favorite topic: Growing up and addressing sexuality in their art when people were so used to them being child stars.
DL: I was judgmental of artists who were exploring their sexuality, and I thought, Why are they doing that? They don’t have to. They’ve got a good voice.
GLAMOUR: Like who?
DL: Christina Aguilera, during Dirrty [in 2002]. I thought, Her mom’s gonna hear that—how is she not embarrassed? Now I realize these artists were embracing a part of life I should be OK singing about as well. There’s nothing wrong with a woman being proud of an element of her life that’s talked about in rap music all the time! We don’t have music that talks about sexuality from a female standpoint. […] it would be such a big deal. We live in an imbalanced society when it comes to encouraging male sexuality and discouraging female sexuality. In 20 years I hope we’ll look back like, ‘Wow, that’s how it used to be.’
And you’ve doubtless heard tell of the bit where she side-eyes Taylor Swift’s squad. It’s a long piece, so I’ll excerpt it after the jump:
GLAMOUR: You call yourself a feminist…
DL: I believe in gender equality.
GLAMOUR: And you’ve said before, in regard to Taylor Swift, “Don’t brand yourself a feminist if you don’t do the work.” How do you see yourself doing the work?
DL: Just speaking out. I’m not afraid to talk about the fact that women get paid less than men in the United States and how unfair that is. Talking about it at all is doing the work. And I think every woman does her part in some way. But I think in certain situations, certain people could be doing more if they’re going to claim that as part of their brand. To be honest, and this will probably get me in trouble, I don’t see anybody in any sort of squad that has a normal body. It’s kind of this false image of what people should look like. And what they should be like, and it’s not real.
GLAMOUR: Well, there are many kinds of “normal” bodies. I think what you’re getting at is there’s just one type of body in that squad.
DL: It’s not realistic. And I think that having a song and a video about tearing Katy Perry down, that’s not women’s empowerment. We all do things that aren’t, but I have to ask myself, Am I content with calling myself a feminist? Yes, because I speak out.
She took some Twitter flack for the “normal body” thing, and then it was basically the typical Celebrity In A Corner response: She claimed it was taken out of context, and that she didn’t really remember saying it, then steered straight down the rather disingenuous Gosh, Why Do You People Care What Little Old Me Is Saying When The World Is A Mess Ave., and then shot straight to, “I’m taking a break in 2017 because this industry is bad for me.” I feel for her; backlash is hard, especially when your intentions were (ostensibly) good. I like Demi Lovato. I’m rooting for her. It’s not easy to lay bare your demons, and she has done that. But regardless of the point she intended to make, it’s very tough optics for someone who has buttered her bread on embracing all shapes to turn around and say, “Well, except that shape. That one isn’t normal.” Tall and slender is a valid body shape and size. It may not be COMMON, or the average physical form across the world, and may have been held up for an eternity as the platonic ideal in a way that is unrealistic for most of us. But to various degrees, so has having big breasts, or a bubble butt, or a ski-jump nose. All those things have also been idealized a time or two in the world, and are equally no less or more “normal” than anything else. If you think Taylor Swift is selling a postcard rather than a real posse, that’s fine and even understandable, but demanding that she draft different friends because hers don’t meet your prescribed standard of “normal” is… unfortunate phrasing at the least.
I have sympathy, though. I am not great at interviews. I’ve struggled to express myself here, a BAJILLION times, and will continue to do so; something that makes sense in my head will read completely differently than it was intended. So maybe Demi just waded too blithely into territory that pushes her buttons. Don’t we all have times we wish we could have our words back? I’ll probably wish that three times today alone. Maybe even in the next five minutes. At least she’s trying.