In her new Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, Taylor Swift revealed her eating disorder struggle. The “Lover” singer, 30, opened up about her previous battle with an eating disorder and why it wasn’t healthy for her to “see pictures” of herself “every day.”
The 10-time Grammy winner told Variety ahead of the premiere of Miss Americana at the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday, January 23, that her unhealthy relationship with food stemmed from when she would see “a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big or someone said that I looked pregnant.” She continued, “That’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit—just stop eating.”
The Pennsylvania native recalled the first time she was on the cover of a tabloid and how the headline speculated she was pregnant. She also opened up about how she was able to fit into sample sizes at photoshoots and how that affected her view of her body.
“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,” she said. “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!’”
She continued, “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, who went from a size double-zero to a size 6, also opened up about how there were times after a concert where she felt she would faint because of the lack of food in her system.
“I thought that I was supposed to feel like I was going to pass out at the end of a show, or in the middle of it,” she said in Miss Americana. “Now I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel [enervated].” She also revealed what she would tell people who had concerns about her health when she was a double-zero. She recalled 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.”
In the end, Swift, who shouted out Jameela Jamil as one of her role models when it comes to body positivity, realized that, whatever her size, people will always criticize her. Though it sent her into a “real shame/hate spiral” before, she tries to remind herself that beauty standards are impossible.
“If you’re thin enough, then you don’t have that ass that everybody wants,” she said in the documentary. “But if you have enough weight on you to have an ass, your stomach isn’t flat enough. It’s all just fucking impossible.”