Not only can hair act as a form of self-expression, but it’s a feature deeply tied to the way we see ourselves existing in the world. In a new interview with The New York Times to discuss her rollercoaster career of triumph and personal struggles and her upcoming documentary, Demi Lovato opened up about her changing understanding of her identity and its relation to her physical and mental well-being — and her hair.
In the interview, Lovato credited fellow star Billie Eilish for helping her feel comfortable in her own skin. “I think it was when Billie started wearing the baggy clothes, that was the first time I was like, I don’t have to be the super-sexy sexualised pop star,” Lovato said. The realisation raised doubts about whether she could live up to pop superstardom without that sexy image. “If I’m not the sexualised pop star with a big voice, then what am I?” she recalled asking herself. Soon, she was able to find freedom and independence in that grey area. “I embraced the balance of both masculine and feminine parts of me. And I do feel in control more so than I’ve ever felt in my life,” Lovato said.
The singer, who has most recently been rocking an edgy cropped bowl cut, said that her drastic hair change played a key part in discovering herself. After wearing an array of wigs at the 2020 People’s Choice Awards, Lovato explained that cutting her hair was the first step to embracing her true self. “I’m still on a journey to finding myself and this haircut was just one step of the process,” she added.
In February, Lovato opened up to Ellen DeGeneres about using her hair as a shield in the past. “I’ve talked a lot about my past being in recovery from an eating disorder, and I used my hair to hide behind,” she told DeGeneres. “It would cover my body.” She added that part of her healing journey included letting go of things she’s been holding onto to feel more like herself, which ultimately led to the Lovato we see today — and whoever she decides to become in the future.