Hillary Clinton Tells Mary J. Blige: It's Hard to Be Both Tough and Likable – and 4 Other Things We Learned
An unabashed supporter, Blige spoke openly about her nerves as the Democratic presidential nominee sat down beside her, and asked a series of questions that got the former Secretary of State to open up in ways we haven’t seen before.
There were misty eyes, a musical interlude and new revelations from the woman who seeks to occupy the highest office in the land.
Read on for a few highlights:
1. Clinton admits it’s hard to be ‘tough and likable’ as a woman.
The former Secretary of State didn’t hesitate when Blige asked her directly whether it’s hard to be “tough and likable as a woman.”
“Yes, I think it’s really hard, to be honest,” she said in the interview that debuted on Apple Music Friday. “I think it’s rooted in tens of thousands of years of how people’s lives have been defined, what it’s meant to be a woman or a man. For women to be assuming leading roles … it still is not fully understood because there’s no blueprint for doing it.”
2. She takes some responsibility for her image problem.
Blige kicked off the interview by asking the question so many have wondered: Why does she struggle to bridge the gap between how she wants to be perceived and the way people perceive her?
“I’ve always been the same person,” she replied. “When you’re in the public eye, whether it’s in entertainment or politics, you do have the challenge of presenting yourself and have people perceive you as you think you are.”
She added: “I think some of the misperception is manufactured, and some of it I take responsibility for, that I’m not communicating clearly enough what I care about and what I do.”
3. She has a mantra.
Blige referenced her difficult divorce at one point during the interview, and said it’s especially difficult to go through something personally painful in the public eye. Clinton has plenty of experience navigating personal challenges as the world watches, and when the singer asked how she handles them Clinton gave a particularly introspective answer.
“The public eye has a way of magnifying things that aren’t important and dismissing things that are,” she said. “Part of my mantra to myself is to take criticism seriously – maybe you can learn something from it – but don’t take it personally. Don’t let people own your heart, own your mind, and really under the pressure you feel turn you into somebody you’re not.”
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4. She’s seen Hamilton way more than you.
Being a politician certainly has its perks, and on top of that list might be the ability to score Hamilton tickets – multiple times. When Blige asked Clinton to name what’s on her playlist, she immediately replied that she listens to the Hamilton soundtrack, “which I love.”
“I’ve seen it four times, I think. It’s just a work of genius. It’s just obsessing me right now.”
5. She appreciates being sung to in the middle of an interview.
A nervous Blige held Clinton’s hand as she sang Bruce Springsteen’s “41 Shots (American Skin)” during the interview as a way to convey her concerns about violence against African-Americans. Clinton appeared to become misty-eyed during the song.
“I’ve been interviewed so many times. Nobody has ever sung to me in the middle of the interview,” Clinton told her. “So moving.”