"If I wore a dress to something, I would be hated for it," Billie Eilish said

By Karen Mizoguchi
April 09, 2020 02:30 PM
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Photos by HARMONY KORINE

Billie Eilish is uniquely her own person, with a signature style of baggy clothing and dyed hair working in tandem with her one-of-a-kind sound.

What fans relate to the most is her being a “genuine outlier” as Dazed described in a new interview with the 18-year-old singer, who opened up about body image and being in control of her own physical appearance during a time when fellow pop stars seemingly follow the mainstream norm.

“The only reason I did it was ’cos I hated my body,“ she said of her now-signature sense of style.

“There was a point last year where I was naked and I didn’t recognize my body ’cos I hadn’t seen it in a while. I would see it sometimes and be like, ‘Whose body is that?’ ” Eilish recalled when discussing past discomfort with her own body.

“It’s not that I like [my body] now, I just think I’m a bit more OK with it,” she said.

While her female music colleagues have worn bodycon dresses and ensembles to accentuate their figures, Eilish has chosen to walk red carpets wearing bright clothing that quite literally hid her body, for which the publication called her “an anomaly.”

Billie Eilish
Photos by HARMONY KORINE

“If I wore a dress to something, I would be hated for it. People would be like, ‘You’ve changed, how dare you do what you’ve always rebelled against?’ I’m like, ‘I’m not rebelling against anything, really.’ I can’t stress it enough,” she said of her style. “I’m just wearing what I wanna wear. If there’s a day when I’m like, ‘You know what, I feel comfortable with my belly right now, and I wanna show my belly,’ I should be allowed to do that.”

And her music videos are also an example of her authentic preferences. “I understand that most music videos are, like, looking pretty in a shot and singing the song and then there’s a guy in the video and you kiss the guy and that’s the whole thing,” she said. “[But] I’ve always loved visual s—. I’ve always loved stuff that, like, grabs you. People wouldn’t play my music on the radio for two years because they thought it wasn’t happy enough.“

While others may accuse her of trying hard to be different, Eilish said she wasn’t consciously rejecting the aesthetics of her peers.

Billie Eilish
Photos by HARMONY KORINE

“[People would say] ‘Billie Eilish: rule-breaker’, or ‘breaking all the rules’, or whatever. And I’d be like, ‘What rules are there?’ ” Eilish shared. “I didn’t consciously go, ‘I’m not gonna do that, I’m gonna do this.’ I [just] didn’t think of myself as being in the realm of those people. I was never comparing myself to them.”

With a style all her own and music that broke the mold by openly referencing anxiety, depression and addiction, Eilish garnered fandom and accolades, including five Grammys along with brother Finneas for her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. She became the youngest person and first woman to take home best album, record, song and artist of the year ever.

Billie Eilish
Photos by HARMONY KORINE

When asked by the publication about being the voice of her generation, Eilish responded with an eye-roll and said, “I don’t know what that even means.”

A similar humble reaction took place at the Grammy Awards, where the teen, who once aspired to ”work at Jamba Juice,” would clean house and sweep all the major categories.

“I was sur-prised,” she remembered, adding, “I was dead surprised. And I was embarrassed, dude, I was f—in’ embarrassed. I was in front of Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey and f—in’ Beyoncé is nominated, and I win. I was like, Nooooo… I don’t deserve it. They deserve it.”

Famously, Eilish was filmed mouthing the words “please don’t be me” before her name was called for album of the year and for the fourth time that night. “Can I just say Ariana [Grande] deserves this?” Eilish said in her acceptance speech as Grande, who was nominated for her album Thank U, Next, sweetly blew her kisses.

“We didn’t make this album to win a Grammy. We wrote an album about depression, suicidal thoughts and climate change. We stand up here confused,” Eilish’s brother also shared onstage at the time.