The singer-songwriter gets candid in this week's issue of PEOPLE about how getting back on screen in the Peacock series Girls5Eva brought her longtime body image issues to the surface

By Brianne Tracy
June 17, 2021 12:00 PM
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sara bareilles
Sara Bareilles
| Credit: GEtty

Sara Bareilles is riding high on the success her new Peacock series Girls5Eva.

"It's been a beautiful experience," the singer-songwriter and actress tells PEOPLE in this week's issue, on newsstands Friday, of filming the comedy, which was recently renewed for a second season. "We all came to this show in the midst of a pandemic, so the privilege of getting to work felt very present. Everybody kept a great attitude because we were happy that we got to go to our jobs."

But behind the smiles, Bareilles, 41, admits she's struggled with her self-confidence as she's reemerged in the public eye.

"With Girls5eva, I have to be in front of the camera again and have to get dressed and get hair done," she says. "It brings up a lot of stuff for me. I have been someone who's struggled with body image issues my whole life, and I've struggled with feelings of being self-conscious as I've gotten older."

As she approaches her 42nd birthday in December, though, Bareilles says she's "trying to embrace that my body doesn't do what it used to."

"Ultimately, whether one pair of jeans fits or not, I can still enjoy the world and the people I love," she says. "There's so much to celebrate, so I try to be gentle."

Bareilles says she's been able to get to this healthier mindset thanks to years of therapy and meditation practice.

"I think we're made to feel in some ways that when we have low self-esteem days, that that's abnormal or that's wrong or that's bad rather than the fact that that's a really natural progression," she says. "You're going to have good days and you're going to have bad days. It's just a question of how long you want to sit in the bad feelings."

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Bareilles first got into meditation years ago, after reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön.

"A dear friend gave it to me while I was going through a really bad breakup," she says. "I was just desperately sad all the time, and I couldn't distract myself from it. The book taught me about sitting with what is uncomfortable and building a relationship with the fact that that is a part of being alive."

Now Bareilles - who released her new live album Amidst the Chaos: Live at the Hollywood Bowl last month - meditates "for at least 15 or 20 minutes" every morning.

"With meditation I find everything about my life improves: my health, my sleep, my habits, my emotional state and my energy," she says. "It's all better when I'm meditating. I really feel the benefits."

Meditation served Bareilles well recently when she and her boyfriend, Mare of Easttown actor Joe Tippett, moved into their new N.Y.C. apartment in December.

"It's still a work in progress, which is one of the things I have been thinking about from a meditative sense," she says. "Like, I got a new couch, and I hate it. I waited months and months for it and was so excited, but then when it arrived, I laid down on it, and I was like, 'I hate this.' But I'm trying to hold it all lightly to leave space for what matters right now."

For all the details on what Sara Bareilles' life is really like, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.