The singer and rapper Lizzo has spoken of how she was affected by seeing negative and stereotypical images of plus-size bodies as a child.
â€œI would watch things on television and look at magazines and I would not see myself,â€ she said. â€œWhen you donâ€™t see yourself, you think something is wrong with you.â€
Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Jefferson, said this lack of representation affected her mental health. â€œYou want to look like those things and when you realise itâ€™s a physical impossibility you start to think, â€˜What the fuck is wrong with me?â€™,â€ she said. â€œI think that took a bigger toll on me, psychologically, growing up than what anyone could have said to me.â€
The singer, who has been acclaimed for being a plus-size celebrity, also talked about the dangers of using body positivity as a marketing tool.
â€œAnybody that uses body positivity to sell something is using it for their personal gain,â€ she said. â€œWe werenâ€™t selling anything in the beginning. We were just selling ourselves and selling ourselves on the idea â€“ selling ourselves on ourselves.â€
Interviewed in the latest edition of British Vogue, the classically trained singer also reveals the anxiety that fuels her turbo-charged performances. â€œWhen I get really, really anxious before a show, I just go harder and harder and harder when Iâ€™m performing and I just go crazy,â€ she said.
â€œI donâ€™t know why, but my anxiety sometimes fuels who I am as a performer and who I am as an artist. I donâ€™t know if my body just, like, out of a desperate need to find a place for my anxiety or find a use for it, takes it and puts it there.â€
The December issue of Vogue, which features Lizzo wearing a black bustier dress by Versace, an Adrienne Landau feather boa and Chopard earrings on the cover, marks the two-year anniversary of Edward Enninfulâ€™s editorship.
It has two cover stars, the other being the actor Emma Watson, but the choice of Lizzo underlines Enninfulâ€™s commitment to championing diversity: His first cover featured the Ghanaian-British model Adwoa Aboah, while later cover stars have included Jourdan Dunn, Naomi Campbell and ZoÃ« Kravitz.
â€œSeeing such a positive force for good on our cover in all her glory makes me realise how far we have come. Iâ€™m so pleased that inclusivity remains at the core of British Vogue,â€ Enninful wrote on Instagram. He added: â€œSeeing someone as amazing as Lizzo on a magazine cover has at last begun to feel normal. How incredible is that?â€
Earlier this year, Lizzoâ€™s song Truth Hurts went to number one on the US Billboard charts, making her the first solo black female singer to achieve the feat since Rihanna in 2012.