13 Times Billie Eilish Got Real About Body Image, Mental Health and the Music Industry

In a recent interview, singer Billie Eilish recalled the criticism she faced after sharing photos of herself in a bathing suit. Read her empowering response here.

By McKenna Aiello Apr 10, 2020 10:33 PMTags
Watch: Billie Eilish Reacts to Bikini Pic Body Shamers

Billie Eilish is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't, and that's exactly why she's doing it her way. 

"If I wore a dress to something, I would be hated for it," the 18-year-old told Daze in a recent interview about the internet's response to her signature style. "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." 

Her latest comments, which aren't at all out of the ordinary for an artist as outspoken as Billie, also touched on the criticism she faced for sharing photos of herself in a bathing suit. 

"It was trending," Billie recalled. "There were comments like, ‘I don't like her any more because as soon as she turns 18 she's a whore.' Like, dude. I can't win. I can-not win."

But in fans' eyes, the Grammy winner's authentic outlook on life is exactly why she is winning.

Billie Eilish Stopped Reading Instagram Comments Because They Were "Ruining" Her Life

Check out her most relatable moments below:

When she got real about the internet being a double-edged sword:

"I can't lie, the internet can be a great source to educate yourself. It's how many people learn stuff, and I think that's good, for the most part. I've learned things I was completely ignorant of, and I hope that everybody can be more open-minded about educating themselves and learning how to do things differently," she told Vogue in August. "Can it also drag you down and make you feel horrible? Of course. But there's a lot that's really necessary and that needs to be seen which otherwise wouldn't be."

When she got real about staying hopeful for the future:

"It's hard to feel hope in a time that seems so utterly hopeless. I have good days and bad," she told Vogue. "But I am inspired by the fact that people are coming together and doing so much to make a change. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we're in those times—intensely—right now. I wouldn't want any other generation to take all of this on. This is the exact generation I want handling this."

When she got real about her love for Britney Spears:

"Shout-out to Britney, too...she posted a couple of videos to my songs and I almost pooped my pants," she said during an episode of me & dad radio after Britney Spears shared videos of her dancing to "bury a friend" and "bad guy." "So, I love you, Britney."

When she got real about the internet's reaction to her figure:

"I saw comments like, 'How dare she talk about not wanting to be sexualized and wear this?!'" she recalled to Daze when discussing the internet's response to photos she posted in a bathing suit. "It was trending. There were comments like, 'I don't like her anymore because as soon as she turns 18 she's a whore.' Like, dude. I can't win."

When she got real about her mental health:

"When people ask me what I'd say to somebody looking for advice on mental health, the only thing I can say is patience," she told Vogue. "I had patience with myself. I didn't take that last step. I waited. Things fade."

When she got real about body shamers:

"So while I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I'd never be able to move," she said in a video clip played during the kickoff concert fort her Where Do We Go? World Tour. "Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips? The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted? If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut. Though you've never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?"

When she got real about social media:

"I used to read every single comment and every picture I was tagged in and respond to every single DM, but now I barely go on Instagram because I can't handle that shit," she told NME in January. "F--k that shit. I just don't wanna see all the horrible things people say. I don't wanna see that I should have died instead of this artist. It takes not looking at my phone to stop myself from engaging. I had to delete Twitter in March because of it. Nobody is going to win. If somebody said something to me in person, I'd beat their ass."

When she got real about the industry:

"This industry is f--king horrible, but if I wasn't doing this I would probably be miserable because this is always what I've wanted," she told NME. "No matter how horrible fame is and how horrible this and that is: a lot of things make all of this worth it, y'know?"

When she got real about child actors:

"I went on, like, two auditions," she told Rolling Stone in August. "So lame. This creepy, cold room. All these kids that looked exactly the same. Most actor kids are psychopaths."

When she got real about the demands of her career:

"We can't have this be the rest of our lives. We were talking about it the other day, we're just like, 'I'm 17, dude.' I can't have my life exactly like this forever, and he can't either," she told Beats 1's Zane Lowe in April, noting that her brother Finneas O'Connell just bought a house with his girlfriend and got a dog. "It's a weird balance, because I want to grow in my life, and grow up and have a life. But I already have my career. ... Having been on tour, I know how it works. I know that you leave and it's a little bit of your friends being sad. Then, you're gone for long enough that life moves on and they keep doing things. It's the same way as if someone dies. You have to keep going. You shouldn't be mourning them every two seconds for the rest of your life. You have to keep going."

When she got real about the reaction to her wardrobe:

"I've spoken a lot to female artists about this, because if you're not a female artist you probably don't think about this," she told NME. "If I was a guy and I was wearing these baggy clothes, nobody would bat an eye. There's people out there saying, 'Dress like a girl for once! Wear tight clothes you'd be much prettier and your career would be so much better!' No it wouldn't. It literally would not."'

When she got real about mourning a controversial friend:

"I want to be able to mourn, I don't want to be shamed for it," she told UK outlet the Independent in April regarding the reaction to her feelings following XXXTentacion's murder in 2018. "I don't think I deserve getting hate for loving someone that passed."

When she got real about her love for an iconic NBC comedy:

"When I wake up, I put on The Office. If I'm making a burrito, I turn on The Office," she told Elle in March. "I need the distraction so I don't think. It's like therapy for me. I have way too much to think about and people [I don't want] to disappoint."

When she got real about her feelings on advice:

"I don't really believe in advice," she told Billie Joe Armstrong for a Rolling Stone piece. "Sometimes when I'm given advice, I do the opposite. It's just how I've been my whole life. Nobody has ever been through exactly what you're going through, ever."

When she got real about ageism in the industry:

"When older people say, 'What do you know about things like love?', I know more about it than you do because I'm feeling it for the first time right now, whereas you haven't felt that for a long time," she told NME. "That doesn't mean it is any less powerful, but it is definitely a different feeling. They're used to love, heartbreak, pain and just wanting to f--king die, but for a younger person that's all new to you and it's terrifying."

When she got real about the state of the world:

"Bro, teenagers know more about the country that we're living in right now than anybody," she told NME. "The world is ending and I honestly don't understand the law that says you have to be older to vote, because they're going to die soon and we'll have to deal with it. That doesn't make any sense to me. But to see young people taking part in peaceful protests and not obeying is beautiful."

Keep on keeping it real, Billie.