Taylor Swift’s new Netflix documentary Taylor Swift: Miss Americana premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week. And, in the film, the 30-year-old singer opens up about her past struggles with an eating disorder that caused her to starve herself after seeing unflattering paparazzi pics.
The Grammy-winner says in a voice-over as photographers wait for her outside her front door that it’s not good for her to see pictures of herself every day.
Lana Wilson's excellent Taylor Swift documentary is — among other things — the timeless story of someone who wants the approval of strangers *and* a twitter account.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) January 24, 2020
“It’s only happened a few times, and I’m not in any way proud of it. A picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or … someone said that I looked pregnant … and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit — just stop eating,” said Swift.
Along with the movie’s premiere, Swift talked exclusively with Variety about the doc for their latest cover story where she described her past relationship with food as “unhealthy.” Swift explained that her relationship with food was exactly the same psychology she applied to everything else in her life, which was registering something as “good” when she got a pat on the head and registering something as “bad” when she received punishment.
The You Need To Calm Down singer described a moment when she was only 18 and a magazine asked her if she was pregnant because she had worn an outfit that made her lower stomach look “not flat.”
That, for Swift, registered as punishment. However, she thought that walking onto the set of a photo shoot and being able to fit into sample size fashion was a “pat on the head.”
Swift explained that after registering those experiences enough times, you start to accommodate everything in your life towards praise and punishment, including your own body.
Lost in a film scene with Taylor Swift at the MISS AMERICANA Sundance premiere pic.twitter.com/pCrET90mkf
— Netflix Film @ Sundance (@NetflixFilm) January 24, 2020
Eventually, Swift’s attempts at starving herself ended up affecting her during her 1989 World Tour in 2015. She explained that she thought she was supposed to feel like she was going to pass out at the end of a show, or in the middle of it.
Three years later, she was on her Reputation stadium tour, and she finally realized that eating food gave her energy and made her stronger.
Taylor Swift says she’s still uncomfortable talking about her eating disorder, body image, and her relationship with food. And, she wasn’t even sure she wanted to discuss it in the documentary.
She ultimately decided that it made sense because of how director Lana Wilson tells the story.
Taylor Swift: Miss Americana premieres January 31st on Netflix.