We all need to listen to Billie right now.
If her new blonde locks weren't enough to get everyone talking about Billie Eilish again then her exquisite lingerie photo shoot for June 2021's edition of Vogue certainly is. It might be a shock to a lot of people given that she has spent the initial stages of her career in baggy clothes, but there's a depth to her unveiling her body to the world that screams of female empowerment and a new-found maturity.
Billie Eilish at the 2020 Democratic National Convention / Photo Credit: Democratic National Convention v/DPA/PA Images
Here are nine of the most inspirational quotes from her most stunning interview yet:
1. "The more the internet and the world care about somebody that’s doing something they’re not used to, they put it on such a high pedestal that then it’s even worse."
As much as Billie felt hurt by criticisms about her body after she was papped wearing a fitted tank top last year, the influx of back-handed praise for showing off her "bigger" shape (whatever that means) was far from reassuring. Having always been insecure about her body, comments about her decision to wear something other than an oversized T-shirt - whether they were well-intentioned or not - were unappreciated, and here she rightly makes the point that normalising people showing off their bodies means not making any comment AT ALL.
2. "My thing is that I can do whatever I want."
Anticipating accusations of hypocrisy as she talks about body positivity while preferring to keep her stomach hidden under a corset, she stresses that she's not about to worry about how people interpret her actions. She's a 19-year-old woman in control of her own career, and she doesn't need permission to pose in any sort of lingerie.
3. "If you feel like you look good, you look good."
This is a valuable piece of advice for anybody who's in any doubt about what they look like when they opt for a more daring ensemble. Sometimes we can think we look good but because it's something we don't normally wear, we worry that others will criticise. Billie's advice is essentially not to second-guess yourself because as long as you feel happy and confident, that's what others will see.
4. "Showing your body and showing your skin – or not – should not take any respect away from you."
How many times have people refused to take rape victims seriously because they were attacked while wearing an outfit that showed off their body? Enough that it prevents a lot of women from speaking out on abuse out of fear of ridicule. Billie admits that she herself has been taken advantage of in the past, and knows only too well the attitudes men have towards women who are empowered by showing their bodies.
5. "I really think the bottom line is, men are very weak."
In a nutshell, Billie describes what the real issue is behind women being targets of sexual assault. It's not that women are "asking for it". No woman should expect to be groped by a full-grown adult just because of their outfit choice. If men can't resist the urge to touch, they are the ones with the problem.
6. "I think change is one of the best gifts in the world."
It's never easy to adapt new situations; routine is what makes most of us feel safe and secure. But change also enriches our lives and allows us to grow and flourish. Billie herself has noticed how much her work has improved since lockdown forced her to take a break and she moved her creative space from her brother Finneas' bedroom at their parents' house to his new basement studio.
7. "Young women, we’re expected to know and do everything, and be everyone’s mom when we’re like, 15."
"Girls mature faster than boys" is something we're frequently told, usually as an excuse for teenage boys' bad behaviour and an expectation for teenage girls' attitude. Young women are always expected to behave responsibly and to be aware of when abuse is happening, but when they do show a level of maturity that is beyond their years, abusive men can use the excuse that they didn't know how old their victim was. Age pressures for young women are far more complex than most people realise.
8. "You shouldn’t try to be a person that your old self would like, and you shouldn’t try to be a person that your future self is going to be. You should be exactly who you feel like you are and want to be in that moment, otherwise you’re going to go insane."
As a response to a question that Billie Eilish has commonly heard "How would your younger self feel about you now?", the singer insists that putting too much thought into who you should be isn't healthy. Our lives are defined by who we are in the present, not who we try to be for the benefit of our future reflections.
9. "Even permanent things can be undone."
Not literally, perhaps, but even with the things we can't change, we can change the way we look at them. That time heals all wounds was a lesson that Billie learnt while meditating during her darker times, and now that things are brighter for her, she realises just how much truth there is in that sentiment.