Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to a sold-out audience last week, and with an unprecedented turnaround, the 90-minute documentary will be available for viewers to stream on Netflix beginning on January 31.
The hype surrounding this film is naturally huge, and Swifties should prepare to see a new version of the singer, a woman who’s more confident and self-assured than ever before.
Directed by Lana Wilson, the documentary centers on Swift’s creative process, jumping back and forth through time, from when Swift was a child, receiving her first guitar on Christmas morning, and up until the 2019 VMAs. While Swift is admittedly in a wonderful spot in her life, the 30-year-old pop star isn’t completely immune from the pressures of the industry.
Swift’s journey to self-acceptance of her body, like any other woman, is a constantly evolving journey. Swift admits that she used to scrutinize photos of herself posted online, and if she was unsatisfied with what saw, she’d restrict her diet to an extreme level.
“It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day,” Swift says in Miss Americana. While “it’s only happened a few times, and I’m not in any way proud of it,” Swift says that is she saw “a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or… someone said that I looked pregnant… that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit — just stop eating.”
To those who were genuinely concerned Swift was too thin, she was always ready to deny and deny. Swift would say, “‘ What are you talking about? Of course, I eat. [And] I exercise a lot.’ I did exercise a lot. But I wasn’t eating.”
According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), an estimated 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life. No one knows for sure what causes an eating disorder, but according to NEDA, it’s a range of biological, psychological and sociocultural factors.
Wilson said of Swift opening up about her eating disorder, “That’s one of my favorite sequences of the film. I was surprised, of course. But I love how she’s kind of thinking out loud about it. And every woman will see themselves in that sequence. I just have no doubt.”
Swift Wanted To Be Perfect & Was A Master At Pretending She Was Fine
Swift elaborated on publicly discussing her eating disorder in the film with Variety earlier this month. She said:
“I didn’t know if I was going to feel comfortable with talking about body image and talking about the stuff I’ve gone through in terms of how unhealthy that’s been for me — my relationship with food and all that over the years. But the way that Lana tells the story, it really makes sense. I’m not as articulate as I should be about this topic because there are so many people who could talk about it in a better way. But all I know is my own experience. And my relationship with food was exactly the same psychology that I applied to everything else in my life: If I was given a pat on the head, I registered that as good. If I was given a punishment, I registered that as bad.”
The change in Swift between 2015 and 2019, from the “1989” world tour to now, is admirably captured in Miss Americana. The strength and confidence Swift earns mentally allow her to also become strong and confident on the outside.
Swift Struggled To Finish Performances While Remaining So Thin
Swift eventually became aware that she checked all the boxes of having an eating disorder: Writing down everything she ate, working out excessively, and starving herself. However, this lifestyle was not sustainable, especially when your job includes going on a world tour and giving live energetic performances each night.
“I thought that I was supposed to feel like I was going to pass out at the end of a show, or in the middle of it,” Swift says in the doc. “Now I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel (totally drained).”
While the “You Need to Calm Down” singer is naturally thin, Swift’s settling in with the fact that her body is not meant to be a sample size. “The fact [is] that I’m a size 6 instead of a size double-zero.”
In the film, Swift is shown putting on the sparkly dress shown in the picture above. Merely looking at the photo from 2018, she appears completely comfortable and confident. As seen in Miss Americana, she reveals that it’s so tight that she can’t even put on her own earrings.
Swift Admits It’s Still A Continuous Battle To Remain Healthy & Strong
To be a woman in the industry, and one of the most scrutinized artists of her generation, Swift admits she’s not perfect, and never will be. While the “Lover” singer is in an extremely happy place in her life, not every day is great. Swift admits there are times when it’s easy to slip into old habits and must dig down to encourage herself to remain healthy.
“If you’re thin enough, then you don’t have that ass that everybody wants,” she says in the film. “But if you have enough weight on you to have an ass, your stomach isn’t flat enough. It’s all just f***ing impossible.”