There’s a dark reason for Billie Eilish’s signature look.
The Grammy-winning 18-year-old says she often doesn’t feel attractive to the people she dates, and as a result, dresses in baggy clothes.
“Here’s a bomb for you: I have never felt desired,” Eilish tells GQ in an interview published Thursday. “My past boyfriends never made me feel desired. None of them. And it’s a big thing in my life that I feel I have never been physically desired by somebody.”
In response to this, the singer dresses in clothes that don’t show off her body, in order to hide it from the world and its judgments.
“I dress the way I dress as I don’t like to think of you guys — I mean anyone, everyone — judging it, or the size of it,” says Eilish.
Some days, though, she feels confident enough to make an exception: “But that doesn’t mean that I won’t wake up one day and decide to wear a tank top, which I have done before.”
Eilish has been tight-lipped about her love life since becoming famous. But she’s recently devoted more attention to issues of body image. She took to YouTube in May, posting a now-viral short film called “Not My Responsibility,” depicting her almost entirely removing her black tank top. The response to the film was not exactly surprising — but she was OK with it, she said.
“Well, I do that and suddenly my boobs are trending on Twitter. Which is fine — that s–t looks good,” the “Bad Guy” singer told GQ.
The slut-shaming that followed Eilish posting a rare swimsuit photo, however, was less encouraging. “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,” she told Dazed magazine after the January incident.
Her wardrobe has thus grown into a spectrum of styles so she can dress to fit her daily mood, but the wide range of looks she sports also makes her feel trapped.
“Sometimes I dress like a boy. Sometimes I dress like a swaggy girl. And sometimes I feel trapped by this persona that I have created, because sometimes I think people view me not as a woman,” she says.
While her relationship with her body is complex, she also feels empowered by the control she knows she has over it, and how much of it she wants to show to the public.
“[My] body is mine and yours is yours. Our own bodies are kind of the only real things which are truly ours. I get to see it and get to show it when I want to,” she says.