Taylor Swift opens up about eating disorder in Netflix's Miss Americana documentary

24 January 2020, 17:31

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

Taylor says that under-eating during her 1989 era severely affected her stamina on tour.

Taylor Swift is gearing up for the release of her deeply personal documentary, Miss Americana, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival on Thursday (23 Jan). The documentary will be coming to Netflix on 31 January.

In the revealing doc, the 'ME!' singer opens up about how she had struggled with an eating disorder during her career, after comments that she was "too skinny".

READ MORE: Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana: release date, trailer and everything we know about the Netflix documentary

Taylor admitted that seeing photos of herself in the press on a daily basis was a triggering experience for her. She said if she thought she looked "big" in the photos, or if someone said she looked pregnant, she would "just starve a little bit" or "just stop eating".

Taylor Swift attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival - "Miss Americana" Premiere
Taylor Swift attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival - "Miss Americana" Premiere. Picture: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images, Taylor Swift via YouTube

In an interview with Variety, she went into further detail about her experiences. Although she wasn't sure how she would feel opening up about her relationship with food on camera, Lana Wilson (the film's director) helped Taylor tell her story.

"I remember how, when I was 18, that was the first time I was on the cover of a magazine," she explained. "And the headline was like 'Pregnant at 18?' And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat. So I just registered that as a punishment. And then I’d walk into a photo shoot and be in the dressing room and somebody who worked at a magazine would say, 'Oh, wow, this is so amazing that you can fit into the sample sizes. Usually we have to make alterations to the dresses, but we can take them right off the runway and put them on you!' And I looked at that as a pat on the head.

"You register that enough times, and you just start to accommodate everything towards praise and punishment, including your own body."

Taylor Swift 'Miss Americana'
Taylor Swift 'Miss Americana'. Picture: Taylor Swift via YouTube

She added: "I think I’ve never really wanted to talk about that before, and I’m pretty uncomfortable talking about it now. But in the context of every other thing that I was doing or not doing in my life, I think it makes sense."

In the doc, Taylor describes a time when she was exercising a lot and not eating. At the time she wasn't aware that unnaturally being a size double zero was an issue, but when she did she felt "shame/hate spiral".

"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," she says, of eating restrictively on tour. "Now I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel (enervated)."

Taylor Swift 'Miss Americana'
Taylor Swift 'Miss Americana'. Picture: Taylor Swift via YouTube

We also see Taylor – who praised the work of actress and body activist Jameela Jamil – discuss just how unachievable body image standards are, something we can all probably relate to.

She continues: "If you’re thin enough, then you don’t have that ass that everybody wants. But if you have enough weight on you to have an ass, your stomach isn’t flat enough. It’s all just fucking impossible."