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Sam Smith Opens Up About Overcoming Body Dysmorphia

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Sam Smith Opens Up About Overcoming Body Dysmorphia

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ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 15: Sam Smith attends iHeartRadio Power 96.1's Jingle Ball 2022 Presented by Capital One at State Farm Arena on December 15, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

Sam Smith has been on quite the journey. Alongside their music career, the singer has been on a personal quest of self-discovery, leading them to feel happier and more fulfilled than ever before. Since coming out as non-binary in 2019 and announcing their change of pronouns, the “Unholy” singer has overcome body dysmorphia and finally feels comfortable in their skin.

“My mum says that, as I’ve got older, I’ve stopped caring what people think as much. She tends to be right,” they told The Sunday Times in a 22 Jan. interview. Smith has come such a long way. Where once, they would struggle to take their top off at the swimming pool and dealt with weight issues in school, they now appear on the cover of their latest album “Gloria” topless, and star in the video of their new track, “I’m Not Here to Make Friends”, wearing a corset, bejewelled pants, and nipple pasties.

“Within my industry there is definitely that question of, ‘What should a pop star look like?;”, they say. “When I was 25 I came off tour exhausted. I looked to role models in the body world. Every time I went to the pool I felt self-conscious, but I forced myself to take my top off. It paid off because I now have the opposite of body dysmorphia. I look fabulous. I’m finally getting a tan. I’m burnt in places I’ve never been burnt.”

According to the NHS, body dysmorphia is “a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others.” Therapy, support groups, or antidepressants are often suggested to help those with the condition.

“It paid off because I now have the opposite of body dysmorphia. I look fabulous.”

Smith has previously spoken of their image struggles, telling The Times in 2020: “For me, what triggered everything was the work I was doing with my body issues. I always had body dysmorphia. As I started to address that, I started to address my gender and realised that I was holding myself to these ideals of how a man should look.” Smith sought therapy and credits it with making them realise there were many layers to their feelings. “I have girl thighs and I have girl breasts too. It started to awaken this conversation that had always been in the back of my mind.”

While Smith has learnt to love their body, there are still faced with cruel comments from others online. Most recently, they wore a fabulous Valentino sequin jumpsuit to the Capital Jingle Bell Ball in December, a similar getup to Harry Styles’s onstage looks. Yet while Styles was met with praise, Smith was met with abusive body shaming comments. “All I can say is that I looked fabulous,” they laugh.

With the 2023 Brits on the horizon, Smith added their disappointment at the lack of inclusion at the awards show. After campaigning for gender-neutral categories, the Brits changed its awards in 2022, but it has faced criticism this year for failing to nominate a single female in the Artist of the Year category. “It is a shame,” Smith agrees. “Things are moving forward, but it’s obvious it’s not there yet. From seeing that [best artist] list, there is still a long way to go.”

As Smith prepares to perform at the Brits and the Grammys this month, it’s clear they feel more authentic, confident, and powerful in their body. “Writing sad songs used to be easy, while leaning into joy was tough. I’m happier in my own skin on Gloria. I feel liberated, released from pressures I felt when I was young,” the 30-year-old explains. Yet they are keen to point out that the self-discovery never stops. “I get closer to who I am with each album,” the singer said. “But I never want to get there.” For our sake, we hope there’s many more Smith eras to come.



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