Taylor Swift is getting candid and real in her new documentary, Miss Americana.
The bio-doc premiered during the opening night gala at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Thursday, and fans got to see a different, more vulnerable side to Swift than they’ve ever seen before.
From the catalyst for her recent outspoken political activism to her years-long struggle with an eating disorder and body image issues, Swift did not hide anything when it came to the personal demons she’s fought — and continues to fight — as well as the difficult choices she’s had to make throughout her career.
Shortly after the film’s premiere at Sundance, Variety published their revealing sit-down with Swift, where she opened up even more about the challenges she faced, as seen in the new film, regarding her body image struggles.
In the film, Swift explains, “It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day.” She says that sometimes a photo of herself — or a thoughtless comment in the press claiming she “looked pregnant” would “just trigger me to just starve a little bit [and]just stop eating.”
Speaking with Variety, Swift admitted, “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.”
However, it was the film’s director, Lana Wilson, who’s deft hand at storytelling made Swift feel more comfortable.
“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,” Swift explained. “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.”
For Swift, one early thing she remembers registering in her mind as “a punishment” was when a paparazzi pic appeared on the cover of a tabloid and “the headline was like ‘Pregnant at 18?’ And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Swift recalls how she’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.'”
“And I looked at that as a pat on the head,” Swift explained. “You register that enough times, and you just start to accommodate everything towards praise and punishment, including your own body.”
Swift’s years-long journey to body acceptance and self-acceptance is just one aspect of the revealing documentary, Miss Americana, which hits Netflix on Jan. 31. Check out the video below to hear more.