Taylor Swift gets candid about overcoming an eating disorder in her new Netflix documentary

This post contains information regarding eating disorders and may be triggering for some individuals. 

Taylor Swift’s documentary Miss Americana premiered at Sundance last night, just a day after the trailer took the internet by storm. The trailer promises that the documentary will follow Swift’s recent decisions to speak out against sexist treatment and jump into the political fray by endorsing candidates in the midterm elections. Now, Variety reports that the documentary will also feature Swift opening up about previous struggles with an eating disorder.

Public critiques of her body were alluded to in the Miss Americana trailer, where, amid a montage of negative media commentary, one reporter says, “She’s too skinny. It bothers me.”

Now, Swift has opened up to Variety about her struggle with disordered eating and her decision to share that struggle with the public.

“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,” Swift says to Variety.

But Swift was candid with director Lana Wilson about the topic during filming. Variety reveals that the documentary shows Swift saying, “It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day.” She goes on to say, “[Seeing] a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or…someone said that I looked pregnant…and that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit—just stop eating.”

Swift says this impulse to “just stop eating” wasn’t helped by the fact she felt rewarded for it by the industry.

"I’d walk into a photoshoot 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 toward praise and punishment, including your own body."

The documentary also reveals how her eating disorder affected her stamina on tour. “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 reportedly says in the documentary. “Now I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel (enervated).”

Her struggle with disordered eating, though specific to her own hyper-scrutinized experience, is sure to resonate with so many people.

And Swift says she’s now reached a healthier place with her eating habits and body image.

The singer cites Brené Brown’s Netflix special as a positive counterexample to constant media criticism.

"[Brown] was saying something like, ‘It’s ridiculous to say, "I don’t care what anyone thinks about me," because that’s not possible. But you can decide whose opinions matter more and whose opinions you put more weight on.’ And I think that is really part of growing up, if you’re going to do it right. That’s part of hoping to find some sort of maturity and balance in your life.

Swift seems ready to reveal lots about herself and her career, on her terms, in her new documentary. You can see all of Miss Americana on Netflix on January 31st.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please visit the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) for more information and support or text “NEDA” to 741-741.

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