Demi Lovato Is Embracing Confidence in a New Way

Trigger warning: This article contains references to eating disorders, addiction and mental health.

Since beginning her career at the age of seven, Demi Lovato has become a household name for their quirky, often sarcastic-leaning acting and powerhouse vocals that have made them a two-time Grammy award winner. But beyond her many artistic talents, Lovato has crafted a legacy bigger than any one album or leading role — one centered around advocacy for self-love, confidence and mental health awareness.

While advocacy work (particularly for mental health) is no longer uncommon amongst celebrities, Lovato has offered their fans and the public an unprecedented level of transparency, imploring audiences at every concert and public event to ask for help if they need it, and to internalize ideas like, "It works if you work it."

This commitment to being a role model isn't just an empathy-driven passion project for Lovato, but also a by-product of their lived experiences and publicized struggles with eating disorders, addiction and self-acceptance. Her near-fatal overdose in 2020 was recounted in and followed by a 2021 docuseries, "Dancing with the Devil" — their third documentary about recovery.

Demi Lovato performs at the 2020 Grammy Awards.<p>Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy</p>
Demi Lovato performs at the 2020 Grammy Awards.

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

"I think I have no regrets with my past in sharing my experiences with others. I think if I do have one regret, it's that I maybe did one too many documentaries," Lovato half laughs in an interview with Fashionista. "I wish I had waited for the right moment to release it rather than releasing three."

Lovato looks back on her moments of public vulnerability with gratitude above anything else — specifically as it pertains to the connection they've built with fans. "I've really enjoyed providing them with an outlet, like through my music or my experiences or my interviews, and being that safe space for other people," she says.

It's helped her do a lot of personal healing, too: "Being vulnerable and sharing the times where I didn't feel great with the world has helped me tremendously and has been very therapeutic for me."

Demi Lovato signs photos for fans.<p>Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images for WE Day</p>
Demi Lovato signs photos for fans.

Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images for WE Day

Self-confidence has been a common theme in Lovato's messaging. (You may remember her 2015 anthem "Confident," in which she chants, "What's wrong with being confident?" at least 10 times.) She's been vocal about the punches her self-image has taken over the years, criticizing excessive photo editing, feature-altering social media filters and the unhealthy beauty standards she was surrounded by as a child.

"I grew up in the era of socialites and celebrities that were very, very, very thin and sickly. That was the look at the time. And my [personal] beauty standards were high because of that," Lovato recalls. "As I've gotten older and been in the public eye more, my views of beauty and beauty standards have lowered because I've realized that it's about how you feel within rather than how you look on the outside. I realized that those celebrities and socialites are humans and I'm human and I'm not going to look perfect. Nobody is."

The now-31-year-old admits that, despite the body-positivity soapbox she's often stood upon, she still hasn't reached a place of constant positivity when it comes to her own appearance. "Sometimes, you have to fake it 'til you make it," she says. "If I'm having a moment where I don't feel that great about my body, I'm still practicing and taking all the steps that I need to take in order to feel the best that I can."

<p>Photo: Courtesy of Xeomin</p>

Photo: Courtesy of Xeomin

In a move that may initially seem antithetical to their career-long promotion of loving yourself the way you are, Lovato is now partnering with Xeomin, an injectable aesthetic treatment that can lessen and prevent the appearance of frown lines. She explains that her use of injectables is not about altering anything, but rather embracing and improving upon what already exists.

"I still look like myself [with Xeomin]. I've always believed in the importance of being true to who you are and owning the choices that you make in regards to your beauty routine and looking and feeling like your best self," Lovato says. "This is just another step in my transparency. I was like, 'I'm already doing this, so I might as well talk about it...'"

In many ways, this isn't out of step with Lovato's approach to beauty over the years. While not nearly as invasive as an injectable, the "Heart Attack" singer has been known to accentuate her appearance with the help of era-defining hair and makeup looks.

From left to right, Demi Lovato's hair in 2012, 2014 and 2021.<p>Photos: Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic, Amanda Edwards/WireImage, Rich Fury/Getty Images for OBB Media</p>
From left to right, Demi Lovato's hair in 2012, 2014 and 2021.

Photos: Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic, Amanda Edwards/WireImage, Rich Fury/Getty Images for OBB Media

Brown waves with straight choppy bangs defined her early Disney Channel years, from the musical movie "Camp Rock" to her 2008 debut album "Don't Forget." She moved onto black hair dye, bleached ombré and neon-hued dip-dye looks in the early 2010s that would dominate the Tumblr feeds and Pinterest boards of tweens and teens everywhere.

"When I got older, I started playing with my hair more since I wasn't able to when I was younger because I was going on auditions for acting jobs. So, I kind of suppressed that expressive side of me at a young age," Lovato explains. "I ended up playing with every [hair] color there was. I even shaved half of my head and then I buzzed my whole head. I'm not particularly attached to my hair, so I've been having fun playing with it over the years."

Makeup also played a role in Lovato's self-acceptance journey: "I used to wear a ton of makeup and I put a lot of pressure on myself because of what other people were saying about me online. Now that I'm older, I believe that less is more. Of course, there are times when I'm going to doll myself up if I have a big red carpet or a concert, but I feel my most beautiful now when I'm in no makeup and wearing sweatpants."

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Makeup has also gone hand-in-hand with Lovato's musical eras and trends of the moment. "I looked up to a lot of MySpace celebrities who were rocking the dark eyeliner, so I started experimenting with my makeup," the musician remembers. "When I started making music, I wanted my image to reflect my sound and my personal expression, so I started rocking the smokey eye look and it was really fun. It was really important to me that I got to express myself in a way that I felt was most authentic to myself."

Now, 16 years after the release of their first album, Lovato has found a way to reconnect with their younger self through their latest project, "Revamped." Returning to her self-proclaimed "emo" roots, the album is a compilation of previously released hit songs like "La La Land" and "Cool for the Summer" reimagined with angsty rock arrangements worthy of involuntary headbanging. Alongside this full-circle, punk-inspired moment, Lovato revisited the "more is more" attitude she once had when it came to glamour, but with a touch of the maturity and refinement she's now developed. Lovato seems to have found her footing — on a neutral ground where she doesn't need (or want) to conform to any one version or expectation of herself.

"It just feels like any time I'm able to express myself, it feels genuine and authentic to me and therefore, I feel better," Lovato shares. "I'm not wearing a dark smokey eye, but I'm representing how I feel today, and that makes me feel good about myself."

As for what helps Lovato feel her best on a day-to-day basis, a few things come to mind for the superstar: "I keep a very diligent skin-care routine. I'll give myself a facial twice a week with all Renée Rouleau products [...] Stretching, going on a hike, spending time with my loved ones, getting a massage — those are some of the things that help me feel like I'm taking care of myself and help me feel my most beautiful."

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