In gracing the cover of British Vogue’s June issue, Billie Eilish ditched her signature punk and grunge aesthetic for old Hollywood glamour.
From sporting oversized fits that helped hide her “deepest” body “insecurities,” the acclaimed pop star posed for the cameras in body-hugging designer corsets, dresses and heels. Needless to say, the pinup model-inspired shoot had people buzzing on social media—she became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter; her Instagram post has more than 16 million likes.
While reactions to her transformation were overwhelmingly positive, there were some—just as she had expected—who weren’t into it at all. But at the end of the day, she stressed, how she looks and presents herself is her own decision. “I am who I am, and I try really hard not to let thoughts of ‘What should I look like, or be like?’ get into me. Sometimes, I find myself thinking, ‘Oh, what will this person think?’ Well I don’t have to worry,” the acclaimed singer-songwriter said in a British Vogue Q&A video posted on YouTube.
The only validation she needs, Billie added, is from herself. “I’m me and I’m the only person I need to make happy, realistically. Obviously, we make other people happy and do things for them. But I’m the only person who needs to like what I wear, what I say and what I am.”
“I try to keep that close to me and not let anything else get in the way,” added the Grammy Award-winning artist, who’s one of the most influential, young musicians today. Billie’s meteoric rise to fame began in 2018 on the strength of her songwriting and her brooding electro-pop styling, which led to the mega hits “Bad Guy,” “Bury a Friend” and “Everything I Wanted.”
And though people associate her with specific fashion styles, the truth is that Billie doesn’t want to be boxed in just one category. In fact, she loves thrift shopping and the endless choices it presents. “I loved thrifting and I felt like what was nice about it was that there wasn’t any real genre of clothing. They’re all just… there so there’s no limit. There’s now women’s this or that. There’s just clothes,” she said.
The Q&A session also had Billie fielding questions from her fans and other stars such as Avril Lavigne, Halle Berry, Orlando Bloom, Justin Bieber, Melanie C, Melissa McCarthy and Missy Elliot. With the live music industry still in a limbo, the 19-year-old artist couldn’t help but think about the unadulterated joy she gets from performing for supporters. “Honestly, doing live shows is what brings me joy—just being onstage in front of thousands of people is unbelievable. I can’t explain it. I was watching a video of a show I did in a festival and it almost made me cry. I can’t believe that I get to do that. It’s such an amazing thing,” she related. “So, I think, that of all things brings me the most joy.”
Billie also touched on her songwriting process, how she differentiates good from bad lyrics. “It’s a kind of intuition, gut feeling. But sometimes, I can’t tell if I like this [line] or not. My brother [and collaborator Finneas O’Connell] and I grew up with basic songwriting structures,” she said, adding that mastery of basics allows one to bend them. “It’s kind of silly because songs can be anything you want them to be. But it’s good to know the basics of things, because then, you can take those basics and shift them around and turn them into something else … you can go crazy with it,” she pointed out.
With her success coming from different fronts and seemingly all at the same time, how does she stay grounded? Family was the simple answer.
“Having the right people around you. I just love being with my family. I don’t have to be with them as much as I do now, but I choose to be with them because I love them. That’s about it,” she said. “Family, friends, peace.”
Billie is barely in her 20s. So, as far as her future goes, she’s trying not to overthink about it. For now, the goal is to keep on doing the things she loves most.
“I have a lot of ideas for the future. But at the same time, I’m not a goal person. I don’t set strict goals because we all change—what we like, what we feel. So I kind of want to do what I want to do right now. And in the future, I hope to do what I want to do right then,” she said.
“There are things in my head, but I want to keep them to myself, because if I say them out loud and don’t do them, then I’m going to look stupid!” she jested. INQ