Billie Eilish may have been featured in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, but she hasn’t necessarily always related to Barbie herself. In a new profile with Variety, the “What Was I Made For?” singer reflected on being sexualized from a young age, a tricky paradox for someone who — in her words — has “never felt like a woman.”
In the “What Was I Made For?” music video, a daintily-dressed Eilish sorts through doll-sized versions of matching sweatsuits and other “shapeless” attire, the types of outfits that have become synonymous with her name. When she was younger, she’d often say her baggy personal style came from a place of wanting to stand out and be memorable, but in hindsight, she acknowledges that she might’ve been hiding something instead.
“I wasn’t trying to have people not sexualize me,” Eilish told Variety. “But I didn’t want people to have access to my body, even visually. I wasn’t strong enough and secure enough to show it. If I had shown it at that time, I would have been completely devastated if people had said anything.”
Though Eilish has recently come around to the occasional corset or low-cut neckline, it’s been a difficult journey at times, marred by tabloids who were quick to point out her chest whenever she — gasp — wore a tank top out on a hot day. “I’ve never felt like a woman, to be honest with you,” Eilish added. “I’ve never felt desirable. I’ve never felt feminine. I have to convince myself that I’m, like, a pretty girl. I identify as ‘she/her’ and things like that, but I’ve never really felt like a girl.”
Thankfully, it seems like Eilish is beginning to make peace with her body being seen in a sexual context — or, at the very least, she doesn’t mind the name drop in a recent Drake song. On the For All the Dogs track “Another Late Night,” featured artist Lil Yachty raps: “She had big tits like Billie Eilish.”
Of the line, Eilish responded: “I think it’s fun! I’m flattered! Yachty is my friend. Drake is my friend. It’s a joke. I do have big tits. I love it.”
Eilish just earned herself six nominations for the 2024 Grammys, with “What Was I Made For?” getting nods for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Music Video, and Best Song Written for Visual Media.