Taylor Swift kicked off the Sundance Film Festival on Thursday by premiering the opening night film: her upcoming Netflix documentary, Miss Americana.
The doc, directed by Lana Wilson, chronicles the ups and downs of the pop singer’s life in the spotlight and drops some major revelations – including her struggle with an eating disorder.
Following a montage of negative comments made on TV about her weight, Swift says “It’s not good for me to see pictures of myself every day.” She adds, “It’s only happened a few times, and I’m not in any way proud of it. [But when I see] a picture of me where I feel like I looked like my tummy was too big, or… someone said that I looked pregnant … that’ll just trigger me to just starve a little bit — just stop eating.”
"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," she adds in the doc. "Now I realize, no, if you eat food, have energy, get stronger, you can do all these shows and not feel [weak]."
Following the premiere, Variety published an interview with Swift in which she talks about her struggles with body image and why she wanted to include that in the documentary.
"I remember how, when I was 18, that was the first time I was on the cover of a magazine," she tells Variety. "And the headline was like 'Pregnant at 18?' And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat. So I just registered that as a punishment. And then I'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, 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 towards praise and punishment, including your own body."
"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," she tells Variety. "But the way that Lana tells the story, it really makes sense. 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.”
The documentary also covers Swift’s decision to speak out about politics and support LGBTQ rights in 2018 despite members of her team – including her own father – urging her not to. At the premiere’s Q&A, Swift explained his hesitance.
"He's always just been so terrified about my safety,” Swift told the audience. “There are so many threats we get on a daily basis that nobody ever knows about, we try to keep that stuff under wraps as much as possible but my dad is the one who has to see it. And so for him it was all about 'What could happen to you if you say this?'"
Miss Americana will be available on Netflix on January 31, 2020.