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Demi Lovato is opening up about their decision to alter their appearance and change their pronouns in a conversation with Jane Fonda, where the singer explained the moment they resonated with the idea of no longer conforming to gender.
The 28-year-old recalled attending a poetry slam with a friend as a point of realization, during which a performer was speaking about identifying as neither female nor male. "I identified with it so much that I thought to myself, ‘Oh, there's something here. There's something that I've never known about my entire life but it’s clicking now. And I need to research this, I need to do more work, I need to sit with it,'" Lovato shared during an episode of 4D with Demi Lovato. "So I did. I sat with it for over a year."
It wasn't until Lovato launched the podcast in May that they shared the news publicly that they identify as non-binary. One of the steps that they took to get there, however, was a big haircut that was debuted back in November.
"The reasoning behind me cutting my hair off was because I was shedding all of the gender norms that have been placed on me growing up female in this world," they said. "I just always found that men were at the root of pushing their agendas on me to be a sexy pop star, to whatever would make other people the most money. And I had to break that mold because I had to find the freedom for myself in order to survive, to live."
Lovato also noted their near-fatal drug overdose in July 2018 as a major turning point.
"I came to a really close near-death experience in 2018 and that for me was the wake-up call to start living my life because there was a voice inside of me that said, ‘You’re not living. And if you don’t start living your life for you, it’s gonna be your demise,'" they explained. "So I woke up and I thought, you know what, I'm gonna live my truth. And no matter who it scares, no matter who in the patriarchy it shakes, I'm going to live my truth for me."
Fonda, 83, shared a similar journey to figuring out who she is, identifying the patriarchy and her relationships with men as something that consistently held her back. "I should win Oscars for how I can become whatever the man wants me to be. And I went through three marriages like that. But I always knew that this isn't really who I am," she said, admitting that it wasn't until age 60 that she broke the pattern.
"I finally was single and I started to become who I was meant to be. But it takes work, as you know well. It doesn't just happen, it takes work and it's hard to know where to go if you don't know where you’ve been," Fonda explained. "So I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what had gone wrong earlier on so that I wouldn't keep making the same mistakes. And it just gets better, the older I get. Isn't that weird? It’s not what I expected at all."
For Lovato, who got engaged to actor and singer Max Ehrich during a whirlwind quarantine romance and separated shortly thereafter, much of her life today feels unexpected and unplanned.
"That is me all the way. I was engaged to a man last year. And I thought that my life today would look very different but now I have an inch of hair and new pronouns and I'm single and living in the most colorful queer house that I could've ever imagined for myself. And I'm so happy," Lovato said. "I tried to shrink myself to make myself more digestible for the rest of the planet. And that's just not who I am, and that’s not who you are either. And so, yes, if it takes us a while, if it takes time, that's fine. At least we get it at some point."
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