Sam Smith on Body Image

Celebrities Face Just as Many Issues with Body Image as the Rest of us, Something Sam Smith Knows all too Well

A lot of people assume the life of a celebrity is all glitz, glamour and minimal personal issues. However, body image issues are sinister. They can affect absolutely anyone and can make you feel like the loneliest person in the world when you look in the mirror, a feeling singer Sam Smith is all too familiar with.

The Mental Health Foundation conducted a survey with YouGov in March 2019 with 4,505 UK adults. They found one in five people (20%) have felt ‘shame’ and just over one-third (34%) have felt ‘down or low’ in the past year because of their body image. Once you know the numbers, it’s easier to appreciate that celebrities are not exempt from battling body image issues.  

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In 2018, Sam sat down for a discussion with Sarah Jessica Parker for V Magazine. Sam shared how they gradually became more comfortable on camera. “You and I have talked a little bit about self-image,” Parker asked Smith. “How comfortable are you feeling on camera today versus two years ago?” 

“It’s completely different. I think that’s come with me losing weight,” Smith said. “When I was shooting my first music videos, I just wasn’t happy with the way I looked, so I was trying to control the way the camera moved. I got a bit obsessive. I was constantly looking in the mirror, pinching my waist, weighing myself every day.” 

Sam Smith also recently spoke with The Sunday Times’ Jonathan Dean in an interview about body dysmorphia, authenticity and identity. Smith recalled that they were apprehensive about joining an industry which celebrated trim, toned celebrities and perfection was considered the standard. Things were even so bad that their parents tried to persuade them to undress while on vacation as a child — to no avail.  

However, Sam is now known for their flamboyant, risqué fashion sense. They have even been lauded as a fashion icon in certain circles. So, what changed over the years? There has clearly been a huge transformation. When asked how they converted into a superstar that regularly wears daring looks onstage and online, Smith said it actually took a rather bold approach. “Within my industry, there is definitely that question of, ‘What should a pop star look like?’ When I was 25 I came off tour exhausted. I looked to role models in the body world. Every time I went to the pool I felt self-conscious, but I forced myself to take my top off. It all paid off because I now have the opposite of body dysmorphia. I think I look fabulous.”