I’ve just added scans from next month’s issue of Allure Magazine into the gallery.
Demi Lovato, Allure’s February cover star, has been modeling attitude and independence for years. She is the antithesis of the sugarcoated pop star, with her slashed jet-black hair and constellation of tattoos. And while she’s hardly the first star to rebel against her Disney roots, she was one of the first to speak candidly about her demons.
In 2009, photos surfaced showing Lovato with cutting scars on her wrist, and a year later, she sought treatment for bulimia. In 2010, while on tour with the Jonas Brothers, Lovato made headlines for punching a backup dancer while traveling to Peru; she checked herself into a rehab facility shortly thereafter. Ultimately, she decided to come forward and address the issues. “I realized I could help people,” she says. When a young star shares the unvarnished truth, she adds, “it creates a conversation—there’s an opening for children themselves to actually come forward and say, ‘This is what I’m dealing with.’ Or ‘I have a problem. I need help.'”
In the years since then, Lovato has incorporated her struggles into her music and her message, talking about her battles with anorexia and bulimia, self-harm, and drug abuse. (In 2013, two years after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she wrote a New York Times best-seller, Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year [Faiwel & Friends].) Along the way, she has gotten both support and criticism for her outspokenness. “I’ll have people who are like, ‘Stop talking about eating disorders. Like, we get it. You struggled. Now shut up,'” she says, unfazed. “I’m sure they get tired of reading about it, because I get tired of talking about it, but this summer I started wearing sexier stuff, and I got some hate for that—like, ‘You’ve changed.'” She smiles at the irony. “It’s like, What’s wrong with being confident enough to wear this?”
It’s a refrain that has struck a chord with fans of all ages and particularly with young women, who, more and more, are idolizing bold, unapologetic, tough-girl heroines. And Lovato’s latest style evolution is as much of a declaration as her music itself. “I’ve never felt as confident in my skin as I do today,” says Lovato. “A year ago, on tour, almost every inch of my body was covered by clothing, and it was because I was hiding behind so many layers. Once I started feeling better about myself, I felt better about showing more skin. I have insecurities about my arms, so to wear a tank top on stage is extremely liberating for me, and uncomfortable sometimes. It’s also a statement, like, ‘Hey, watch out. You’re no longer getting the insecure Demi that you’ve been getting for the past couple of years. I mean business now.'”
Maybe it’s her Disney training, but at times, Lovato sounds a bit like the star of her own ABC Afterschool Special. She is hyperaware of her role-model duties and has no shortage of learned lessons to share, especially when it comes to staying healthy, in body and in mind. She is a big proponent of self-care—hence the foot massages. On the road, she exercises regularly and relies on a nutritionist to send her meals. “My food choices don’t rule my life anymore,” she says.
Vanity Fair photographer Patrick Ecclesine was with Demi Lovato this week when the singer was suddenly inspired to pose for a series of portraits, with only three rules: “no makeup, no clothes, no retouching.” These are the results.
It was half past midnight when Demi Lovato announced that it was time to take her clothes off. In the streets below her Manhattan hotel room, the crowd of dedicated fans waiting for a glimpse of the singer/songwriter/actress/pop star couldn’t possibly imagine what was about to transpire behind closed doors. Quite frankly, neither could I.
That morning I’d stepped off a plane from Los Angeles to shadow 34-year-old Phil McIntyre, C.E.O. of music talent-management firm Philymack, who has launched the careers of several major pop stars, including Nick Jonas and Lovato, whose new album, Confident, is set to be released on October 16. After shuttling from meeting to meeting, we ended up at the Greenwich Hotel to meet with the Philymack team.
The topic at hand was Lovato, whose great-grandfather Buddy Moore had died the day before. Lovato considered him one of the most important people in her life, and McIntyre and his team were concerned. At midnight, an emotionally drained Lovato arrived sans makeup, hair pulled back, carrying her Yorkiepoo, Batman. I had photographed Lovato once before, so she smiled and said hello, then plopped down in a chair. Batman came over and jumped in my lap. She spoke about her sadness, and then she got an idea.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past day, it’s that life is too short,” she said. “I’m about to launch an album that finally represents who I truly am. How do I embrace this new chapter in my life? How do I really walk the walk? What does it mean to be confident? It means letting go, being authentic, saying I don’t give a fuck and this is who I am. I want to show the side of me that’s real, that’s liberated, that’s free. What if we do a photo shoot where it’s totally raw? Super-sexy, but no makeup, no fancy lighting, no retouching, and no clothing. Let’s do it here, let’s do it now.”
The room emptied, and I wondered how I’d fallen into this situation. With only her assistant remaining, Lovato and I worked in near silence, making our way through the hotel room, communicating with subtle gestures, nods, and tilts of the head. Lovato had rarely posed nude before, so I had to be respectful of that and tread lightly. When I left her at three in the morning, she gave me a quick hug and thanked me for making her feel pretty. I thanked her for her confidence.
*Note: gallery photos are password protected. If you’d like to view the album, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the password.
Demi released photos of her cover shoot for next month’s issue of Complex and I’ve added all photos from the shoot into the gallery. Enjoy!
I’ve just added scans from next month’s issue of Cosmopolitan into the gallery. Pick an issue up if you haven’t already!
The star talks about dating, her new music, and more in the September issue.
On being “off and on” for five years with boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama: “The only times we ever broke up were when I was relapsing, whether it was drugs or in a bad place and rebelling against everybody, not just him … People say that relapses happen before you use. Your mind starts setting up the relapse before you take that drink or that first hit. The times we’d broken up, I had already gone to that place of, ‘Yeah, this is what’s happening.’ I didn’t realize it at the time, but I just wanted to sabotage everything around me so that I could sabotage myself.”
On Wilmer not throwing in the towel: “We started dating when I turned 18 … Right after that, I went to rehab. People told him, ‘You should probably leave. She’s on a spiral, and you’re going to be sucked down with it.’ But he was like, ‘I’m not leaving. This is somebody I really care about.’ We relate on a lot of levels. I’ve seen a lot of shit. Shit people don’t know about. He’s seen a lot of stuff too.”
On Wilmer not being the jealous type: “Nick and Wilmer get along great — Joe and Wilmer too. It’s weird. In the beginning, I was like, ‘Why the fuck are you friends with Joe?’ He was like, ‘He’s a cool guy.’ Yeah, I know. I dated him.”
On her music: “There are a lot of girls in pop. They have badass lyrics, but I feel like I’m the only person other than Rihanna and Nicki Minaj who isn’t afraid to say, ‘Try something on me and I’ll fucking beat your ass.’ There are people who can dress up and play the part, but their music doesn’t say it.”
For more of Demi Lovato’s exclusive interview and photo shoot with Cosmopolitan, pick up the September 2015 issue on newsstands August 11 or click here to subscribe to the digital edition!