This time last year Demi Lovato had—it’s hard to believe—checked into a treatment center to get help for her struggles with bulimia, anorexia and self-injury. And instead of the usual celebrity tactic (deny, deny, deny), Lovato has taken a much braver route: going public about her self-described meltdown and the childhood bullying she’s talked openly about, all in an effort to help other young women and girls. This winter Lovato embarks on a world tour for her perfectly named album Unbroken. We’re all ears.
Glamour: These pictures from the shoot are gorgeous. I love your new look. What is beautiful to you?
Demi Lovato: Having strength and confidence in yourself. I think that women who know who they are are beautiful.
Glamour: And do you feel like you’re there? Or are you still working on that?
DL: I feel like I’m there. I feel beautiful, you know? I feel strong, and I feel confident in who I am.
Glamour: What’s your go-to makeup?
DL: Concealer, foundation, blush, mascara. I can feel glamorous without makeup too, especially on my lips. They’re naturally reddish, so I often let them go.
Glamour: How has your look changed in the last year?
DL: Whenever you’re going through, you know, stuff, it definitely reflects in the way you wear your makeup and hair. Wearing less makeup is more comfortable for me.
Glamour: What’s one thing that has really stuck with you from your experience in treatment?
DL: I met so many young girls and even older women who had literally, you know, been through so much that I couldn’t even imagine. I was maybe a little more closed-minded, and I learned from them never to judge anyone.
Glamour: Is it true that you got tattoos on top of your cutting scars?
DL: I think scars are like battle wounds—beautiful, in a way. They show what you’ve been through and how strong you are for coming out of it. My tattoos say “Stay strong.” “Stay” on one [wrist] and “strong” on the other. Now I’m able to look at them and be thankful for being alive. I think that I’ve been blessed over the past year to be able to start over.
Glamour: What’s the healthiest thing that you do for yourself every day?
DL: Pray. I pray every night before I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up.
Glamour: I want to ask you about some of your lyrics. In “For the Love of a Daughter,” you sing about the “family war” and say, “Your selfish hands always expecting more.” Is this experience about your childhood?
DL: I think people read way too much into that line.
Glamour: What do you mean by that? Do people think it’s abuse and it’s not?
DL: I just don’t think people need to be that literal. I think that could just be, like, a financial thing.
Glamour: In “Skyscraper,” you sing, “Go on and try to tear me down, I will be rising from the ground.” Who are you singing to?
DL: It’s to every person who tried to bring me down. Everyone has the bully or the mean girl or the ex-boyfriend who tried to bring them down. For me, I think of the people who really weren’t there for me when I went into treatment. It was a really dark time for me because I had only a few people—I had surrounded myself with so many artificial friendships. It’s about those people too.
Glamour: You also sing, “You never really can fix a heart.” Do you believe that?
DL: I think every time you get your heart broken, there’s a little piece of it that chips away, and I don’t think you ever get that piece back. But I think you’re able to bandage it with time and with new people and other things that make you happy.