Music

The 5 Most Important Things FKA twigs Told Rookie About Beauty Standards

Music

The 5 Most Important Things FKA twigs Told Rookie About Beauty Standards

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This article originally appeared on Styleite.

Just when you think you can’t love FKA twigs more she goes and does literally any other thing. One of the most recent things she’s done is an interview with Rookie, which might just be our favorite partnership since… well, twigs and Robert Pattinson. (They grew on you quickly, right?)

But it hasn’t all been red lipstick and rave reviews. Much of the discussion centers around twigs’ racial identity, which has unfortunately also been a recent favorite subject of trollingTwilight stans. But after an epiphany sparked by Tank Girl (true story) she’s assumed creative control over not just her *liewk* but her art and life. Here are some of the many excellent things our heroine says.

1. The whitewashing of pop music and the “light-skinned black star boom” completely dictated the extent to which kids were assholes at school:

“In my last year or so of secondary school, when I was about 16, Beyoncé came out with “Crazy in Love,” and Christina Milian came out with “AM to PM.” Before that, it was about Britney, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera—all these really cute white girls who defined what the boys were fancying. Then that year, there was this boom of all these light-skinned black stars, and all of a sudden I was the shit. I was hanging out with the popular girls; I’d gone from people literally scribbling out my face in school photos and writing UGLY next to it, to, two years later, having everything be fine—all of a sudden I was really cute. At the time I was super androgynous—I had short hair and I dressed like a boy—and suddenly it was cool to dress the way I did, and I was the most desirable thing on earth. I always called bullshit on that!

It was right after that that I left my hometown with my mum and moved to London and just completely started a new life. And then from like 17 to 22, I went back to having no friends.”

Yup, kids are the worst.

2. Her self-acceptance spirit animal is Tank Girl:

“When I met Carri [Munden, who started Cassette Playa,] I was just a confused 19-year-old, not knowing how I wanted to be, but knowing I had so many ideas and so much inside me, and she was the first and only person who saw it. One time she said to me, “Who are you going as for Halloween?” I was like, “I think I’m gonna go as Edward Scissorhands.” And she was like, “You should go as Tank Girl.” I was like, “Who is Tank Girl?” And she said, “You’re Tank Girl. Just google it.” So I googled Tank Girl, and I was like, Oh my god, I am Tank Girl. From that point on, everything clicked into place: how I wanted to dress, what type of woman I was, and how I wanted to be.”

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3. She knows you think she’s perfect and wants you to stop telling her that. But not because she’s ungrateful — simply because she’s not perfect. Addressing the exaggerated aesthetic of her videos, twigs reveals that she doesn’t actually look like a flawless mystical doll in real life. Well, not 100% like one anyway.

I want everyone to know it’s not real. But even on my Instagram, people will say “Oh my god, ILY Twigs, you’re so perfect, I wish I could be you.” I tell them that I’m not perfect, it’s not true. I hate the way young girls think sometimes, it’s so depressing. They’ll write, “Why can’t I look like FKA Twigs?” I’m just like, no, you don’t understand—I cried in the mirror as a teenager.

4. Her choice to wear menswear highlights a fundamental blind spot in beauty standards when it comes to athletic female bodies:

“I am very petite, and my build is very athletic, from dancing and running. In the ’90s, you had to be this size zero to be considered beautiful, then in 2010 it was like “real women have curves,” but I wasn’t like that, so I basically rebelled by wearing only Uniqlo menswear or, if I was going out, a suit jacket from a charity shop. I felt really awkward about myself and about my body, so I just had to have everything really covered all the time. My body basically hasn’t changed since I was 16 years old, everything is basically the same.

I just did this video for “Pendulum,” and I full-on look like an adult! I’m like, When did that happen? I don’t even know! I only figured out in the past year that I’m not skinny, and I’m not curvy, I’m just really strong. That is me, and that’s really beautiful as well. People don’t really talk about athletic women. It’s a whole segment of women who are completely missed out.”

5. Being a woman is not about hair or nails:

“Last week, I bumped into a very famous music artist. She started talking to me about her nails and her hair extensions, and how getting this stuff done makes her feel like a woman, and she has to have so much money to get this stuff done because she’s a woman and that’s what being a woman is. I thought to myself, That’s very interesting, because what makes me a woman is when I know I’ve produced a song myself—when I’ve found an artist to work with, given him a beat to work on and told him what I wanted, and he’s given it back to me and it’s what I’d envisioned as a producer. Or when I’ve made a video and released it into the world. That’s what makes me feel like a woman. Like, fuck anything else—fuck how tall I am or how long my hair is!”

Read the interview in its entirety here.

Related links:
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