Billie Eilish says she's experienced impostor syndrome as a result of growing up in the spotlight.
The Happier Than Ever singer was honored as one of BBC's 100 Women and did an interview with the outlet during which she reflected on her career thus far. At just 20 years old, Eilish admitted that it's been difficult to discover who she really is while at the center of the public's attention.
"When you see yourself and your name everywhere, it’s really hard to know who the hell you are. Like 15 [years old] was when people decided that that was who I was, so it’s really hard to change and grow and grow up and mature and like become a human when people decided that you were one thing," she said. "It absolutely drives me insane that you could look up ‘Billie Eilish’ and videos that come up are things that I said when I was 15. I’m like, almost nothing I said before two months ago I still believe. So it’s like, it’s a trip."
Eilish was just 14 years old when she and her older brother Finneas uploaded their song "Ocean Eyes" to SoundCloud and garnered attention from new fans and industry leaders. Since then, the pair have been in the spotlight, with Eilish at the forefront. "I’m an internet kid. Like, I saw everybody else in the public eye when they were and then suddenly it’s me and I’m like, I’m on the internet just as much as anybody else is but then it’s like, oh, I’m part of the discussion now instead of just in the comments," she said, "which is like a very strange little thing."
And of course, there is no roadmap on how to navigate that sort of fame.
"I just didn’t know what I was doing. I mean, I just had such severe impostor syndrome. I’ve had that so many times in my life, and really just, like, some parts of last year and the year before are just like, whew. I was just in that downward spiral of impostor syndrome and just grasping at whatever I could to make me feel like myself again, but I didn’t know," she explained. "Growing up in the public eye is a very bruising experience."
It was also complicated on the business end.
"I look back fondly, for the most part, but you know, it was so funny to be a 14-year-old girl with my 17-year-old brother and, you know, just doing hundreds of meetings constantly," she said. "It was a lot of meetings with people that didn't know how to talk to 14-year-old girls."
And, more notably, with people who didn't know how to listen to one.
"Being a female at all, and especially being a very young female, especially in this industry, it’s like really hard to make people believe in you," she said. "It was a very satisfying moment when I realized that people actually either like wanted to hear what I had to say or like believed in what I had to say and when I finally had control was a really good moment."
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