Credit: DemiBrasil. FULL article under!
Outspoken. Brutally honest. Undeniably fearless. If Demi isn’t already one of your favorite pop stars, she will be after you read this.
Casually leaning back in a booth at a trendy New York City Restaurant, Demi Lovato is trying to sum up the past 18 months of her life. “So much has happened, and I’m really glad it’s over.” she says, running a hand through her long hair. “It’s been tough, but I’m really excited to be in a more healthy, positive place.” Of course she’s referring to her stay at a treatment center at the end of 2010, where she sought help for an eating disorder and where she was diagnosed as being bipolar.
While that stuff is pretty heavy, what’s fearless about the 19 year old is that she’s been completely honest about it from the get-go. Rather than go the route of so many celebs– who either claim they’re suffering from exhaustion or release generic statements thought up by their PR team– Demi has been upfront about everything. That same openness bring rare authenticity to her songs, which are packed with emotional lyrics that resonate with her fans. Her most recent album Unbroken debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard charts, and she is currently on tour promoting it. Then, this September, she’ll join Britney Spears, L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell as a judge on on Fox’s popular show The X Factor. In the realm of Hollywood, where so much seems manufactured and fake, Demi has managed keep both her personal and professional lives so real. “I’m very independent.” she says, “and I have a very close relationship with my fans and I am always honest with them.”
PAGEANT GIRL TURNED POP STAR
Raised in Dallas by her mother and stepfather, Demi always knew she wanted to be a performer. “I sang in my first talent show at 5 and was hooked,” she says. Her mom, a former a former country singer, was totally supportive of Demi’s dream and helped her start auditioning. In between trying out for roles, Demi participated in beauty pageants but is very insistent that they weren’t like the crazy ones on TLC. “I didn’t get a fake tan or wear extensions. I liked it because I could perform during the talent section.” she says. It was during one of those pageants that 7 year old Demi and her mom heard that the show Barney and Friends was holding a casting call in town. They decided to check it out, and she landed a role. Demi appeared on two seasons before her family moved to Los Angeles so she could pursue acting and sing more seriously. “I started auditioning for commercials and television roles. Then around the age of 14, I tested for Hannah Montana,” she says. “I wound up not getting it, but that’s how Disney learned about me. I kept reading for things, and I got a role in the Disney TV movie Camp Rock, co-starring with The Jonas Brothers, and the lead in Sonny With a Chance.” Tiffany Thornton, who costarred on Sonny With a Chance, says everyone liked Demi from the start. “The first time the cast met, she was so bubbly and very lovable,” says Tiffany. “She has this energy that draws people to her.” For the next three years, Demi worked nonstop filming her show, making two records, and touring. But being a major teen sensation wasn’t always easy. “No one ever pressured me at Disney but I did feel pressure being with the channel.” she says. “They didn’t have everyone sign contracts saying we’d wear purity rings but I think it was expected that we wouldn’t get into trouble.” Demi, who was already dealing with some secret issues, felt hemmed in and frustrated.
PROVING SHE’S UNBREAKABLE
The popstar admits that during most of her disney years, she suffered from anorexia and bullimia. “Around 12, I started getting bullied and was called fat. Soon after that, I lost like 30 pounds,” she says. “When I got a little older, I started throwing up.” Demi also began cutting herself and has admitted to partying quite a bit. It all came to a head at the end of 2010, when people close to Demi held an intervention of sorts. “My family expected me to fight them on going to treatment,” she says. “They were going to call the cops if I refused, but I went willingly.” Demi checked into the treatment center thinking she was there to deal with her eating disorder and self-harm issues, but after being evaluated, she learned she also suffered from bipolar disorder. “I felt relieved when I found out,” she says, leaning forward. “Like, I’m not completely crazy, there’s a medical reason for all of it.”
She spent three months in treatment and now says she will be in recovery forever. “It’s a daily thing; you don’t get time off from it. And if I feel myself slipping back into old patterns, I have to ask others for help,” Demi says. “which is hard for me to learn because I really like doing everything on my own.” As for going public with her problems, Demi never considered not being truthful. “Hiding it wouldn’t have been good for me or my fans, so I chose to talk about it.” she says. After she finished treatment, Demi took a few months off before pouring herself into her music. She says it felt great to get back into the studio and thinks the experience made her rethink the purpose of her career. “It’s not just about singing anymore,” she says. “I want to inspire people.” Clearly, she has. When Demi released Unbroken, there was an outpouring of support. Fans and critics applauded her frank lyrics in song like “Skyscraper,” where she sings “Go on and try to tear my down/I will be rising from the ground, like a skyscraper.” Demi’s music hits such a nerve, women regularly tweet her empowering lyrics have helped them deal with their own issues. Fellow pop star Kelly Clarkson thinks that authenticity is what makes Demi special. “She is exactly the same on and off stage. There are no surprises with her.” Kelly says. Eventually, Demi wants to get back into acting, but for now, she’s content with focusing on her music. “When I combine the two, I get overworked and that’s not fun. So for the next year, it’s all about singing. Other than that, I have no plans. I just want to see where my career takes me.”
NOW IT’S TIME FOR LOVE
Unlike her career path, Demi knows the direction she’d like her personal life to go in. “I want to be married with kids in 10 years,” she says with a grin. So what is she looking for in a future hubby? “Just a guy who makes me laugh,” she says. “Obviously, I have to be attracted to him, but a sense of humor really does it for me.” That’s pretty much where Demi’s dating qualifications end. “I don’t have many deal breakers. I’ve done so much in my life, it doesn’t feel right to judge other people. Oh, I know one quality I won’t tolerate,” she says. “I would never be with a guy who is controlling.” The star does admit that it’s been a little intimidating to date since getting out of treatment. “It doesn’t really bother me that a guy will know about my past before we even go out,” she says. “What’s more embarrassing is that his mom will already know my life.”
As we finish, Demi says she has a flight back to L.A. to catch. But she has one more thing to say about her career before she goes: “I’m making that transition into being more adult,” How does she plan to do it? She raises her eyebrows and says “I’ll probably start dressing sexier.” We’re all for that.