Kesha, who has battled anorexia and bulimia since age 18, said the music industry sets impossible beauty standards, which she fell victim to as an insecure teen.
“The music industry has set unrealistic expectations for what a body is supposed to look like, and I started becoming overly critical of my own body because of that,” she wrote in an essay for Elle UK (via ATRL).
“I felt like people were always lurking, trying to take pictures of me with the intention of putting them up online or printing them in magazines and making me look terrible.”
Kesha quickly developed poor self-esteem and a neurotic self-consciousness when she signed her first record contract as an awkward 18-year-old.
“I became scared to go in public, or even use the Internet,” she said. “I may have been paranoid, but I also saw and heard enough hateful things to fuel that paranoia.”
In January and February 2014, Kesha was treated for anorexia and bulimia.Her mother, songwriter Pebe Sebert, blamed Kesha’s music producer, Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, for her downward spiral into eating disorders.
Sebert said Dr. Luke had repeatedly fat-shamed Kesha and even called her a fat “f**king refrigerator.”
Sebert also claimed Kesha’s former manager, David Sonenberg, browbeat her to do whatever it took to lose weight, including doing drugs, vomiting, and starving herself.
Kesha is now a much stronger, healthier person, thanks to therapy and treatment.
The singer said she’s still a work in progress, but hopes to inspire others with eating disorders to get help and realize they, too, can overcome their issues.
“During that time [in rehab] I began to feel a shift in my mentality and really started to understand my own self-worth,” she said. “I started to not worry as much about what other people thought of me. I’m not fully fixed —I am a person in progress—but I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
Kesha joins a growing list of musicians who have opened up about their eating-disorder struggles. Nicole Scherzinger revealed she had battled bulimia for 10 years. Lady Gaga has also been very candid about her decade-long struggle with anorexia and bulimia.
Similarly, Demi Lovato struggled with anorexia and bulimia for many years, and once starved herself down to 88 pounds. While she still struggles with dark thoughts, Lovato said she’s no longer anorexic or bulimic and is much happier these days.
Demi detailed her incredible recovery in her memoir, Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year.