“There’s a lot of duality in me… But it’s within this duality that I find peace.” – A conversation with Dua Lipa

The novelist Dominique Fernandez once said, “Each new book is written to correct the flaws of its predecessor.” Do you agree?

Seriously, yeah. All the time, I end up really loving something when I’m working on it, then some time later, I’m there like: “Ok, it’s cool, but it can be improved.” It’s relentless. Like a never-ending hamster wheel, constantly in competition with myself.

The butterfly is one of your motifs. When you were little, did you like catching them?

Never. I was just fascinated by their beauty, their freedom. And then, I thought about the butterfly’s experience. Such a brief life, that metamorphosis. We, as humans too, go through so many metamorphoses.

Especially in our youth. Is it more difficult to be a teenager today?

Adolescence and puberty will always be difficult. So many changes at once, hormones going haywire… But yes, it is without a doubt more difficult because of social media’s obsession with a perfect image… and the anxiety that causes. When I think of my teenage years, I didn’t care about my looks or my makeup. With the first covers I posted on YouTube, I wasn’t thinking about my image.

Is it true that when you first started out in modeling, a guy told you that you needed to lose weight, and instead of keeping your head down, you left?

Yes! I felt great the way I was; I had no reason to want to change.

You never doubted yourself?

Of course, I had insecurities. Times when I questioned my appearance. I know how destabilizing it can be to feel not good enough.

Dua Lipa wears a printed leather coat, Bottega Veneta. Photographer: Mert Alas – Stylist: Vanessa Reid

Photographe : Mert Alas – Réalisation : Vanessa Reid

Dua Lipa wears a wool felt coat with a cashmere and poplin collar, a cotton gabardine jacket with cashmere and poplin collar, Prada brushed leather shoes and Calzedonia stockings. Photographer: Mert Alas – Stylist: Vanessa Reid

Photographe : Mert Alas – Réalisation : Vanessa Reid

When you started out in modeling, you were also working in restaurants and nightclubs. You were 16 years old. That must have been hard?

Not really. I really lived everything as a crazy experience. I made great friends. Plus, I danced, and I really love dancing.

Were your parents not worried? Because the nightlife scene can expose you to a lot of toxic masculinity, or worse. It can be perilous.

Oh, yes! But in hindsight, I was rather strong. I was the mum of my group of friends. When we went out, I looked out for the other girls. If there was any weird behaviour, I’d step in. And when a guy would tell me, “Give us a smile, love…” I’d respond, “Don’t talk to me. You don’t get to tell me when to smile.”

Since #MeToo, do you think things have changed?

#MeToo or not, it’s still scary to be a woman and walk down an empty street alone at night on your way home. I have so many memories of times when you get your keys ready in your hand, or you grab your bag, or you pretend to be on the phone… I don’t know if that will ever change.

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