“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.
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.