"Body Positivity" is a word that gets tossed around a lot and it's crazy that we all have these weird issues with our bodies. It can be easy to just stare at yourself and judge every small thing, it's something I'm guilty of and it's something I know my friends struggle with. That's why I was so excited to hear Sky Renee's new song "Mirror," the song is about her struggle with body dysmorphia and how she finally got over it through music.
So let's start with how you got started in music.
Sky: I've been writing songs since I was a little kid. I would write a lot of poetry to deal with a lot of emotional stress. Then when I went to college, I decided to be pre-med because I'm really passionate about social justice and wanted to be involved with health research. I was really overwhelmed with the academic world and my best friend at the time was a music student, and she had access to these practice rooms, and I would just stay up every night and write songs. Then my friend told me to take a songwriting class, so I did and just dove into songwriting. The more I did it, the more I just realized that it could help me and it could also provide a vehicle to help others. I wrote this song my junior year actually and it kind of provided this turning point for me where I was like, "I can use music as a vehicle to create social change and to express myself, but also hopefully to help others."
I love that. And were you kind of nervous to pursue more music?
Sky: I think that it just felt so natural, and I don't think I'm turning my back on anything. I still participate in health research because I am passionate about it too. It's just providing a balance in life. I think it's really easy for people to say that you can't do it all. But I don't know. I think there's a way to incorporate creativity and science and health.
Tell me about your song “Mirror” what ’s the story behind it and why you think it's an important message.
Sky: When I was in high school, I grew up in Malibu. I felt really just like I didn't fit in. And I associated that with my external appearance. I was never quite the thinnest person. And it felt like everyone around me was. And I had a lot of friends develop eating disorders. And a lot of those habits really matriculated onto me. When I went to college, I was really insecure and worried about making friends because I didn't fit in in high school. So I started just being kind of obsessed about losing weight and developed a really unhealthy relationship with my body and with myself. I would look in the mirror and just judge myself constantly. I was just obsessed with always looking at myself and being judgmental towards my image. I thought I was way fatter than I was. It was body dysmorphia to no end.
When I started finding music, it provided me this internal voice that gave me more confidence in who I was as a person rather than what I look like and I started making friends that just gave me a lot of love and started seeing myself as more beautiful for who I was. When I write songs, it’s like this higher-self talking to me, being like, "You're going to be okay. Be strong." And that's what it was. From that moment on, I kind of started looking at myself differently. Now I look at myself and really love what I see which is really cool. And I kind of rely on that relationship with myself to go about my day-to-day life.
And what would be kind of your best piece of advice for someone who is struggling with their appearance and kind of self-love? What's your best piece of advice for them?
Sky: To talk to someone who loves you and to see yourself the way that they see you. Yeah. My best friend, she knows I struggle with it. And she would just say to me, she's like, "I think you're beautiful. When you look in the mirror and you feel shitty about yourself, see the way that I see you."
I always like that quote that's like, "Would you talk to your friends the way you talk to yourself?"
Sky: It's so true. It's so easy to be so self-deprecating. And me as a person, I'm always wanting to give love to others. And I find that, for a long time, it was hard for me to give love to myself. But once you give love to yourself, I mean, the world is just such a better place it kind of blows my mind.
And do you think this is our society in general just makes us focus on our appearance so much?
Sky: Yeah. I think the main aspect of it and that I touch on in a song even is just the idea of Instagram and constantly having media showcasing this "perfect" body type. I was in Malibu and everyone had a great body. But I was also seeing it on Instagram, everyone posting bikini photos. And just having that as an ideal when you're growing up and constantly seeing it, and not seeing what's behind the scenes, I think is really unhealthy. And I love the body positivity movement on Instagram even, that people are trying to show more honesty.
And everything's photoshopped.
Sky: Totally it. But you don't know these things and especially when you're younger. You're like, "I don't understand." Or you start losing weight and you start seeing that you look like those people. I think that was the unhealthy part, is I started losing weight and I was like, "Oh, I look like these people. If I'm just skinnier, then I'll be like them and I'll be happy." And I think that's the flawed thought process. It's so easy to be even more critical once you just get into that cycle.
It really affects your life when you're so obsessive about food, and exercise, and you miss out on a lot.
Sky: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. It's just I look back to where I was three years ago and it just blows my mind how inhibited I was just based on that thought process. Because it keeps you away from doing things.
And after this song, what kind of has been inspiring you?
Sky: I've been really inspired by artists that are really honest and authentic with their message, and just do everything themselves and show their vulnerability. That's kind of what I'm trying to do in the future, is just showcase a version of myself that is completely honest and just growing with an audience or with whatever listener. I really want to just show myself as a person.