Rina Sawayama Talks Pressure for Pop Stars to Be 'Consistently Hot' Even When Dealing with IBS

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Rina Sawayama Talks Pressure for Pop Stars to Be 'Consistently Hot' Even When Dealing with IBS
Rina Sawayama Talks Pressure for Pop Stars to Be 'Consistently Hot' Even When Dealing with IBS

James Bee Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama is getting real about the pressures pop stars face.

In a new interview for Them's September cover story, Sawayama spoke about what it's like to live as a pop musician in the social media age, where seemingly everything an artist does can be photographed, filmed or quoted for social media — no matter what they're dealing with behind the scenes.

"The pressure with the pop girls is that even if you're not having such a good day, even if you're really jet-lagged or your IBS is going crazy or whatever, you have to look really hot. Consistently hot," the 32-year-old Japanese-British musician told the outlet. "And also everything you say is going to get printed and put on Twitter."

However, Sawayama also acknowledged how social media has allowed performers to connect more directly with their fans, which takes away some of the "fantasy" element of constantly appearing picture-perfect.

Rina Sawayama Talks Pressure for Pop Stars to Be 'Consistently Hot' Even When Dealing with IBS
Rina Sawayama Talks Pressure for Pop Stars to Be 'Consistently Hot' Even When Dealing with IBS

James Bee Rina Sawayama

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"I think people are really comfortable and cognizant of the fact that every pop star runs their own business," she said before looking back on how the pop music machine operated in the years before her official 2017 debut.

"Even though I know Britney [Spears] was very much involved in her songwriting and stuff, it was all quite smoke and mirrors back then," continued Sawayama. "I think what people value now is the idea that [the fans] are part of the music process. And definitely seeing artists like Charli [XCX], for example, who just do whatever the hell they want and are so good at it. I think that's a much more accepted narrative."

The "XS" singer-songwriter has long shared elements of her life with the public. In 2020, her debut full-length album Sawayama was rejected from consideration for the BRITs and Mercury Prize because she holds a permanent residency visa rather than complete British citizenship.

Rina Sawayama Talks Pressure for Pop Stars to Be 'Consistently Hot' Even When Dealing with IBS
Rina Sawayama Talks Pressure for Pop Stars to Be 'Consistently Hot' Even When Dealing with IBS

James Bee Rina Sawayama

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After speaking out about the situation, fans and fellow musicians like Elton John helped amplify the issue, and both organizations later altered their guidelines.

Despite opening up about the experience and, in turn, enacting real change in the music industry, Sawayama told Them she sets strong boundaries around her personal life.

"I'm not pursuing fame," she declared. "I don't want to do anything that is going to invite any unnecessary attention. I want to promote my music, do my interviews, see my fans, but I don't want to expose anything else, if that makes sense."

Sawayama's second album Hold the Girl is out Sept. 16.