Billie Eilish’s signature green hair color is less a style choice than a benchmark of her mental health.
“OK, I have a fun story to tell you, but first…stop making fun of me, oh my god! I’m f*cking making you an album. I will not put it out if you keep making fun of my hair. Shut up!” the 19-year-old said in her Instagram Stories on Monday night.
The “Bad Guy” singer explained that she planned to retire her classic green roots, which she initially colored in July 2019, with the release of her Apple TV+ documentary Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry on February 26. The documentary captures her celebrity trajectory, peppered with real-life teenage moments like earning her driver's license and admitting that she sleeps in her parents’s bed because she’s “scared of monsters.”
“It’ll be the end of the era, I’ll give you a new era,” Eilish said on Instagram. “I have announcements to make, I’ve got some sh*t to put out…leave me alone, let me live with my f*cking hair that I’ve had for way too long.”
The five-time Grammy winner also replied to a fan who called her “grass head” and suggested she was due for a new look: “It’s called not being depressed anymore pls just be happy for me.” She wrote in another comment, “This is the longest I’ve had the same hair color since I was 13 & that’s on mental stability and growth, leave me alone.”
Eilish has been pushed to defend her aesthetic on other occasions — in September, she captioned an Instagram post, “If only i dressed normal i’d be so much hotter yeah yeah come up with a better comment im tired of that one.” And in November, she addressed a viral photo of herself running errands in a tank top and a pair of shorts that generated negative comments about her body.
“There’s this picture of me running from my car to my brother’s front door on like a 110 degree day in a tank top. And people were like, ‘Damn, Billie got fat!'” she told Vanity Fair that month. “And I’m like, ‘Nope, this is how I look, you’ve just never seen it before!’”
Earlier this year, Eilish, who characteristically wears baggy clothing, released a nearly four-minute short film titled “Not My Responsibility” during which she stripped down to a fitted tank top before disappearing in a pool of inky water. “If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman,” she says in the doc. “If I shed the layers, I’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why? We make assumptions about people based on their size. We decide who they are, we decide what they’re worth. If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me? What that means? Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?”
Eilish, like many young adults, has wrestled with her body image from adolescence. Last year she told Rolling Stone that taking dance lessons at age 13, particularly being surrounded by “really pretty girls” and having to wear “really tiny clothes” contributed to her body dysmorphia, a mental health disorder that causes fixation on observed physical flaws. “I was so not OK with who I was,” she told the magazine.
However, an injury forced her to quit dancing as her career simultaneously grew; Eilish debuted her hit single “Ocean Eyes” at the age of 14. “I think that’s when the depression started,” she said. “It sent me down a hole. I went through a whole self-harming phase — we don’t have to go into it. But the gist of it was, I felt like I deserved to be in pain.” She reflected on how success came at a time when she felt “miserable” and “distraught.”
Today, Eilish relies on her fortitude. “When people ask me what I’d say to somebody looking for advice on mental health, the only thing I can say is patience,” she told Vogue in February. “I had patience with myself. I didn’t take that last step. I waited. Things fade.”
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