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Photography by Mikael Jansson for Vogue
Iggy Azalea established a large and loyal following on social media mostly because of her willingness to share the details of her “Fancy” life. But when the conversation recently shifted from with her to about her, more specifically her body, the Australian rapper abandoned all platforms for a digital detox, hoping to escape the negativity.
At 5 feet ten inches tall, with a small waist and Kim Kardashian-like butt, Azalea’s no stranger to others critiquing her physique. “When I first got to the States, people told me I should think about modeling,” the 24-year-old told Vogue in the magazine’s April issue. She was asked to lose weight, get a nose job, and alter her appearance in other ways eight years ago. “I was looking in the mirror a little differently,” she admitted, speaking to the obviously adverse impact on her self-esteem.
Since then, to the public at least, it seems she’s matured and emerged as a body-positive role model. But when asked “What would you change about your body?” Azalea divulged that she’s already made some alterations. “I did change something: Four months ago, I got bigger boobs! I’d thought about it my entire life,” the “Booty” singer said. At first, Azalea didn’t want to come out publicly about her enhancement, fearing it would send a harmful message to young girls, a majority of her fans. “But then,” she said, “I decided I wasn’t into secret-keeping.”
Azalea in 2012 (Left) and December 2014 (Right). Photos: Getty Images
Azalea is right to take into consideration the young girls that look up to her. “Young girls who worship celebrities are the ones most likely to be influenced by things like the fact that they’ve had plastic surgery,” Dr. Diana Zuckerman, President of the National Center for Health Research, tells Yahoo Style. “Celebrity worship is associated with an increase in girls wanting to have plastic surgery even if the celebrity hasn’t talked about having it.” Young girls, in particular 12- to 13-year-olds, are the most vulnerable and self-conscious about their bodies. And while body confidence does tend to improve over time, the fact that famous people are held as standards to strive for, still negatively impresses upon the highly impressionable generation.
Media imagery, beyond just one pop star, has a massive influence on how adolescents view themselves, with a majority of women noting dissatisfaction with their looks. Studies show that young people conceive of their ideal body mostly through media messages, and considering they’re barraged by them—an estimated 5,260 “attractiveness messages” are seen by each individual during one year through TV commercials alone—it’s undeniable how much influence celebrities truly have. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 219,564 cosmetic procedures were performed on 13- to 19-year olds in 2013, with more than 8,234 of those being breast augmentations on 18- to 19-year-olds.
Low self-esteem among young girls could almost be considered an epidemic. A survey of more than 1,000 girls in the U.S. ages 8 to 17 conducted by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund found that 7 in 10 girls believed that they “measured up” in regards to issues like beauty and body image. And only 10 percent found themselves to be “pretty enough.”
Of course, these harrowing facts don’t mean that Azalea should’ve kept her plastic surgery close to her chest. As Zuckerman notes, it’s anyone’s prerogative to tell their own truth. She does, however, wish that Azalea had included a caveat to her fans, telling them that cosmetic enhancements aren’t for everyone and to consult with professionals before considering. But Azalea’s young woman herself, and when asked what the biggest misconception people hold about her is, she said, “I think people think that I think that I’m the s--t, but I’m actually super critical of myself.”