It has been well documented that former child actress Demi Lovato has had several rough years during which she battled various personal demons including manic depression, self-harm, eating disorders and addictions.
She has documented her struggles in several of her songs, as well as reaching out to people finding themselves in similar predicaments. One incident from the fall of 2016, might have proved that the pop star is still vulnerable about her appearance.
Back in November 2010, Lovato entered rehab after a prolonged struggle with addiction, tendencies for self-harm and overeating. It was at the rehabilitation center that she was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. After completing the treatment, she published her third studio album – Unbroken – in 2011.
Lovato has received a considerable number of accolades: an MTV Video Music Award, thirteen Teen Choice Awards, five People’s Choice Awards, an ALMA Award, a Latin American Music Award and a Grammy Award nomination.
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In 2013, Maxim ranked her 26th on its Hot 100 list and Billboard ranked her second on its 50 Social Artists of the Year list.
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The 24-year-old is a staunch advocate for LGBT and women’s rights. In 2013, she was also recognized for her dedication as a mentor to teens and young adults with mental health challenges at the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Washington, D.C.
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Despite all the accolades, however, one recent online controversy once again raised concerns whether Demi has overcome her issues completely, or perhaps what seemed as a total overreaction was taken out of context.
Last summer, teenage visual artist Vladimir Serbanescu from Romania who often does celebrity fan art and shares it online while tagging the people in the drawings, drew the Albuquerque singer as mermaid laying down on her stomach. The drawing is reminiscent of Lovato’s promotional photo for her single Body Say.
Demi did not seem impressed with the representation although she admitted having found it flattering. “Is that how my boobs should look?” she wrote in October 2016, before adding, “It’s gorgeous but that’s not my body”.
Her ambiguous answer led to online controversy and many different interpretations of what the singer meant. Some accused her of reacting rudely to an act of kindness, while numerous others accused Serbanescu of a stereotypical representation of the female body.
The artist himself was disappointed with the star’s response and wrote, “If I make your waist slimmer and your boobs bigger to accentuate the fact that I drew you as a mermaid, a mythological creature, doesn’t mean I say that you should look like that or all girls should look like that. That’s how I imagine mermaids. I worked a lot on that drawing and I was proud of it, but not anymore.”
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There was further controversy as an Instagram user called @hisillusion tweaked the original image to a woman with a much larger midriff, captioning it with “Chill, I have fixed it for you.”
It did nothing to calm tensions, and although it was retweeted far more than the drawing that started it all, many users were displeased at the perceived nastiness.
“I don’t think it’s funny. She had an eating disorder and she’s being body shamed. That’s not funny at all. It’s hurtful,” a Twitter user named Sara wrote.
“Not funny She had an eating disorder,” someone going by the name Hakuna Akata commented. “It’s a journey for her to love her body. She has the right to want it portrayed through art honestly.”
Meanwhile, as that debate was raging, Demi Lovato herself went back to the original drawing to once try and clear things up.
“I said it’s gorgeous, sorry for saying anything at all. But it’s equally offensive that someone would change my body because mine isn’t good enough. Apparently,” she wrote, proving that perhaps she really ought not to have said anything in the first place.