Shania Twain has always used her platform to empower women—and her latest album, Queen of Me, may be the most impactful yet. As an artist in what she called a “renaissance period” at 57, she has the unique opportunity to speak out about—and hopefully, demystify—some taboo topics about aging as a woman, like menopause. In a new interview with People, the singer talked about loving and accepting her body through the change.
As part of her acceptance journey, Twain chose to pose nude for Queen of Me artwork, and she also posed topless to release “Waking Up Dreaming,” a single from the album. The experience was cathartic for Twain, who felt exploited for her body as a young girl and developed insecurity as a result.
“I am a woman in my late 50s, and I don’t need to hide behind the clothes. I can’t even tell you how good it felt to do nude shooting,” she told People. “I was just so unashamed of my new body, you know, as a woman that is well into my menopause. I’m not even emotional about it; I just feel okay about it. It’s really liberating.”
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Initially, Twain found herself comparing her current body to past versions of it—ones that (at the time, controversially) bared her midriff and went braless in music videos. “As I grew older, I started feeling a different pressure of, ‘Well, your breasts are not as plump as they used to be. Your skin is not as tight as it used to be. Maybe you should start covering it up a little bit more,’” she said.
Those doubts emboldened her to go in the opposite direction. “I hit this wall and was like, ‘Whoa, my confidence is regressing. My courage is dulling. Why am I allowing this?’” she said. “Frig that. I am not regressing. I am embracing my body as it changes, as I should have from my childhood to my teens, as I should be from my taut, 20s and 30-year-old self, to my menopausal body. I’m not going to be shy about it. I want to be courageous about it, and I want to share that courage in the artwork that I am directing.”
The hope is that her courage will encourage fans to find their own. “I want other women that are aging or any women … even if you’re 12 and you’re developing, you shouldn’t feel like you need to hide behind your fear or your self-conscious shield,” she said. “But you have to do it within your own sense of what is right and good and safe for you.”
Queen of Me—which is rich with self-love anthems for your inspiration—releases February 3.