JoJo Levesque is breaking the glass ceiling regarding the pressure young female pop stars face when it comes to body image. In a new interview with Pop Sugar, JoJo revealed that she was forced to lose weight in order to appease her record company in the early years of her career. At age 18, JoJo was forced to do radical things in order to lose weight fast.
“I was under a lot of pressure with a company I was at previously and they wanted me to lose weight fast,” JoJo explained. “So they got me with a nutritionist and had me, like, on all these supplements, and I was injecting myself … it makes your body only need certain calories, so I ate 500 calories a day. It was the unhealthiest thing I’ve ever done.”
Of dipping down to a dangerously low 500 calories per day, JoJo explained that she was afraid if she didn’t comply with the record label’s demands, her career would suffer.
“I felt like, ‘If I don’t do this, my album won’t come out.’ Which it didn’t! So it’s not like it even worked,” JoJo said.
JoJo also revealed that the extreme dieting that she was forced to undergo “is a common thing [female singers] do” in the record industry. JoJo also said the experience ended up “messing with [her] psychologically.”
“I felt terrible about myself and I was upset that I even subscribed to the standard they wanted me to be at,” JoJo said. “Being strong physically, mentally and emotionally is really what I love.”
Indeed, JoJo is not the only singer who’s been under ridiculous pressure from a record label, but she is one of the few that have come forward to talk about it. After JoJo’s shocking revelation, fellow pop princess Kesha hit Twitter to show her support. In a sweet tweet, Kesha told JoJo that she’s proud of her and added that a record label “can’t break you and they don’t own you.”
Kesha has had her own legal battles with her producer Dr, Luke. Kesha’s accusations against Luke, whom she signed with at age 18, are very serious, The singers has stated that famous record the producer drugged and raped her, and she previously said that he tried to control her weight while she was working on her second album, Warrior, in 2012, according to Billboard.
“He ridiculed my body and my weight to the point where I almost killed myself,” Kesha stated in a 2015 affidavit. “He encouraged me to not eat — even when I was eight days with no solid food and skipping meals to work out two times a day.”
In addition to JoJo and Kesha, Lady Gaga has reportedly been pressured to shed some pounds. Radar Online revealed that Gaga was once told by her record label that she needed to lose 25 pounds. Executives at Universal Music Group apparently didn’t like the unflattering photos that surfaced a few years ago while the “Born This way” singer was on a world tour, so they allegedly told the superstar to stop eating her favorite fattening foods, including pizza and pasta, and other high-calorie comfort foods.
Unlike JoJo, Gaga didn’t call out her record company, but she did acknowledge that she was under pressure to watch her weight. According to Page Six, Gaga pointed a finger at her dad’s Italian restaurant, Joanne Trattoria.
“I’m a New York Italian girl,” Gaga told radio host Elvis Duran. “My father opened a restaurant. It’s so amazing … it’s so freaking delicious, but I’m telling you I gain five pounds every time I go in there. So my dad wants me to eat at the restaurant, and I’m, like, I’ve got to go where I can drink green juice.”
Gaga also added that she doesn’t feel bad about gaining a few pounds.
“I really don’t feel bad about it, not even for a second,” she said. “I have to be on such a strict diet constantly. It’s hard because it’s a quite vigorous show, so I tend to bulk up, get muscular, and I really don’t like that. So I’m trying to find a new balance.”
Take a look at the video below for more on JoJo and her revelations about the pressure to look perfect in the music industry.
[Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for VITY]