The evolution of Demi Lovato: From Disney starlet to a seductive songstress who isn't afraid to experiment
Demi Lovato recently came out as bisexual, and after her steamy kiss with Kehlani, the former Disney starlet who played Mitchie Torres, is a long way from home
She's feisty, doesn't mince her words and has come far from the sweet Mitchie Torres avatar that we saw her portray in the Disney drama Camp Rock, starring alongside the Jonas Brothers. Judging from the recent episode of her straddling and kissing her opening act singer Kehlani, as she sang 'Lonely' for what was the last show for her 'Tell Me You Love Me' tour, one can definitely say this - Demi Lovato has now matured into a 25-year-old woman who isn't afraid to explore her wild side or take a stand when it comes to things she believes in. What's more - she's taking everyone along for the ride.
When you look at her now, it feels like her cutesy bangs and the toothy grin on Disney was really far away and it was - it's been ten years since and she's definitely moved on. For the longest time, Disney didn't even acknowledge the existence of anything remotely gay in its concepts and for Demi to come out in the open about it, is a definite sign.
After the success of Camp Rock, Disney got her onboard their show Sonny With a Chance, that was a teen drama surrounding Demi's character Sonny Munroe, who is handed an opportunity to become a cast member in her favorite live comedy television show, So Random!. Demi was convincing as Sonny, perhaps because she was quite like Sonny - a 16-year-old talented girl who had been handed the ticket to stardom and was trying to be the best she can be.
But, as they say about fame, it comes with its own darkness - the flashy lights instead of illuminating our minds often throws a large shadow over it. Sonny With a Chance was quite successful, so much so that the producers wanted it to reboot for a third season, after a good run of two.
In the meanwhile, Demi had also starred in Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam in 2010. The trouble started to show when Demi had to drop the show and get help after she punched a back up dancer. The show fizzled out soon after she left, as Disney decided to run a spin-off instead called So Random! but it clearly didn't work - it ran for one season and then got canceled.
She opened up about the problematic stages much later, where she confessed she was at the end of her wits - fame and its pressures had taken a toll on her. She was diagnosed with bulimia, an eating disorder.
She told Elle in a candid interview, "That was when I kind of surrendered and just said, 'I'm so tired of having this eating issue, it consumes my life.'" She was at war with "depression, suicidal thoughts, [and] self-harming impulses." She also came out about how she was cutting herself by the time she was 12 and slowly as her career peaked, she found herself being sucked into the trap of having the perfect body. It got so bad that she was "self-medicating with alcohol, cocaine, and OxyContin," and in that phase, she hurt anyone who loved her.
Her career kind of came to a standstill at this point but Demi finally got back on her feet after she found out what was going on with her - the same question that the world that followed her wanted to know. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "Getting the diagnosis kind of explained why I would act out. So when I was diagnosed, I went back and told my manager and my parents and my closest friends. I was like, 'Hey, so I'm bipolar …that's why….'" Quite unlike Disney starlets who go rogue after a bit of fame, like Lindsay Lohan, she actually got back up on her feet.
In what can only be described as a smashing comeback, Demi released her third studio album Unbroken in 2011. The sound was easy breezy tunes with some R&B vibes - you could tell that she's growing. Her vocals in the album, that was huge hit selling 97K copies in just the first week, was what really shaped Demi's songstress takeover after that. The hit track 'Skyscraper' struck a tune with every heart who had struggled to get over a problematic personal experience and exuded the strength and confidence of a survivor.
Then came a series of hits - 'Heart Attack' her 2013 release and 'Give Your Heart a Break', went on to peak Billboard charts. She was finally back on the field in the same position that she had exited it in. She also rose up as a voice of body positivity - her Instagram shot reflected how much she loved being in her own skin and how she had learned to embrace her flaws with the recurring makeup-free selfies and photos showing off a very healthy toned physique.
Speaking about the change, she had said, "Someone said to me recently, 'You wouldn’t put diesel in a Bentley,'" in Glamour's November 2016 issue, "When you treat your body like a Bentley, you value yourself and you start to look at your body differently. I work out every day or six days a week—that’s what I need to stay stable up here," pointing to her head.
At this time, she was still transitioning, but then came Confident and we knew that this wasn't the same girl we knew - she had battled her demons, overcome them and was ready for the conquer. She even got a spontaneous, nude photo shoot done before the release and the photos were jawdroppingly natural.
To her at this point, being Confident meant "letting go, being authentic, saying I don’t give a f*** and this is who I am. I want to show the side of me that’s real, that’s liberated, that’s free. What if we do a photo shoot where it’s totally raw? Super-sexy, but no makeup, no fancy lighting, no retouching, and no clothing. Let’s do it here, let’s do it now." And boy did she kill it.
The photo shoot was really inspiring but what really made a statement was the video for the same-titled track that she starred in alongside The Fast and the Furious star Michelle Rodriguez. The video portrays both women as badasses who aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty. Demi's almost seductive confidence oozes through and it's a far cry from Camp Rock's 'This is Me.'
In the same album, she also sang about her attraction to women in the track 'Cool for The Summer. She goes, "Got a taste for the cherry, I just need to take a bite." In her music and now her personal life, she looked like she was looking to take plunges into unknown waters - if that isn't dangerously sexy, what is?
Then came her latest album, Tell Me You Love Me, in September 2017, soon after her split with longtime lover Wilmer Valderrama who Demi had been with for six years. This was the same year she was included in Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people.
Now if you expect a whining Demi, you are in for a pleasant surprise. She is hurt sure - you can sense the pain in the title track, but it ends with the way that describes her best, "I know that we will be alright." In the same album 'Sorry Not Sorry' is worthy of a mention as a part of this unexpected transformation. It is unapologetic (duh) but it also lets you peek a glance into what's going on this woman's mind - "Bein' so bad got me feelin' so good".