Billie Eilish: “I feel the most powerful when I feel masculine”

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Billie Eilish says she feels “most powerful” when she feels “masculine”.

The star was discussing her experience growing up in the limelight in an interview for BBC 100 Women in Conversation.

Last year, the 20-year-old appeared on the cover of BritishVogue wearing a satin corset – something that caused a stir among the public, due to the fact she usually appeared wearing baggy clothes.

The singer had previously been criticised for defying gender stereotypes, but she also got backlash for appearing to conform.

“I love these photos and I loved this shoot. Do whatever you want whenever you want,” Eilish wrote at the time on Instagram in response to the criticism.

In an interview being aired on BBC THREE on Tuesday night (6 Decemeber), the star explains how she feels comfortable expressing “a balance of both” sides of herself, despite feeling most “powerful” when masculine.

"I feel the most powerful when I feel masculine," she said, adding: “I also can find power in femininity, it’s kind of a balance of both”.

This prompted the interviewer to question what she meant by “masculine”.

“I don’t know - depending on how I walk and stand and my clothes and my face - and my jewellery and my fingers, just everything that I am day to day,” she explained.

“I like to feel more masculine than feminine, it just makes me feel better,” she affirmed.

Eilish said that this was something she had found hard to understand when she was younger.

“I struggled with [preferring to feel masculine] for a long time because I wanted to feel feminine and like it, I just didn’t really,” she said.

“But then it’s finding moments where you can have that and it still feels good. Like right now I’m wearing a tighter shirt and I’m wearing a more low cut shirt.”

She added: “The older me would have been like ‘Eurgh! ‘Please don’t!’, but I like it now and it’s just the balance of the two,” she added.

The singer also discussed growing up in the public eye – and called the experience “bruising”: “I just had such severe imposter syndrome.”

However, the turning point was when Eilish felt that she had began to earn the trust of the public.

“As soon as people started to trust me, being female and all, and especially being a very young female and especially in this industry it’s very hard to make people believe in you.”

She added: “It was a very satisfying moment when I realised that people actually wanted to hear what I had to say, or believed in what I had to say - and when I finally had control it was a really good moment.”

BBC 100 Women in Conversation: Billie Eilish will be availble to watch on BBC iPlayer from 5 December at 10pm and will air on BBC THREE on Tuesday 6 December at 9.35pm.