The Canadian singer-songwriter and actress shares her insight on the social pressures of growing up in the public eye, the impact her older sister has had on her, and why it’s important to listen to youth voices.
As a young person, what issues in society do you feel are most important to address?
As a young person, there are undeniable pressures to be a certain way. Growing up is a delicate process that I believe society deeply harms. Growing into who you’re supposed to be is a natural and beautiful process and it saddens me to see so many feel lost in this because of the issues in society. I think it’s important that we continue to celebrate people for exactly who they are and not force them to fit into a societal mold.
What do you think are the most exciting attributes of your generation?
The most exciting attribute of our generation is the movement toward changing the status quo. Our generation has so much knowledge and information at its fingertips. With one search you can find so much information that older generations didn’t have access to. We’re informed on serious issues in the world and as much as it’s devastating to see, it’s needed in order for things to really change. Our generation is progressive, and I feel proud to be a part of a generation so motivated to take action for human rights and equality.
As a young woman in the spotlight, how do you overcome societal pressures and negative messages online?
Societal pressures and negative messages mostly come as the result of working in the public eye. Everyone has opinions and thoughts on what a young person growing up in the public eye should do and who they should be. I’ve always just felt bad for the people who were simply hateful toward people who are living and doing what they do. I can’t imagine how sad it would be to live with that much hate and negativity inside. Growing up in the public eye with my big sister Lennon is something I’m eternally grateful for. Doing it alone would have been much scarier for me. Lennon is always reminding me and teaching me about the world and helping me remember I’m exactly as I’m meant to be. I continue to remind myself that the negative messages online are so insignificant, and I don’t allow them to affect me anymore.
How has this past year impacted your mental well-being?
2020 was the most mind-altering year I’ve ever lived through. I feel very grateful to have been in a position where my family and I were healthy and safe. It doesn’t feel right complaining about anything knowing what others have been put through this past year. 2020 made me realize things about the world and myself that I was blind to before. It has made me appreciate life, my health, and everything that I overlooked. This past year has helped me live differently — with more love, compassion, and gratitude.
What advice would you give to other young people who are struggling with their self-worth and identity?
My big sister always tells me something that helps when I’m feeling this way. She reminds me how there is only one of me in all of time. It’s cheesy, I know, but nothing has ever been truer. There is only one of you and there will never be another. When I get in a place where I’m comparing myself to other people on social media and feeling lost in myself, I try to remember Lennon’s advice. I want to exist as myself, not as myself trying to become more like someone else. Allow yourself to exist as you are. Try to eliminate the pressure and comparison, and just grow.