“I think I’ve definitely had my rock bottom and I think that was probably right before I went into treatment where I said, ‘I definitely need help.'”
Demi Lovato

As you know, our Side B feature focuses on the “other” side of artists. We look for something that an artist does that represents the special side of that person away from the music. In trying to recognize the better side of people it is typically the artist’s outward gesture of kindness or goodness towards others that garners Side B recognition but that’s not always the case. Thus, an artist’s actions towards themself can also qualify because by leading by example and fixing oneself this can encourage others–who are equally afflicted–to do the same.

Today’s Side B award goes to pop star Demi Lovato. Lovato’s troubles away from the stage are well documented. Despite her early success as a Disney star (Camp Rock and Sonny With A Chance)

Demi in character as Sonny With A Chance
Demi in character as Sonny With A Chance

and singer and performer, Demi began to show outward signs of trouble which included depression, an eating disorder, and self inflicted harm. A bipolar diagnosis followed. Demi entered rehab in 2010 and in this same year, because of “physical and emotional issues,” she had to withdraw from the Jonas Brothers Live In Concert tour.

However, much to her credit Demi never quit and she kept fighting her demons. Today, Lovato is using her celebrity power to do such good things as speak out on mental health reform. However, what really caught our eye was a new photo shoot that Lovato just did with photographer Patrick Ecclesine. The shoot had three rules; no makeup, no clothes, and, no retouching. So, as part of a new video interview which talks about the shoot (released about Demi for Vanity Fair) the young star talked about deciding to turn inward to make amends where it counts the most; at “home.” The project is intriguing considering Demi’s history because she appears nude in the pictures and completely “naked” in the sense that what you see is actually what you get. No manipulation and no modification. A daunting task indeed for someone with personal issues and Lovato had this to say about the photo shoot:

“I thought there was something incredible about the idea of no makeup whatsoever, no clothes and no retouching. I would have never thought that I would have ever got to a place in my life where I would feel comfortable doing that. It’s empowering me and it shows other women that you can get to a place where you can overcome the obstacles of body image issues and you can feel comfortable and confident in your skin.”

She later added:

“I basically went from hating every single inch of my body to working on myself and trying to figure out ways to love myself and love the skin that I’m in. I learned after working very hard on my spirituality and my soul and my body, I learned that you can get to a place where you love the skin that you’re in and I’m excited to share that with the world.”

Check out this video which delves further into Lovato’s nude and no-makeup photo shoot.

We applaud Demi and she is our recipient of today’s Side B award. If you put yourself in Demi’s shoes her effort takes guts and an admission of imperfection and for all of us in those private moments, we know that looking in the proverbial mirror can be as difficult and painful a task as there is. Demi’s photo shoot is a sobering personal effort to better oneself by being brutally honest and by tackling reality and embracing whatever it offers in return. Good for Demi but also good for the many young people who follow her and who will hopefully learn that being judgmental and condemning–even if it against yourself and not against a third person–are two of the worst qualities a human being can have. They are actions that do not require weapons or physical force to cause great harm.

Demi, you may be nude and without makeup in this shoot but we don’t think you have ever looked more beautiful; inside and out.

Editor’s Note: Lovato’s fifth album, Confident, is slated for release on October 16, 2015.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

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