madison beer's notes on being a woman

Frankie Dunn

From fighting to be the boss of her own career to dressing to express not impress, 18-year-old popstar Madison Beer shares everything she’s learnt so far about what it means to be a woman.

Am I doing this woman thing right? Do you do this woman thing the same as me? Does it matter? Existential lady crisis -- we all have it. Notes on Being a Woman is an ongoing series that examines the many myths and meanings of what being a woman is all about.

“Wow. 13 years old! She can sing. Future star.” And that was it. A single tweet from Justin Bieber back in 2012 catapulted a young Madison Beer into the spotlight, and sent a YouTube video of the Long Island teen singing her heart out to At Last by Etta James totally viral. Seeing the potential in her burgeoning talent, Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun soon added her to his roster of mini popstars and her fate was sealed. Since then, the now 18-year-old has signed to Island Records, racked up an inconceivable 10 million dedicated Instagram followers, walked in D&G’s autumn/winter 17 who’s who of millennial idols, moved to LA, and released six singles including the life-giving Dead (complete with video starring her friend Presley Gerber) and the empowering new Say It to My Face.

Making tabloid headlines every time she hangs out with a male friend like Brooklyn Beckham, Madison is used to both the highs and lows of life in the limelight, recently taking to twitter to ask, “how bored does one have to be to continuously say mean things towards another person on social media? Genuinely asking. How bored?” Using her platform to spread positive messages, this summer she spoke out about an abusive relationship with her ex, urging fans to speak up and not stand for such behaviour. “KNOW YOURSELF. KNOW YOUR WORTH,” she reminded followers with a Drake quote just last week.

Taken from her long-awaited debut EP, her addictive new single Say It to My Face was made with Grammy-nominated Fred Bell, the producer behind music by Madison’s pop predecessors Riri and Little Mix. Taking hold of her fictional situation, the video for it is filled with topless men that she and a friend cast themselves. She's got them all tied up -- literally -- and is very much in control. Reflecting on her life experiences so far, we’ll hand things over to Madison now, who will, um, say it to your face...

The best part of being a woman is being able to express myself in different ways based on how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling flirty, I’ll put on a dress, and if I’m feeling like a boss, I’ll put on a pant suit. I think as women we are in touch with our emotions and feelings, and it shows through our appearance.

Loves feels unconditional. It smells like China Rain, which is a scent my mother wears, and she loves me unconditionally. She is the woman who I most admire.

The hardest thing about being a woman is being judged before you are given a chance to speak. I didn’t realise how much we are still not considered equals in society.

When I was 16 I had totally the wrong idea about the music industry. I’ve since learnt that you don’t have to follow in anyone else’s footsteps and you really can create your own lane.

The book that taught me the most about being a woman is Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur.

I’m the happiest when I’m creating or performing music. My favourite song about being a woman is Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce.

The best thing about getting older is becoming more independent and in control of my artistry. But the biggest lie people tell you about getting older is that people will take you more seriously. I think being able to make executive decisions when it comes to my career makes me feel like I’m an adult… or at least becoming one! It’s important to me, especially in the entertainment business, that my vision of who I am, and my career, is in my control.

Model and activist Ebonee Davis asks: What lesson have you learnt that has changed your life or changed the way you see yourself? I have learnt to realise and understand that not everyone’s heart is the same as yours, and that is okay. Protect your heart!

My question for the next woman in this column is: Were you ever overlooked for something based on your age and gender?