Sam Smith has decided to “reclaim” his body after a lifelong struggle with self-image.
The four-time Grammy winner shared a shirtless beach photo of himself Tuesday, telling fans he had “decided to fight the fuck back” against his insecurities by posting the image ― snapped by photographer Ryan Pfluger ― on Instagram.
“In the past if I have ever done a photoshoot with so much as a T-shirt on, I have starved myself for weeks in advance and then picked and prodded at every picture and then normally taken the picture down,” he wrote, vowing to “stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally.”
To those who might dismiss a bare-chested photo as being “narcissistic and showing off,” Smith added, “If you knew how much courage it took to do this and the body trauma I have experienced as a kid you wouldn’t think those things.”
“I’ll always be at war with this bloody mirror,” he continued, “but this shoot and this day was a step in the right fucking direction.”
While the photo was a departure for the singer-songwriter ― who is frequently photographed in suits, as well as the occasional caftan or romper ― it isn’t the first time he’s spoken about his battle with body image.
In 2015, he told “60 Minutes Australia” that he’s more offended when people make comments about his weight than when he hears slurs about his sexuality.
“I think just because I’ve accepted that, if someone calls me a faggot, it’s like, I am gay, and I’m proud to be gay, so there’s no issues there,” he said at the time. “If someone calls you fat, it’s like, that’s something I want to change.”
While Smith made headlines for losing a reported 50 pounds after his 2014 debut album, “In the Lonely Hour,” rocketed him to stardom, he said he remained “a bit obsessive” about his weight.
“When I was shooting my first music videos, I just wasn’t happy with the way I looked, so I was trying to control the way the camera moved,” he told V Magazine in an interview conducted by Sarah Jessica Parker. “I was constantly looking in the mirror, pinching my waist, weighing myself every day.”
To combat his insecurities, he added, “I need to constantly train myself to watch the right sort of films, to not look at certain ads and think that’s how my stomach should look. It’s something that I’m fighting every day.”