Between high-profile ad campaigns and a new competition series, get ready for another Lizzo takeover. The singer/actress is featured on the Feb. 23 cover of Variety to discuss her next album, auditioning for The Little Mermaid and the Prime Video premiere of Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.
Premiering March 25, the reality competition follows Lizzo as she searches for new backup dancers for her upcoming world tour. The contestants include 10 talented plus-size women who must impress the “Good as Hell” singer and her fellow judges. She explained why the series is so important, as it creates opportunities for plus-size women to get the same showcase as others.
“It’s a trickle down. Agents represent girls they feel like have value. I think bigger bodies have been devalued in the industry,” she said. “We’re not getting agents because we’re not getting jobs. We’re not getting jobs because we don’t have agents…A lot of girls who dance with me got agents after they started working with me because they were generating a viable stream of income. I’m grateful for that, but it’s still ridiculous. These girls should be getting representation ASAP. Hopefully, this show helps that.”
The quick rise to fame wasn’t easy for the singer, who talked openly about how she struggled with the changes in her personal life.
“Fame happens to you, and it’s more of an observation of you. People become famous, and it’s like — my DNA didn’t change. Nothing changed about me,” Lizzo said. “My anxiety didn’t go away. My depression didn’t go away. The things that I love didn’t go away. I’m still myself. But the way y’all look at me and perceive me has changed. It’s a very weird, kind of formless thing.”
“I don’t want to seem ungrateful. It was sad, and I had to talk to my therapist about the loss of who I was,” she continued. “Most famous people have been famous just as long as they’ve been a person, so they have acclimated more to it. I was going into dive bars and getting shitfaced in 2018. And nobody knew who I was, and nobody was bothering me. By 2019, I noticed I couldn’t go to restaurants with my dancers and stuff.”
Perhaps one of the most interesting stories is how she met Melissa McCarthy, the actress cast as Ursula in the live-action The Little Mermaid, after having auditioned for the role herself.
“She was like, ‘Hi, I’m Melissa,’” Lizzo said. “And I was like, ‘Hi, I’m Melissa. And I also auditioned for Ursula.’ And she was like, ‘Well, why the hell did I get the part?,’ which is a classic Melissa McCarthy thing to say. And then I was like, ‘Girl, because my audition was terrible.’ And I say that as Tyler Perry walks by. And I was like — ruined my chances there. And then she goes, ‘This is my daughter, Vivian.’ And I’m like, ‘Get out of here, because my name is Melissa Viviane.’ We were looking at each other like, ‘What the hell is going on?’”
Lizzo did clarify that she was just joking and her audition actually went well saying, “My audition wasn’t terrible. Sometimes I like to make jokes. My audition was good. You can ask Disney. I don’t want to talk too much about it. The singing was great. I’ll just say that.”
And as for her new album, Lizzo is especially proud of how far she pushes herself and evolves as a musician.
“Broadly, I’ve been working on this album since the summer of 2018. It has evolved to a place where I’m proud. It’s one of the most musically badass, daring and sophisticated bodies of work I’ve done to date,” Lizzo said. “I am not done. I’m still pushing out the hits, baby. And I hope that it is some of the most useful pieces of music to ever exist. All I want to do is help people through my music.”
Watch Out for the Big Grrrls premieres March 25 on Prime Video.