Billie Eilish opened up during a tender speech at an event celebrating women in Hollywood about what it means to her to be a woman in this day and age.
Eilish was honored on Thursday evening at Variety’s 2023 Power of Women event in Los Angeles — which was presented by Lifetime — as a “changemaker” for her work with her mother Maggie Baird’s foundation, Support And Feed, which works to address climate change and food insecurity.
“Barbie” star Ariana Greenblatt introduced Eilish, explaining that she’d admired the musician from afar until meeting at the “Barbie” premiere. They immediately bonded, she said, over being young women in the film and music business.
“Growing up in this industry at such a young age, I’m constantly trying to fit in with my adult peers, and I still can’t really relate to anyone my age,” she said, tearing up. “Billie is the one person I see myself in and relate to in many ways.”
Greenblatt celebrated Eilish’s “authenticity and fearlessness” in her self-expression and art and lauded the example Eilish sets for others.
“She makes vulnerability is something to embrace,” she concluded. So you inspire me every single day, Billie. I really love you.”
As Eilish took the stage, she hugged Greenblatt and wiped tears away from her own eyes.
“Oh man, I was crying up in here girl,” she said into the mic, explaining she’s feeling very emotional as a result of a steroid, prednisone, she is taking because she’s been sick. Later in the evening, Eilish would say she spent “most of the week in bed” due to her illness.
Eilish, 21, started her speech, which can be seen here, by addressing some of Greenblatt’s comments about growing up in the show business industry.
Eilish first came onto the scene in 2015 with her debut single “Ocean Eyes,” written and produced with her brother, Finneas.
“I was still young. And I’m still young, but coming up and like being 15,” she said, trailing off as she got emotional again.
“I don’t be crying! Like, I’m not a crying person!” she exclaimed as the audience cheered her on. “I’m like, I’m zooted right now.”
The audience cheered again to encourage her to continue.
“It’s really hard to be a woman out here, guys,” she said, composing herself. “…I have never felt truly like a woman and I’ve spent a lot of way of life not feeling like I fit in to being a woman but I think for a couple years because of that insecurity.”
She added that she became very “pick me” about gender roles when she was younger, often saying things like “Oh, I’m not like other girls” — something she regrets now.
“I’ve grown to be very resentful of that period of time because I’m so much more interested in being like other girls because other girls are f—ing tight,” she said. “I love women!”
Eilish admitted that she still has some things she struggles with.
“This sounds kind of f—ed up, but I have a lot of a lot of internalized misogyny inside of me, and I find it coming out in places I don’t want it to,” she said. “And I have to say, with like full transparency, I feel very grateful to be a woman right now.”
In addition to Eilish, Fantasia Barrino, Lily Gladstone, and Carey Mulligan were also celebrated at the event. LuckyChap Entertainment was honored as producer of the year following its work on the “Barbie” film. Co-founder Margot Robbie accepted the award with fellow co-founders Josey McNamara, Tom Ackerley.
Ackerley, who is also Robbie’s husband, said Robbie had lost her voice “days ago.” Ackerley and McNamara said they had to present without Robbie’s help — while reading a speech Robbie allegedly wrote, a bit that was well received by the audience.
For the event’s 15th year, Wells Fargot also partnered with the outlet to introduce a new Power of Women Alumni Award, which was given to actor Emily Blunt for her work with American Institute for Stuttering.