Demi Lovato broke her silence in her first interview since she was hospitalized for an apparent drug overdose in July 2018.
At the Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles on Saturday (Nov. 2), Lovato told the crowd that she has learned from her experiences over the past year and has “never been more in tune with who I am than where I’m at today.”
She started by acknowledging she was “a little nervous” for her “first public thing back,” and explained that “I’ve changed a lot. I’ve gone through a lot.” The singer would go on to speak about her new music, the process of loving her body and her new outlook on life and fame.
One thing she’s learning about is how to handle the online critics. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that I’m actually an extremely sensitive person,” Lovato said. “I am human, so be easy on me. And I’m so tired of pretending like I’m not human. That’s one thing that I won’t do anymore. When you say stuff, it affects me. I’m human. I try not to look, but I see it.”
When asked what she sees when she looks in the mirror now, Lovato said, “I see someone that’s overcome a lot.”
She continued, “I genuinely see a fighter. I don’t see a championship winner in there, but I see a fighter and I see someone that’s going to continue to fight no matter [what] challenges are thrown their way.”
“Genuinely I just want people to remember that I’m a singer,” added the “Sorry Not Sorry” star. “I think that a lot of the things I’ve been through kind of outshined my successes in the music industry or acting now. I just want people to remember that that’s what I want to give to the world so please focus on that and not the other things.”
She thinks “everyone’s so quick to cancel everybody and I’m really really tired of it, to be honest. People just make mistakes.”
The 27-year-old explained that she is making her comeback and has plans to release music and acting projects.
“I have new music coming,” she told the screaming crowd, before teasing, “I didn’t say when.” She said, “It’s important to remember that I am so cautious this time around of jumping back into things. I’ve really decided to take my time with things, so when the time is right to release new music, I will put it out there. … I am dying to release new music.”
She’ll also appear in David Dobkin’s comedy Eurovision in 2020 and on a forthcoming episode of Will & Grace.
Lovato later reflected on the start of her career and the pressures that come with fame.
“Of course when you’re seven or eight years old, and you say, ‘Do you want be an actress or a singer?’ You’re like, ‘Yeah put me on stage.’ And you aren’t even old enough to understand the consequences that come with fame. And yes fame is a privilege. It gets you a lot of things that you don’t normally get but there are downsides to it,” Lovato said. “It’s important to remember those downsides when you’re making that choice for the rest of your life, because once you’re famous you can’t not be famous anymore. … I wish I would have known that as a child.”
But Lovato said she doesn’t have regrets about her career path: “I wouldn’t change the direction of my life for anything. … I would never regret anything. I love the person that I am today.”
Another lesson she’s learned in the past year is about body acceptance, which she clarified is different than body positivity.
“Whenever I was in the gym over the past couple years, I was doing it to a very unhealthy extreme. I think that’s what led me down a darker path,” Lovato said. “For me, embracing my body the way that it is naturally was the reason why I took the month of October off from the gym.”
“A huge thing for me has been body acceptance. I feel like something that is not really spoken about a lot is body acceptance. We hear the terms ‘body positivity’ all the time but to be honest, I don’t always feel positive about my body. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘Oh I do not like what I see.’ But in those moments, I don’t sit there and dwell on it. I also don’t lie to myself,” she said. “I used to look in the mirror and I used to be like ‘I love my body. You’re beautifully and wonderfully made.’ But the thing was, I didn’t believe it so then I just would resent it. And every time I would say it, I would be like ‘You’re lying to yourself.'”
Over the past six to nine months, Lovato has come to “be okay” with her appearance. “I don’t have to lie to myself and tell myself that I have this amazing body. It’s like, if I don’t feel it, I don’t have to say that. All I have to say is I’m healthy. In that statement, I express gratitude and I express I am grateful for my strength.”
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.