Camila Cabello has never shied away from calling out body-shaming comments, but the singer still struggles with insecurity when she's being photographed wearing a bikini, she admits in a candid new note to fans posted to Instagram on Saturday.
In her note, Cabello shared how she had spent the day at a Miami beach club, one where she is regularly "papped," or pursued by the paparazzi. Being photographed while in a swimsuit has always left her feeling "super-vulnerable and unprepared," and this weekend's visit was no different. Despite having a new bikini and a "whole f***in' cute outfit" to show off, the "Havana" singer felt "self-conscious" and hyper-aware of the paparazzi documenting her time on the beach, fretting about the photos that might come out and how they'll make her feel about her body.
"I held my core so tight my abs hurt and didn't breathe and barely smiled and was so self-conscious of where the paps were the whole time I couldn't let go and relax and do what we're meant to do when we go out in nature," Cabello wrote, adding that she also avoided eating "anything too heavy" before hitting the beach. "I tired to pretend they weren't there but I couldn't and I held my breath from my sun chair to the ocean. ... I knew I looked 'good' in the pictures and thought I would feel accomplished and yet I've never had a worse time at the beach. I felt the emptiness and sadness of our culture's thoughts that became my thoughts."
The former Fifth Harmony member also shared how she used to feel carefree when she was at the beach, until being photographed and body-shamed soured the experience.
"I've worn bikinis that were [too] small and paid no mind to how I looked, then saw pictures online and been so upset," admitted Cabello, who spoke out last summer about feeling "insecure" about her body after paparazzi photos of her went viral and drew some negative comments.
Speaking to Bustle last August, she described feeling like "my body insecurities went down" after shutting down body-shamers online. "No matter what pictures come out or what people say, I’m now controlling the narrative," she added.
But in her heartfelt post on Saturday, Cabello noted that, even though she can recognize how toxic society's body standards may be and is doing the work to distance herself from that, she still wants to "look 'good.'"
"I reminded myself when it impact my self-esteem that I was thinking the culture's thoughts and not my own," she wrote. "A culture who has gotten so used to an image of what a 'healthy' woman's body looks like that is completely not real for a lot of women. Photoshop, restrictive eating, over-exercising and choosing angles that make our bodies look different than how they are in the moment and in their natural form, when we take a deep breath, when we eat a meal, when we allow the waves to tussle us around. I remind myself of this, listen to podcasts on intuitive eating, follow women who accept their cellulite, stretch marks, bellies, bloating and weight fluctuations ... and still. I'm a single woman in her 20s in the middle of a s**t ton of promo and I want to feel like I look 'good.'"
After her latest beach run-in with the paparazzi, the Cuban-born star felt compelled to open up about how she felt about this pressure.
"We see pictures of women and praise them for looking good, for looking fit or 'healthy,' but what is health if you're so fixated on what your body looks like that your mental healths suffers and you can't enjoy your life? Who am I trying to look attractive for and am I even attractive to myself if I can't let loose and relax and have fun and be playful on a beautiful day at the beach?" she wrote. "I'm not yet at the point in my journey where I can not give a f***. Intellectually, I know what I look like doesn't determine how healthy, happy or sexy I am. Emotionally, the messaging I get from our world is loud in my own head.
"Ironically, all the therapy, all the inner work, is to try and get back to feeling like 7-year-old me on the beach," continued Cabello, who recently spoke to Elle Mexico about trying to reconnect with her childhood self by speaking Spanish. "I'm mourning her today. Happy, silly, breathing, pretending to be a mermaid, FREE."
Cabello, whose vulnerable post received a flood of support, also spoke out about pushing back against body shaming during an appearance on The Late Late Show last year.
"I was like, you know what, this is normal. It’s like my weight is gonna go up and down," she told James Corden. "Also we have these crazy beauty standards from freakin’ Instagram of people that are Photoshopped or if they’re not Photoshopped, it’s not every woman’s body.
She continued, "We’re real women and we have curves and we have cellulite and we have fat. And it’s just like a lot to just have these crazy, unrealistic standards that make us feel bad about ourselves and make us feel like in order to go out I have to hide my body or put on a big T-shirt."
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