Few will argue that Demi Lovato has been a positive influence on youngsters after speaking honestly and refreshingly about her struggles with an eating disorder and her own body image.
So it’s only fitting that the X Factor mentor shares her thoughts on the challenges her young fans go through—self-esteem, health, relationships—in the latest issue of British Cosmo on Campus, Cosmopolitan’s spin-off mag geared toward students.
And in true Demi fashion, she’s keeping it pretty real.
“I was about 12 or 13 when I developed my eating disorder, and at that time nobody in the public eye talked about their body issues,” the now-20-year-old tells the magazine.
“I feel that if someone had admitted they had a problem, then I wouldn’t have gone down that route myself,” she explains. “That’s my goal in talking about my problems: I want to be the person for other girls that I needed to admire when I was looking for help and strength.”
Part of that strength, she says, comes from accepting who you are, no matter what your shape or how other people perceive you.
“It’s OK to love your body the way it is,” she shares, “and it’s OK to reach out for help if you have drug and alcohol problems, or if you’re self-harming or being bullied.”
The star also opens up about her own past romantic dalliances and how she may have jumped in for the wrong reasons.
“It is very unhealthy when girls devote all of their time to a guy and forget their friends and family,” she says. “I did that. I was always looking for distractions because I was so afraid of being alone.”
Lovato admits she’s in a better place these days “where I can finally trust and love and be a better person for the man I am in a relationship with, instead of being a clingy girlfriend or getting jealous.”
That security, she offers, comes from one place: “Taking care of myself and not focusing on guys.”
She’s doing just that: Lovato shocked celeb watchers when it was revealed last month that’s she’s been living in a sober house in Los Angeles in order to stay the course.
With that kind of grit and resolve, she’s certainly on her way.