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“By Billie Eilish” – Body Images of a Shy Megastar – SWR2

Billie Eilish is not a teen star. Adults also love her for her music, which is experimental and catchy at the same time. Until recently, she hid her body under very loose clothing. A Vogue photo series with unusually revealing pictures caused a stir. A photo book now uses the old image of itself again.

Billie Eilish – girl next door?

Billie Eilish as an infant on her mother’s breast, as a toddler sitting on the toilet, naked on the blanket with her best friend while playing, Billie with a microphone in the living room and at her first talent competition.

There are hundreds of pictures that want to tell us: This is Billie, a girl next door who leads a typical, photographically well-documented life as a child of the 2000s. Every now and then a casual comment from her.

Under a portrait photo as a schoolgirl, for example: “I still remember how I thought myself to be totally old and grown up back then; crazy when I look back and literally see a child in front of me. ”

The song “Ocean Eyes” made Eilish a star overnight

The child Billie Eilish can be seen on the first 70 pages. Then comes the photo that marks the break: Billie taking “Ocean Eyes” shortly before her 14th birthday. Her face is framed by the hood of a hoodie and a cap, her blue eyes look very seriously into the camera, a microphone hangs in front of her.

With this song, the unknown kid from Los Angeles became a star. From then on we see Billie at her concerts, video shoots and photo shoots. Billie backstage with her big brother and producer Finneas and with her parents who are part of the touring crew.

The choice of images is not very exciting

In the preface she writes: “I don’t want to explain everything. I want to give you a big pile of photos that speak for themselves. ”This pile of photos gives their fans what they want most: As much insight as possible into the life of the private Billie Eilish.

The photos are of course only a selection from countless photo albums, she writes that herself in the foreword. And that selection is about as exciting as family photos shared on Facebook or Instagram.

The pictures seem interchangeable

Billie as a little kid who laughs and cries and makes nonsense. They just make you feel like you’re getting really close to Billie. These photos stage the private Billie Eilish and claim a closeness that they cannot redeem. Because the interchangeability of the pictures remains pretty banal.

Much more surprising are the photos she has just blown up the internet with: Billie in a pink corset on the cover of British Vogue. She presents herself as a pin-up girl of the 1950s with a blonde Marilyn Monroe hairstyle.

Eilish surprises with unusually revealing images

Gone are the days when Billie Eilish shielded her body from the public eye. Under wide, bright sweaters and trousers with large logo prints – you can see them in hundreds of photos in her book.

It now seems like a swan song for an old Billie. It is replaced by a self-confident, feminine Billie, who does not restrict the corset, but liberates it.

Whether I wear more or less, who decides what defines me? Do you determine what i’m worth Or am I responsible for what you think of me?

In an interview with British Vogue, she said: “I can do whatever I want.” She holds beige latex stockings and lingerie against the greedy gaze of the public. Garments that shape her body the way Billie thinks she is beautiful.

With the Vogue photo series, she embarks on a debate about the power of the gaze

Fashion and photos – since the beginning of her career, Bille Eilish has used both to recompose her image as a pop star over and over again. The children’s photos in her book seem almost artificial: They use the clichés of a staged American childhood.

With the staged photo series in Vogue, on the other hand, she embarks on authentic, because current, debates: How can women benevolently accept and show their bodies without being influenced by the looks of others?

These looks are powerful and this power can be abused, this is what Billie Eilish sings about in her new song “Your Power”.

Arjun Sethi
Passionate guitarist, gamer and writer. Lives for the perfect review, and scrapes texts until they are razor-sharp.


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