Singer Sam Smith revealed that he had liposuction when he was 12-years-old in the first episode “I Weigh,” a new interview series by actress Jameela Jamil, who has made body positivity her brand in the last year.
“I was holding a lot of weight in my chest,” Smith said, adding that his “breasts” were due to excess estrogen. He was teased mercilessly about it when he was growing up; as early as age eight, Smith was avoiding swim lessons. Once, a boy grabbed Smith’s chest on the playground in front of all of his friends, an incident Smith called “horrible” and “fucked up.”
Smith’s self-consciousness became so severe that he and his mother went to a doctor.
“I had liposuction, I was 12-years old,” Smith said. “At the time I think I was very happy about it. It didn’t really change anything. I think I put the weight back on in two weeks because I haven’t figured out my relationship with food, so it didn’t really change anything. But being 12-years-old and having liposuction on your chest is quite a big deal.”
“I started therapy a year ago which is why I think I’m doing this,” Smith said. “I’m starting to dig in deeper and realize this is part of why I’m sad.”
He went on to discuss his fluctuating weight through his teens and throughout his career. After losing a significant amount of weight before the release of his second album, Smith was determined to maintain it.
“I was like, ‘I’ve lost all this weight, I’ve got to own it,’... I can’t look lonely, and if I look fat I look lonely,” Smith said, adding that there was an irony to the fact that while his first album was about loneliness, he didn’t want loneliness to be attached to his new look.
Jamil used the conversation to launch into her struggles with being fat-shamed by the press after she temporarily experienced significant weight gain due to medications. The conversation briefly devolved into discussing celebrities pooping and fame sucking before segueing into how Smith’s search for positive body image coincides with accepting his place outside of the traditional gender binary.
“I had breasts when I was 11-years-old,” said Smith. “I have a very feminine body. When I move, when I have sex with men, it’s very feminine... I am feminine in many many ways and I’ve always resented that. I’ve almost been like, ‘no that’s not manly, that’s not this, you’ve got to work out, you’ve got to lose weight, because that’s what men do.’”
Smith admitted that, for a time, he was sending photos of Tom Hardy as fitspo to his trainer.
“But I will never look like that because there’s a bit of a woman in me that won’t allow my body to look like that,” Smith said. “I put on weight in places that women put on weight, and that springboards everything. That’s me looking at myself like...maybe I’m not a man, maybe I’m not a woman, and maybe that’s okay.”
You can watch the interview in its entirety here.