Charlie XCX On Sexism, Britney Spears And How To Be A Badass Female

Charlie XCX On Sexism, Britney Spears And How To Be A Badass Female
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She exploded onto the scene in 2012 with Icona Pop's catchy as f*ck track, I Don't Care, and has been on our girl power radar ever since. Charlie XCX is definitely a force to be reckoned with. As a proud member of today's tribe of outspoken, fearless females, Charlie's brought issues surrounding sexism in the music industry to light, whether it's being outspoken in interviews or through her BBC documentary, The F Word and Me.

I got to chat everything girly with the megastar, from her incredibly cool sense of style to how she ensures she stands up for herself no matter what...

You're refreshingly outspoken about your ambitions and what you want. How do you stick up for yourself in a male-driven industry ? 

It’s definitely something I had to learn as I got older. I first signed to a record label when I was 16, and I’ve come so far that I truly do believe that I’m my own best advisor, and until the end, I trust that I’ll know what’s best for myself. Sticking to that is what gives me strength. 

What's the one thing you'd change about sexism in your industry? 

I’d change everything if I could, to be honest. I’d change the fact that sexism exists at all. I never learned about feminism in school, it wasn’t as much of a topic as it is now, but I quickly learned about inequality through doing interviews at sixteen. Having to explain myself and answer questions I knew I was only being asked because my gender really woke me up.

I started doing press at the same time that other female artists were speaking up; I remember Lauren from CVRCHES writing an incredible essay about her experience as a woman in music, as well as Grimes and Sky Ferreira discussing something similar, and as I was being compared to them at the time, it made me want to be more vocal. 

Do you use fashion and beauty to help you feel powerful? 

For me, fashion allows me to morph into different people and create different characters for myself. Some days I’ll wake up and want to be clad in head-to-toe black, other days, I’ll feel like being completely colourful. I’ll feel transformed in the studio depending on what I wear, so how I present myself to the world is really important for my creative process. 

So, what’s your go-to look for when you need a dose of that Sasha Fierce-like power?

Oh, really huge shoes are definitely my transformation tool. Usually I’m in tracksuits, but I definitely need one day a week that features towering heels, combined with a really banging outfit - that always helps me write a very different kind of song.

Speaking of Sasha Fierce, how do you feel about the mixed opinions surrounding artists like Beyonce and Taylor Swift using feminism as a marketing strategy?

I definitely think that yes, it’s been used that way - but if the end result has been that ten-year-old girls now have ‘feminism’ in their vocabulary and are talking about it on such an impressive level, does it really matter? To judge it and scrutinise it is quite a backwards thought process. 

Where do you get your energy from to keep going, keep achieving, keep fighting?

I love being in the studio and making music, so I’m happiest there. The ability to be creative and release my thoughts in the way I want to without getting into trouble or offending anyone, so doing that through a song is where I get energy from. Also, when I’m on-stage and hear people singing my songs back to me, that’s a really special feeling. 

Would you say you're an introvert or extrovert? We see a badass girl, but do you always feel that way? 

I think I’m an ambivert, to be honest. Because I’m onstage and have to do interviews and be photographed, I think people assume I’m an extrovert, but I often get super shy and nervous, especially when I meet new people; I hate small talk, I just shut down. Some days I wake up feeling really confident, other days, not so much. 

RELATED: Charli XCX Directs Joe Jonas and All the Hotties in New “Boys” Music Video

Who are your icons in general?

When I was growing up, like every other girl I adored Britney and the Spice Girls; but now, I’m definitely more inspired by my friends and our relationships with each other. Being around them excites me, when we’re just bouncing off each other and vibing. I still think Britney and the Spice Girls are amazing, but I’m also loving literally anything Rihanna does or says right now, as well as people like Justice who always excite me whenever they release new material. 

RELATED: Britney Spears Claps Back at Critics with This Live ’90s Cover

So, how does it feel knowing that there are so many young girls right now who feel exactly the same way about you as you felt about Britney?

It’s so awesome to be able to connect with them via music in that way, there’s no feeling like it. I’ve actually got some fans downstairs who think they’re here to film a fun lip-synching Boys music video for the chance to win a Samsung phone, but I’m going to sneak up on them and give them a surprise - I seriously can’t wait! 

Who’s your dream person to write a song for? 

Rihanna. That’s the goal for so many songwriters, so once someone is like ‘oh yeah, Rihanna just picked my song’, it’s a big deal. She’s so in control of what she becomes involved with, so I really respect that. I don’t want to write for anyone who won’t have an opinion on what they’re singing.  To be honest, I love writing for any artist who has an interesting sense of identity - right now I’m writing for the Finnish singer Alma, who’s got this amazing neon green hair and has such a distinct vision. 

RELATED: 63 Celebrities You NEED To Follow On Snapchat

Let’s talk social media - which platforms are you the most active on?

Definitely Instagram, and also Snapchat - I actually got to have my own Snapchat lens, and I went to Bestival to film in Samsung’s Hypercube, which is so amazing, I literally wanted to throw a party in there. We used that footage to create a lens which my fans used to interact with me. 

Festival goers at Bestival are treated to a surprise as Charli XCX rocks out in the Samsung Hypercube/Tabatha Fireman

Samsung has partnered with festival favourite Charli XCX to create a new Snapchat lens that gives you the chance to #ShareTheStage and lipsync along to her mega-hit song of the Summer ‘Boys’. Try it out yourself & visit the microsite: for more information.

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