British-Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia‘s 1997 tune Torn was and is, by all accounts, a smash hit.
The Grammy-nominated song’s accompanying music video also became as iconic as the audio, but the 47-year-old singer, songwriter and actress has now revealed she was grappling with body dysmorphia and insecurities behind-the-scenes, and that’s the reason she wore the outfit she did.
The Neighbours alum told The Independent she refused to wear a dress to promote the track as she didn’t want to show off her body shape, and the clothing she ultimately wore in the video – a black and gold tank top, a grey hoodie and khaki cargo pants – was a deliberate choice to hide her “silhouette” because she felt “so body dysmorphic and insecure.”
“The army pants weren’t even cool army pants – they weren’t in fashion or anything,” Imbruglia told the publication.
“My intention in wearing that was so that you couldn’t see my silhouette, because I didn’t want anyone to see. But it ended up that there was a power in that because it was like [seen as] androgyny cool,” she continued.
“But it really came from a place of, ‘Thank god I don’t have to wear a dress!'”
Imbruglia also revealed she held a lot of insecurity about her music career and pursuing her dream put her into debt.
”I couldn’t get a work permit and I couldn’t get jobs. When I signed my record deal, my UK visa was about to run out and I owed two grand to my landlord,” she said.
Imbruglia, who rose to fame in the early 1990s playing Beth Brennan on soap opera Neighbours, was born in Sydney. In 2013, she became a naturalised British citizen.
The Big Mistake singer said her feelings of insecurity stemmed from being unable to reconcile her time on the show with her career as a musician.
“I had grown up as a stage-school kid – I was a trained performer,” Imbruglia, who studied ballet, tap and Highland dancing as a teenager in Sydney, said.
“But in some ways, that felt a little bit cheesy compared to what I was trying to do [as an artist]. So I couldn’t kind of marry those things in my head. And, you know, I was in debt and I’d been famous for being on this TV show.”
Imbruglia has previously been open about the highs and lows of her decades-long career in the spotlight, recalling earlier this year how she lost some of her confidence after her fourth album, Come To Life (2009), flopped in Australia, and had its release in the United Kingdom and United States cancelled.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here.
She told The Sun in February: ”I think I wasn’t going through the best period of my career and I think I was feeling like I’m not good at something.
“It’s my confidence – whatever field you work in, I don’t think any amount of success means you’re never going to get insecure. So I just went through a period where I just felt like, ‘I can’t do this. I’m not good at this’. And it went on for too long.”
Imbruglia’s next musical venture was 2015’s Male, which was an album of cover songs originally done by male artists, but it wasn’t until three years later that she recorded her own music again.
She said she went to Nashville on a writing trip, which is where she “overcame” her insecurities, rediscovered her self-confidence and found pride in her music. She then released her album Firebird in 2021.
“I just thought, ‘Throw me in the deep end, give me 10 days and two sessions a day,'” she continued, noting that this is when she wrote the “really good” song When You Love Too Much, a track she’s “really proud of.”
“And then it was great because to have your confidence back, when you haven’t had it, is the best gift,” she said. “It’s nice to have that feeling and to have a really creative burst.”
Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673 or email@example.com.