Lily Allen gets real

It’s been more than 12 years since Lily Allen re­leased her de­but al­bum Al­right, Still, with its four hit sin­gles. At the time, Twit­ter was four months old, In­sta­gram didn’t ex­ist and Don­ald Trump was just the host of a se­cond-rate re­al­ity TV se­ries. The w

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

LILY ALLEN HAS BEEN TO HELL AND BACK

more than a few times. Through­out an in­tense di­vorce, bipo­lar dis­or­der and post­na­tal de­pres­sion, she’s re­mained open and hon­est with her fans. ‘It’s not intentional, it’s just that my per­son­al­ity comes out in my mu­sic, my books, my friend­ships and my con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple. I’m just an open per­son, I like to talk,’ she ex­plains. Her un­guarded per­son­al­ity prob­a­bly ex­plains why she’s landed in Aus­tralia amid a flood of head­lines about one of her re­cent ad­mis­sions.

‘I slept with fe­male es­corts when I was on tour, be­cause I was lost and lonely and look­ing for some­thing. I’m not proud, but I’m not ashamed. I don’t do it any­more,’ she re­vealed on In­sta­gram. ‘The [Daily] Mail are gonna run with the story to­mor­row cause some­one leaked it [from the book], and they’re bound to make it sound worse than it was. Just wanted to give you, er, the ‘heads up’.’ Non­cha­lant, for­ward and unapolo­getic, it’s the Lily Allen we know and love.

The singer refers to her new al­bum No Shame as a ‘con­fes­sional’, and it seems the out­let was a nec­es­sary one. The beats are ir­refutably pop but the lyrics ven­ture into Lily’s ma­ter­nal guilt, sub­stance abuse and, of course, a host of po­lit­i­cal is­sues. ‘I wanted to write some­thing that’s rel­e­vant to my life story and rel­e­vant to the lis­ten­ers,’ she says. ‘With the first few records they were re­ally com­ment­ing on world is­sues and what’s been go­ing on around me, my so­cial­is­ing and friend­ships. This al­bum is more in­wards look­ing, and that wasn’t re­ally intentional. I think it’s be­cause now I’m a mother of two small chil­dren, I’m not go­ing out and par­ty­ing in the same way that I used to. I have a lit­tle bit more ex­pe­ri­ence un­der my belt.’

Lily’s per­sonal and po­lit­i­cal can­dour hasn’t al­ways been met with open arms, but she has no plans to back down. ‘I think the re­sis­tance hap­pens be­cause so­ci­ety doesn’t re­ally want women, es­pe­cially young women, to have too much of an opin­ion. The world is run by mid­dle­aged straight white men. So there’s al­ways go­ing to be a push back

if women con­tinue to have power within the work­place and within the con­ver­sa­tion.’

Just over a year since The New York Times' ex­plo­sive re­port on Har­vey Weinstein un­cov­ered over 30 years of sex­ual abuse, ha­rass­ment and rape al­le­ga­tions, Lily tells Cos­mopoli­tan that it’s never been more im­por­tant to keep the con­ver­sa­tion go­ing. ‘I know it’s scary and there’s a back­lash that comes [with it]. But re­ally I think the only way we can make progress is by keep­ing the con­ver­sa­tion go­ing. It’s easy to bow out, that’s what the peo­ple in con­trol want, for us to leave. The only way we can change that is by lead­ing the con­ver­sa­tion our­selves.’

While in Aus­tralia, Lily told the har­row­ing story of her pro­ducer mother be­ing in a screen­ing room with Weinstein, where he pro­ceeded to ‘plea­sure him­self’ as he watched a nude scene with ac­tress Meg Ryan. While his lawyer de­nies the al­le­ga­tion, Lily’s com­ments were a re­minder of the work that re­mains to be done to en­sure that no in­dus­try will ever again be sub­jected to a Weinstein­style sit­u­a­tion.

In the midst of the #Me­Too move­ment, Lily says all sup­port is good sup­port. ‘If it weren’t for the in­ter­net and if so­cial me­dia didn’t ex­ist, that story would have been eas­ily buried by the peo­ple who have enough money to squash that kind of a story. But the in­ter­net makes it eas­ier to get all that in­for­ma­tion out there and shared.’

A woman of many words, Lily re­cently re­leased her first ever book, My Thoughts Ex­actly, a tell­all me­moir con­sist­ing of a col­lec­tion of es­says that give read­ers a glimpse into her per­sonal thoughts, opin­ions and mile­stones. ‘It def­i­nitely pulls the cur­tain back on the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try; peo­ple think the en­ter­tain­ment world is one way and this book re­ally goes an­other way. I think peo­ple will be re­ally in­ter­ested.’

Lily says sit­ting down to put her mem­o­ries on pa­per was dif­fi­cult. ‘Over the past few years I’ve done a lot of ther­apy and I’ve learnt a lot about my­self. I think I’m in a place now where I’m more self­aware than I have been in the past, and ob­vi­ously with age comes knowl­edge and wis­dom, which is help­ful.’

Promis­ing to share a piece of her fiery self with the whole coun­try, Lily will re­turn Down Un­der in early Fe­bru­ary to per­form her new al­bum, as well as all her great­est hits. She reck­ons the tour will be ‘su­per in­ti­mate but fun, with highs and lows – and in­cludes al­most a decade and a half worth of mu­sic. It’s a good one.’ See you guys there.

‘THE WORLD IS RUN BY MID­DLE-AGED STRAIGHT WHITE MEN’

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