Lorde opens up about desire to play with gender and beauty conventions

Lorde has spoken about her desire to start playing with the conventions of gender, beauty and form in a new letter to fans.

  • READ MORE: Lorde: “I feel like I can see my world and myself a lot clearer now”

Writing to fans via her mailing list, Lorde started by saying she was currently “growing out my unibrow as an entry point for playing with conventions of beauty/gender/form.”

She went on to say she was inspired by seeing an exhibition by painter Walter Sickert “which (was) just his paintings of nude women.”


“The shock my brain got seeing these not particularly idealised versions of the female form shocked ME. I realised my brain is getting programmed to want what the algorithms want when it comes to female physical form, just by sheer exposure to these systems and the current beauty standards,” she wrote.

Credit: Phoebe Fox for NME

She went on to explain that “the algorithm doesn’t want to see certain things, and therefore I’ve stopped looking for them, if that makes sense. It sounds soooo obvious, but I realised, like, fuck if I’m not careful I’m just gonna end up striving for conventional (albeit alternative/chic) hotness until I die. And wouldn’t that be…. kind of a waste??? To have this incredible canvas or raw tool that can be manipulated to such great effect, and to only use it to try to… titillate and appeal?“

She added: “In the same way I eat bitter greens or dank fermented foods, (I’m) going to make an effort to incorporate different flavours when it comes to form. Incorporate the grotesque, the masc, the statuesque, the jacked, the magnificent. Call it “refusing to believe that’s all there is to a fire”,” she finished, linking fans to Peggy Lee’s 1969 song ‘Is That All There Is’.

Last month, Lorde reflected on the reaction to her third album ‘Solar Power’, which received a mixed-response from critics.

And speaking at a London show, the musician reflected on her return to writing “nothing but big pop songs”. “It’s so interesting to me how writing a big, bright pop song has been the thing that’s defined my life,” she said.


“We’ve had a really difficult, painful, lonely few years and artists take that, and they process it and they make something that’s maybe quieter, or more private. But the banger will always be on the horizon.”