FKA twigs has been through a LOT in the public eye.
The singer (real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett)’s Hollywood relationships seemed glamorous and cool on the surface — her partners were artists who seemed equally as interesting and vibrant as she. But you never know what’s going on behind the scenes, and she has been open about her abusive relationship with Shia LaBeouf. Her engagement to Robert Pattinson sounds a lot more healthy, but even that period came with its own struggles.
Rob has had a pretty rabid fanbase since the Twilight days, and they were not kind to twigs. In an interview for the podcast Grounded with Louis Theroux, she recalled:
“People just called me the most hurtful and ignorant and horrible names on the planet. It was really, really deeply horrific and I think it was at a time where I felt like I couldn’t really talk about it.”
“If I was going through that now, I feel like I’d be able to talk about it, and do some good with it. But I don’t know whether it was because of my age or whether it was because of the social climate or whether it was because being Black and from Cheltenham and from a low-income family and having to genuinely work twice as hard as everything I do to get a seat at the table — because that is true.”
Whatever the case may be, the ruthless fandom hatred stemmed from the fact that R-Patz is white — and twigs isn’t. She explained:
“He was their white Prince Charming and they considered he should definitely be with somebody white and blonde and not me.”
The 33-year-old went on:
“Whatever I did at that time, people would find pictures of monkeys and have me doing the same thing as the monkeys. Say if I was wearing a red dress, they would have a monkey in a red dress or I was on a bike, they would find a monkey on a bike.”
Wow. We shouldn’t be surprised by racism at this point, but that is the most basic, cruel abuse we can think of.
“I just remember it had this massive, dysmorphic effect on me for about six months to a year, where every time I saw my pictures, I would think, ‘Gosh, I look like a monkey and people are going to say that I look like a monkey, so I need to really try and hide this monkey-ness that I have, because otherwise, people are gonna come for me about it.’ … Obviously, I know now that’s completely ridiculous. But it is essentially bullying, and it does affect you psychologically. It’s really sad.”
Thankfully, after living through the abuse by fans — and later, the alleged abuse by her boyfriend — she’s now “very confident” in herself. However, she pointed out:
“It was deeply unfair at the time that I was made to feel so self-conscious and so ugly. It was a lot. That period was a lot.”
Back in 2015, the next Batman commented on the online trolls tormenting his then-fiancée, calling them “demons who live in basements.” The couple were together for three years before calling off their engagement in 2017.
We’re glad twigs has come out the other side of these awful experiences even stronger, and appreciate her opening up about it! Keep speaking your truth, girl!
[Image via Daniel Deme/WENN]