Sam Smith is working to “reclaim” his body and move past his insecurities.
The singer, 26, posed shirtless for a photoshoot on Monday, which typically gives him major anxiety.
“In the past if I have ever done a photoshoot with so much as a t-shirt on, I have starved myself for weeks in advance and then picked and prodded at every picture and then normally taken the picture down,” Smith wrote on Instagram.
“Yesterday I decided to fight the f— back,” he continued. “Reclaim my body and stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally.”
Smith said that the shoot, with photographer Ryan Pfluger, represented a major shift in his body image.
“Some may take this as narcissistic and showing off but if you knew how much courage it took to do this and the body trauma I have experienced as a kid you wouldn’t think those things,” he said. “Thank you for helping me celebrate my body AS IT IS @ryanpfluger I have never felt safer than I did with you. I’ll always be at war with this bloody mirror but this shoot and this day was a step in the right f—— direction.”
Pfluger added on his own Instagram page that his experience with Smith remind him of his master’s thesis about how “photography is therapy.”
“@samsmith thank you for trusting me to facilitate photographs that empower your ownership of your body and mind,” Pfluger wrote. “I honestly wish everyone relinquished themselves to the experience like you did.”
Smith has been open about his longtime struggle with body image that started when he was bullied as a child for his weight and sexuality.
“When someone calls you gay, there’s not much you can do about that because I am. Whereas, if someone calls you fat, there is something you can do about that,” he said in 2015.
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The Grammy Award-winning singer lost 50 lbs. between 2015 and 2016 with the help of nutritionist Amelia Freer. But upon reflection in 2018 he realized that his relationship with his body when he was dieting was unhealthy.
“I got a bit obsessive,” Smith said. “I was constantly looking in the mirror, pinching my waist, weighing myself every day.”
By 2018, he’d “gotten to a place where I really love my stretch marks and I just enjoy my body,” Smith said, but he recognized that “my body image is always going to be an issue.”
“I need to constantly train myself to watch the right sort of films, to not look at certain ads and think that’s how my stomach should look. It’s something that I’m fighting every day,” he said, and added that body image struggles are something that “men should talk about” more.
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