In her single “Therefore I Am,” Billie Eilish hauntingly taunts, “Don’t talk ’bout me like how you might know how I feel.” And she’s right. Despite currently being one of the most recognizable people in the world—thanks in part to her signature highlighter-green hair—and one of the most accoladed in recent music history (at the 2020 Grammys, Eilish became the first artist since 1981 to take home trophies in all four of the major categories), she’s intensely guarded. Whether it’s just part of her particularly alluring brand of mystique or simply a way to protect herself (her rise to fame began at age 13), Eilish has remained largely an enigma—a relatable, soulful, talented enigma. But on February 26, the 19-year-old is finally lifting the veil with an Apple TV+ documentary, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, directed by R.J. Cutler. And on May 11, she’s planning to release a self-titled visual book filled with personal memories and never-before-seen pictures. Here, the singer-songwriter shares how it feels to be exposing the more intimate parts of her life and how, behind all the lyrics and awards and fans, she’s just a girl who’s sometimes still afraid of monsters.
On deciding to film a documentary
I never really thought about it. I wasn’t thinking of my life as interesting, and I definitely didn’t think a documentary about me would be interesting. But it was a discussion with my team; I don’t know how it really started. But I couldn’t be happier with it, honestly. It’s really personal. I think it’s really incredible and rare to get the biggest moments of my life captured like this.
On sharing more of herself and her journey with the world
I’m not ready at all. I didn’t really think I’d ever want some of this stuff to come out, but here we are.
On the monsters under her bed (and if she’s still afraid of them)
I actually haven’t been in a while. I went through a phase of having really bad nightmares and sleep paralysis and stuff. And I watched a lot of horror movies, so I used to not like to sleep alone [because] I thought there were monsters under my bed. They’re still there; I’m just less scared of them now.
On how the relationship with her brother has changed through the ups and downs of fame
Our relationship has only solidified. Finneas is my best friend and has been for years. We’ve only gotten closer and better at working together.
On looking back at her younger self through Cutler’s lens
I feel very sentimental about a lot of it, [but] it’s also hard to look back on parts of your life and wish you had done things differently. It’s really hard to watch some of it. I think it must be torturous for anyone to watch themselves at 15, and for me, I was filmed every second of my life, so it’s even worse.
On the process of creating her book
It was mostly cringey, but toward the end [it was] very cute and fun.
On her favorite memory in the book
I love all the Grammys pictures, and I love the pictures of me when I got my car.
On her upcoming “new era”
For me, it’s just important to keep changing. I go crazy if I don’t change. This current hair color is the longest I’ve had any hair color since I was like 9 years old. This year, I’ve gotten so much better mentally, and I’ve been so much happier. And I’ve also been really busy, so I haven’t made a change, when I usually change shit about me every two months, like, drastically. I think you’ll have to wait and see what the new era brings.
Watch Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry on Apple TV+ starting February 26.
A version of this story appears in the Spring 2021 issue of Marie Claire.
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