Dove Cameron recalls “doing a lot of performative femininity” when she was younger

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Dove Cameron loves to express herself through fashion, but that wasn’t always the case.

In an interview with With stylethe singer-songwriter, 26, opened up about fully embracing her queer identity since coming out, explaining how that journey continues to inspire her fashion choices.

“Being super masculine meets feminine has always been a huge part of my true expression,” Cameron said of her aesthetic. “I definitely love the androgyny that I didn’t let myself explore before. I did a lot of performative femininity when I was younger that was very trapped and very diminished.”

The “Boyfriend” singer came out as queer in 2020 during an Instagram live stream and has since used her platform to highlight issues that matter most to her, especially when it comes to the LGBTQ community. When she picked up the award for Best New Artist at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, she thanked “all the queer kids out there” who made her success possible.

In recent months, the former Disney star has been exploring all sides of herself on the red carpet, though she admittedly hasn’t always felt so confident.

“If you look at pictures of me from when I was younger when I was on red carpets, there’s no one at home behind the eyes,” she explained to With style. “It’s very painful, like I’m trying to be the smallest, happiest, sweetest, most carefree person there.”

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 12: Dove Cameron attends the Disney Channel Kids Upfront 2013 at Hudson Theater on March 12, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/FilmMagic)

As she grows as an artist, Cameron says she enjoys coming out of her shell.

“When I was younger, I used to dress up like the bad guys and go to school,” she said of her childhood. “I would Sharpie my face like Jack Skeleton, or I’d take the little plastic fork tips and stick them around my nails like Wolverine. I used to make my face like the Joker. I always had this bad thing where I really liked it. I love the feeling of lengthening clothes that I can move into because it’s like dark water. The feeling is powerful. It’s not about being tall to be beautiful, it’s about being tall to be scary.”

Today, she hopes this time in her life can be a “starting point” to not be afraid to make bolder fashion choices that reflect “the artist I feel like I am now.”

“We’re in a time, especially now, where I think it’s important to make a political statement wherever you go,” he said. “I’m hoping to make a statement in support of women’s issues these days and being pro-choice and pro-abortion, and just showing solidarity.”

Cameron has previously spoken about how important conversations around identity have been life-changing.

“I honestly look back on that first initial foray into talking about my sexuality as my first time really being myself in public,” she told E! News in June. “I think there’s this narrative where if you’re a queer person and you talk about your identity, even though you’ve been sitting on a secret your whole life and it’s this big revelation. In my experience, it wasn’t a revelation. I always knew who I was. For as long as I can remember, I’ve known I was queer.”

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