Dua Lipa may be one of the biggest pop stars on the planet – but she has had to navigate a minefield of misogyny to get there.
As the new boss of British pop covers the Attitude December issue, out now to download and to order globally, the chart-topper reflects on what it means to be a woman in the still very male-dominated music industry.
Despite having two Grammys and a pair of Brit Awards to her name, 25-year-old Dua says for a long time she felt she had to make a case for her seat at the table.
Dua Lipa talks sexism in the music industry and fighting for LGBTQ freedom in the Attitude December issue, out now (Photography: Jonas Bresnan)
“That’s just being a woman in the industry. A lot of people see it, particularly in pop music, that you’re manufactured or whatever, so you have this underlying pressure or anxiety to constantly prove [yourself] to people, especially when you write your own lyrics,” she begins.
“While I was creating my first record [2017’s self-titled Dua Lipa], when I would go into the studio sessions, I felt like I needed to prove to the people I was going in the room with that I could write and that I do this myself and that I am an artist, [that] I’m not just going to sit there in the room and wait for somebody to write a song for me.
Dua wears top and trousers by JW Anderson, shoes by Amina Muaddi (Photography: Jonas Bresnan)
“You have to work a little bit harder to be taken seriously.”
The ‘Physical’ singer stresses that she has never been afraid to call out sexism in the industry, even if it's happening on set.
“You’re on a music video and the director goes, ‘I definitely think you need to wear a skirt’ – because someone wants to see, you know, 'UK’s pop star in a cute outfit'," Dua says.
"I’m like, ‘Well, I’m going to wear trousers because it’s f***ing freezing.' I know how to stand my ground and hold it down.”
She goes on: “We’re so used to pushing it away and saying something just to turn it off and be, like, this isn’t a big deal. I’ve always been someone to check [a person] straight away.
Dua wears body suit and trousers by David Koma, chain belt by Laura Lombardi, pendant necklace by MOUNSER, chunky chain necklace and bracelet by Laura Lombardi, ear cuff by Tom Wood (Photography: Jonas Bresnan)
"If someone’s saying something [that I don’t agree with], ‘I’m not going to do that, I’m going to do this.’
“It creates maybe a weird energy, but it’s something that has to be said and addressed. I’m quite good at that.”