Shawn Mendes has learned some things from Camila Cabello. The 22-year-old singer covers the January/February issue of British GQ and, in the accompanying interview, reveals how his girlfriend’s body positivity rubbed off on him.
“Some days I would have three hours of sleep, [because] I’d get up two hours early just to be able to work out,” he recalls, before admitting that he often thought, “If you don’t work out, you’re going to lose fans.”
In fact, Mendes says much of his identity came from being the “pinnacle of fitness,” especially amid his Calvin Klein campaign. That mindset only changed after he started meditating, journaling and taking notes on how Cabello handled body pressure herself.
“[She’s] so strong, so clear and confident with her [body] and so articulate and empathetic about other people’s,” he says. “It really changed my view of mine. It really changed my life.”
Mendes now knows that “taking that extra few hours of sleep, instead of waking up to pump iron, is a better choice sometimes.”
In addition to impacting how he views himself, Cabello has inspired her beau to be more open and honest in his music.
“It has allowed me to become more internal and get deeper inside of myself,” he says. “You have a choice to either open up and be very vulnerable or to be locked down and not show her anything.”
That openness came to a head during the making of his upcoming album, Wonder, a project that Cabello supported so much that Mendes now thinks she “should be a ghostwriter on everything.”
“There are so many instances during making an album when you want to drop an idea because it’s stupid or it’s not sounding great. And it does! It sounds stupid and doesn’t sound great for some weeks. But then it comes out on the other end and ends up being everything you wanted it to be,” he says. “And you need a support system. And I had support from her, which was different from any support I’ve ever felt before.”
The support he felt made him feel safe enough to leave behind the “s**ty way” he used to make music — which was focused on having “people like it and purchase it” — a mindset he calls “very stressful and hard.”
“To have to be someone you’re not, to the whole world, is horrible. And I know how difficult it is to be authentic,” he says. “[But] I can speak to you clearly because I’m not dancing around my real self. I’m just being me with you. And that’s beauty. And that’s success.”
Now, Mendes feels that his openness and sincerity has allowed for more “softness and sweetness and support.”
“I really just want to be someone who drops his guards and hopefully inspires others to do the same. I’m not really caring if that affects whatever my image should be or would be… because I think there’s something so important here, and that’s to make people feel better and make people feel safe and supported,” he says. “But the truth is, it’s so hard to be human.”
Wonder is due out Dec. 4.
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