JoJo opened up about body image recently, revealing that she was put on an extreme 500-calorie a day diet when she was just 18 years old. After becoming famous at 13 with her huge hit, “Leave (Get Out),” the singer says that she was so desperate to release new music that she was willing to try anything, which included the aforementioned diet.
In a new interview with Uproxx, the now 29-year-old admits that she thought the reason her label wasn’t releasing any of her new music was because of the way she looked. “Because when I was 18, I remember being sat down in the Blackground office, and the president of the label being like, ‘We just want you to look as healthy as possible,’” she revealed.
Even though JoJo said that she knew she was healthy, she accepted being restricted to only 500 calories a day–which is only a small portion of what an 18-year-old girl should consume daily.
“I was like, ‘I’m actually the picture of health. I actually look like a healthy girl who eats and is active. And I don’t think this is about my health. I think that you want me to be really skinny,'” she recalled. “And he’s like, ‘No, I wouldn’t say that, blah blah blah.’ But I ended up getting put with a nutritionist that had me on a 500 calorie a day diet, and I was on these injections that make you have no appetite.” She continued, “I was like, ‘Let me see how skinny I can get, because maybe then they’ll put out an album. Maybe I’m just so disgusting that no one wants to see me in a video and they can’t even look at me.’ That’s really what I thought.”
JoJo goes on to say that her experience with her label only speaks to a much larger problem within the music industry as a whole.
“I’m sure a lot of us develop extreme insecurities and disordered eating and really unhealthy thinking about ourselves…I felt that how I was must have been not enough. Must have been dissatisfying.” Then, she reveals her vices during the time, saying, “So I started getting really f— up, drinking, making out with strangers, looking for validation and attention and looking to feel pretty, looking to feel good, to feel worthy,” she continued. “There were definitely nights that I stumbled out of clubs and that I blacked out. I was just completely reckless, did not care,” she admitted. “I needed to be buzzed to feel okay. I would go to the edge, stand on my tiptoes on the edge and then come back.”
Finally, JoJo was released from her contract with Blackground Records in 2014 after a lengthy legal battle. Hear more about her label struggles and her comeback down below: