When Christina Aguilera was just 13-years-old, she landed a spot on The All New Mickey Mouse Club alongside Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Keri Russell and Ryan Gosling. Amid the ongoing pandemic Aguilera was able to take some time to reflect on her experience with childhood stardom, as well as how being compared to her fellow stars affected her.
"I've been working since I was 7 years old. When I'm not working, there's a heavy amount of guilt that I feel. It's been embedded in me since I was little—you're shamed if you don't want to keep up," Aguilera told Health magazine. "As a child [entertainer], you're all pitted against one another, and other children are all about that grind too. It's a weird space to grow up in."
Though she didn't discuss Spears by name or the recent documentary about how the media played a part in her downfall, Aguilera discussed her own experience with the press and paparazzi as a young girl. "When I was first becoming successful, there was a different mentality in terms of what was accepted or not accepted by the press and tabloids," she explained. "There was no social media, so you didn't have an outlet to speak out on your own. You had to rely on journalists and how they reported on you. A lot of times, I'd read something and say, 'Wait, I didn't say it that way.' I'd feel betrayed. I was still at an age where I was understanding myself and life. Media, at the time, was also big on pitting women against each other. And there was a bullying mentality going on in the tabloids. It's tough to look back on."
Aguilera said she sometimes forgets "how bad" the invasions of privacy "because it was such the norm." She then recalled how her "previous house was right on the street, and tour buses would drive by and treat you like a zoo animal and talk sh** about you. The guy on the microphone would read out whatever tabloid story about me right in front of my son's bedroom. That's harassment, and it's petrifying."
The pop star told the outlet she "would never want to relive my 20s — you're so in your own head and finding your confidence. As you age, you stop comparing yourself to other people and start appreciating your own body and owning it." Now that she's 40-years-old, Aguilera has a more optimistic outlook. "No matter what I've been through —successes, childhood trauma, hardships — I still have a fighting spirit. I never want to stop learning and growing to be the best person I can be," she said.