Singer Glowie: 'I was called names for being too skinny'

Image copyright Sony Music

"What do I really need to be like to be beautiful?"

Icelandic singer Glowie says she struggled with that question at school, as she grew up around people telling her she was too thin.

While many of her fellow students thought they needed to lose weight to look good, the 21-year-old had the opposite worry.

She says children and teachers called her names for "being too skinny" - and that she always wanted to gain weight.

Now, she's trying to spread a message of body positivity with her song, Body.

Glowie Image copyright Getty Images

Speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat, the 21-year-old says she was made to feel that being naturally thin was a negative.

"Because most of the girls wanted to be skinny, it made me feel like the whole issue was so complicated. I thought 'I know I'm skinny and I don't want to be'."

Rather than talk to her family about it, she says her confidence grew by spending time on her own.

She's a self-confessed "loner" but says that helped her feel "comfortable in my own skin".

"I always want to give a positive, helpful message to people and help people feel good about themselves."

The song is written by Julia Michaels, who's written for countless other pop stars from Justin Bieber to Selena Gomez to Britney Spears.

When she first heard the lyrics to Body, which appear to focus on someone else's body, she decided to change the meaning.

"I'm not the kind of person who wants to sing about how I'm attracted to someone else," she says. "I wanted to twist it somehow, make it more about body positivity and me telling myself 'I'm a body'."

Glowie, whose real name is Sara Pétursdóttir, is from Iceland's capital Reykjavik but she spent a lot of her childhood in the countryside.

"I love going into the country and being alone.

"Because we have such a small population, you can go anywhere and be on your own. You can scream or cry and there's no-one there to judge you."

She's a keen painter and says she likes to focus on landscapes and eyes: "If you're looking into someone's eyes, you can really feel it if it's real."

Glowie is already a famous name in Iceland, after winning a singing competition in 2015.

She also had a number one single there but says it's "awkward" when people recognise her in public.

"People in Iceland are different. We have an odd attitude. People never come screaming and running up to me. They just stare. Lots of staring. Everybody stares."

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