SZA is getting candid about her experiences with anxiety.
In an interview with Finish Line Women's Community Voices series for Mental Health Awareness Month, the 32-year-old "Good Days" singer revealed she left the 2022 Met Gala early after feeling "overwhelmed" and spoke about how fame and artistic pressure affect her mental wellness.
Speaking about social media trolls and how they impact her own thoughts, SZA revealed it's difficult when hateful comments reflect her actual insecurities. "It's weird sometimes, when your personal thoughts and feelings align with some of the things people say about you," she told the outlet. "It's hard not to fall into that weird hole of self-loathing."
She also opened up about the "exhaustion" that's followed her throughout the music industry, especially as a result of the "pressure of dropping another album" following 2017's Ctrl.
"The physical exhaustion, the mental exhaustion does not come from making music," divulged SZA. "But the exhaustion really comes from expectations, berating, and dehumanizing from outside forces. And that s— makes me feel like, 'Why am I doing this? Why would I set myself up to be bodied like this on a regular basis?'"
Offering another example of mental health struggles, SZA said she felt "overwhelmed" at the 2022 Met Gala, where she donned a strapless magenta Vivienne Westwood gown with black latex gloves and matching boots as well as a large, asymmetrical hat.
"I hated my outfit. That was another mental health thing," she explained. "You want to do your job, you want to show up, and all these people are excited for you to be there, but it's like, 'Damn, I don't feel confident,' or 'I don't feel comfortable,' or it's like, 'Oh, if my dress doesn't fit…,' and then there's all this weird comparison, and it's really unhealthy. And it's like, damn, some people, like Lizzo, can have a really good time regardless of what is happening."
She then detailed the complex process of exiting the Met Gala without being photographed. "For me, it's like, I snuck out the back as soon as Lenny Kravitz hit the stage because I was feeling very like, 'Whoa, my anxiety's going crazy,'" continued SZA. "So much so that I couldn't walk down the main steps to exit. I took a cab. I walked like three city blocks with no shoes on…"
"I just tiptoed a couple blocks and caught a yellow cab back to my hotel because I was just overwhelmed," she recalled. "I had too much anxiety to wait for my cab in front of the crowd, and take pictures, and all those things. I didn't want to do that. So I was looking like a little dirty Cinderella running away with my shoes."