We've partnered with Zappos' The_ONES, celebrating classic sneakers, to bring you stories about creative, intelligent, strong and beautiful women who are all kicking ass in their own way. We knew it had to be for women, by women, and about women — and we wanted to accomplish this unapologetically. That's why we love the hashtag: #TOTALLYSPONSOREDBYZAPPOS.
As soon as you get the chance, go see Lizzo live. From the moment she steps out on stage, the rapper owns everything (no exaggeration). From her amazing stage looks to her blood-racing dance moves and crowd-cheering anthems, you are under Lizzo's command.
And her lyrics provoke this hypnotic acquiescence on all fronts: from her self-realized creativity ("I am my inspiration" on "Water Me") to her fierce confidence ("Ain't worried 'bout a ring on my finger" on "Truth Hurts"), Lizzo delivers the kind of show that leaves you bursting with energy and motivation.
We recently sat down with Lizzo to learn more about her power, her sneaker game and her thoughts on beauty.
What type of music do you like to listen to when you need to find strength?
Me and the girls normally love to listen to music that can make us dance. We listen to Beyoncé, [or] whatever turn-up song is on the radio at the moment. We like to follow the energy of the night; some nights on tour we were wearing costumes that made it feel more chill, so we would listen to some more chill, ambient vibes. Some nights we wear outfits that we know are the outfits we're going to party in afterwards, so we'll listen to party music. Sometimes we'll listen to London grime. Sometimes we'll listen to a new song that's out, because Sophia Eris is a radio DJ so she's always got to stay up-to-date. We make music and love music.
Are there certain outfits you wear to feel powerful?
The least amount of clothes that I have on, the more powerful I start to feel. So I feel very powerful in the nude. I feel very powerful in a cute panty and bra set. So on stage, me and the big girls... we show our legs off. We wear dancer leotards and tights. But on top of that, our legs and our bodies are so strong, and I think being a woman and having those curves and having the opportunity to show those curves off and that ass and doin' the splits and twerkin' booty cheeks. I think that's really powerful when you're able to do it, and that's where we kinda get all of our strength from.
When you're dancing, what shoes do you like to wear?
I love Adidas. I love dancing in Adidas. It makes me feel like Missy Elliott. That's what the B Boys would dance in.
Lizzo wears Pumas from The_ONES
Lizzo wears Adidas from The_ONES.
Lizzo wears Adidas from The_ONES
Lizzo wears Pumas from The_ONES.
What's your first sneaker memory?
LA Gear... the ones that light-up. I remember wanting those light-up shoes so bad. When I finally got them, I was stomping all over the place and trying to make them blink — it was so silly. I might get some now. Once I saw Prince wearing some platforms like that and I was like OK, I was onto something.
PAPER has always championed a broad definition of beauty. We believe it's important to provide a platform that showcases women of all colors, shapes and sizes. We also understand how much fun it is to wear makeup. Do you have a lipstick color that you would call your "boss lips"?
I think we have to be very careful not to trivialize this wave of feminism to just fashion statements. My lips have always been "boss lips" no matter if there's lipstick on them, or lip gloss on them. Every time I use my voice I'm speaking through my "boss lips." A lipstick can't give me power, a lip liner can't give me power; and I think it's important to remember that as we move forward with influencing young girls to be strong and powerful just like the women they're seeing today.
Your social media game is strong. It's a great mix of entertainment and empowerment. Do you feel powerful on social media?
I think that social media is extremely powerful. We're in the age where everyone's opinion matters — even the Internet trolls, to some people. I feel like every time I post, I'm putting something out there into that universe, that dimension we created where everyone is giving their 2 cents — and sometimes your 2 cents can be $2 million. So, I choose wisely about what I put out there, because you never know what you're opening yourself up to — or influencing.
What's a message you would give to young girls in terms of being proud of who they are and owning their beauty?
The moment for me when I decided to take ownership of my body and my physical form and find it beautiful was looking in the mirror and deciding that it wasn't going to change ever. Like you can get all the work done in the world but it doesn't matter. This is who you are. So I remember looking in the mirror and just being like this is it. This is who you're going to be for the rest of your life and you have to take care of this person. And the more you take care of this person, the more you start to like this person; and the more that you like this person, the more you're going to think this person is beautiful. And it worked. It took a long time but it worked.
Watch our video with Lizzo, below.
Video: John Shafto
Photography: Natalie Yang
Styling: Stacey Cunningham
Hair: Michael Warren
Makeup: Quinn Wilson