As soon as you meet Canadian R&B-pop singer and songwriter Alessia Cara, you can’t help but feel inspired. The positivity and confidence the 20-year-old exudes is one-of-a-kind, making it clear why she’s the mastermind behind the body-positive anthem “Scars To Your Beautiful.”
In December, we spoke with the Brampton, Ont. native at The Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto, where she partnered with Duracell for their 10th annual Powering Holiday Smiles and Imagination program and performed for young patients.
You’ve mentioned that you were a patient at Sick Kids after catching a bacterial infection. What do you remember about your time at Sick Kids?
Even though I was two when I was a patient here, I still remember feeling happy and playing games with the nurses. I think they did such an amazing job of making me feel so at home and comfortable. It didn’t ever feel like I was sick or in trouble. It was always a happy place.
You attended the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) and walked the red carpet without wearing any makeup. What was that experience like?
I thought that I’d be so much more scared than I actually was. I actually didn’t care about not wearing makeup at all. It made me feel very empowered rather than scared or afraid or shy. I think it’s because I didn’t really wear a lot of makeup to begin with, so it wasn’t that hard to make that transition. Now I feel so much more comfortable without wearing makeup unless I feel like doing otherwise.
Why do you think it’s so become so newsworthy for a woman to decide not to wear makeup at big publicized events?
Within the industry, especially for women, there’s this bar that’s set and we all feel like we have to follow it. When I don’t wear makeup I like to show people that there’s an alternative – we don’t always have to fit into the mold that’s expected from us. Those expectations, to me, are just made up of things that are in our imaginations and are expectations that have been constructed.
The thing is, beauty doesn’t define talent or capabilities. I’m capable and talented and smart and I think that’s so much more important than my appearance or the clothes I wear.
I love your confidence and you’re only 20! What are your tips for becoming more confident?
I always find it hard to explain how I got my self-confidence because I’m still so young. And of course, I still have moments where I’m trying to figure it out. I find my power and my self-love by questioning ideas and societal expectations. It helps me snap myself out of those negative thoughts and it’s how I’ve learned to love myself. If we can put negative thoughts in our heads, we can put positive thoughts in our heads, too.
You spent this past summer opening for Coldplay in North America and Europe. Are there any other artists you want to work with in the future?
I’m a music lover before anything, so I’m a fan of a bunch of artists. I would love to work with Ed Sheeran, Rhianna, Frank Ocean or Drake would be amazing. We can make a Toronto anthem or something! That would be cool.
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