JoJo reveals she was put on extreme 500-calorie a day diet by record label as a teenager

Singer says she was made to feel like she was 'not enough'

Sarah Young
Wednesday 26 February 2020 10:22 GMT
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JoJo reveals she was put on an extreme 500-calorie a day diet by her record label

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Jojo has opened up about the extreme lengths she went to as a teenager to appease her former record label, including eating just 500 calories a day.

In a new interview with Uproxx, the singer reflected on her early career which saw her become the youngest solo artist to reach number one with the hit “Leave (Get Out)” at just 13-years-old.

However, the success felt short lived as her record label at the time, Blackground, refused to release any of Jojo’s new music following the chart-topping single.

The 29-year-old said that she believes the reason her label held back was because of the way she looked.

“When I was 18, I remember being sat down in the Blackground office, and the president of the label being like, ‘We just want you to look as healthy as possible’,” Jojo recalled.

She added that she told the music mogul she was already “the picture of health” and that she believed he was more concerned about her being “skinny” than her wellbeing.

“I ended up getting put with a nutritionist that had me on a 500-calorie a day diet, and I was on these injections that make you have no appetite,” Jojo explained.

“I was like, ‘Let me see how skinny I can get, because maybe then they’ll put out an album. Maybe I’m just so disgusting that no one wants to see me in a video and they can’t even look at me’,” she recalled thinking. “That’s really what I thought.”

The singer went on to explain that her experience is reflective of a larger problem within the music industry that sees young stars “develop extreme insecurities and disordered eating”.

“I felt that how I was must have been not enough,” she said. “Must have been dissatisfying.”

In the following months, Jojo revealed that she turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to feel “pretty” and “worthy.”

“There were definitely nights that I stumbled out of clubs and that I blacked out. I was just completely reckless, did not care,” she said.

“I needed to be buzzed to feel okay. I would go to the edge, stand on my tiptoes on the edge and then come back. I should be dead.”

After months of struggling to get her career moving again, Jojo decided to take legal action against the record label in a bid to be released from her contract.

They settled in 2009 but Jojo revealed she was not given any money as part of the settlement.

“I didn’t get any damages or anything like that. I just walked away being able to sign another record contract. I was like, ‘Let’s go!’ I was free,” she said.

Despite her struggles, the singer said the journey has allowed her to learn to love herself.

“I feel really lucky, really, really grateful for the longevity that I have and for the resilience that I do have. But I work on it every day,” she explained.

“I want to create a life for myself and I want to create a legacy.”

If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the following organisations for support: mind.org.uk, beateatingdisorders.org.uk, nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth, mentalhealth.org.uk, samaritans.org.

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