The Grammy winner talks to EW’s The Awardist about her Emmy-nominated series of reality contests, how her attitude towards haters has changed over the years, what surprised her about making the TV show, and more still.
In a few years Lizzo has become a superstar. She landed # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 2019 with “Truth Hurts” and her latest single “About Damn Time”. She won three Grammys (out of eight nominations) in 2019. She was EW’s Entertainer of the Year. She introduced and was the musical host on Saturday Night Live. He played Coachella. She became the first woman to headline Bonnaroo (although she unfortunately was canceled due to time). You announced the main tour.
She is now nominated for an Emmy. “This is pretty high on the mom list,” she tells EW’s The Awardist of the six nominations for her Amazon Prime Video reality series Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, where she auditions as a background dancer. for her performances of hers. And not just any dancers, but, as the title suggests, dancers who break down barriers in a sector that has long put women of a certain size in the spotlight. But not anymore.
Not only was I able to make my dream come true, but I was able to make these girls’ dreams come true, not just for dancing, but for acting as well.” said the singer. says the songwriter.
Watch an exclusive look at the series above and read The Awardist’s interview with Lizzo.
I don’t know what you were – wildest dreams – hoped for and expected, but how do they fit together?
LIZZO: Very unexpected. [Laughs] I mean, listen, man, I’ve been making music for a long time and it’s amazing to see how far music has taken me. That’s not because I thought, “Let me do a TV show so I can win an Emmy.” It’s like, “I need to find dancers and, wow, I can document that and wow, that makes a difference. And goodness, it’s recognized.” This was somewhat the order of the day with this one. And so I was completely shocked to use that word. Sorry for my bad French. [laugh]
I also feel that my Grammys, my eight Grammys in 2019, were also unexpected. I really do – because I want and like it. And I think it’s a blessing and an honor to be recognized for that.
You mentioned those Grammy nominations – you’ve had some really great moments in your career so far. Where does this show place you? What does it mean in the general list of Lizzo’s achievements?
This is pretty high on the mom list because I’ve been looking, I’ve been waiting … The moment you see me go to the girls audition for the first time – and I’m wearing a little rainbow dress with little Kittens and gloves: it’s my dream since 2014. You can also see it on my Instagram. If you scroll back far enough, you’ll see “Big Grrrl first auditions” and I took Grace Holden to Duluth, not knowing her at the time, and danced for me. And the rest is history.
Not only was I able to make my dream come true, but I was able to make these girls’ dreams come true, not just dance, but stardom. Be the TV stars and get a platform to take their lives to the next level and gain opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have.
And then, this is a three-tiered thing, man, a three-tiered pie: the way it impacted people, the way it disrupted the industry, the Best Actress nomination – what a testament to the stories of big black girls, big trans girls, big korean girls. And also just the representation I think this show has given to big girls: we never saw ourselves as the main character and we also showed our athletic prowess. These girls trained, danced their lungs out, did gymnastic exercises, flips and all kinds of themselves – in crevices, being beautiful, being the main character. I just think this show has done so much for me as a person.
When you actually started doing this, what surprised you when you did a TV show or wasn’t prepared for it?
I didn’t think it would go so fast. [laughs] It happened very quickly. We did it all in a month, but mind you I had to do Bonnaroo so we planned it that way. Because I had to go to Bonnaroo with my ass and I needed dancers ASAP. So it was great to see what we’ve done in a month. And I think, what could we achieve if we had more time? I mean, we have six Emmy nominations in a month!
And then of course – I mean spoiler alert for anyone listening or missed last year’s news – Bonnaroo didn’t happen. So you really had to go with the flow, be willing to adapt, be flexible. There have been other moments along the way that I don’t know if you’d call happy accidents, but things you didn’t plan on doing but thought were cool, let’s go with it?
That’s not how you write television. [Laughs] That moment when Jayla’s mom says, “Now I’m going to pray for you because of the tornado.” And Jayla replies, “What?” Yes, you can’t write it. [Laughs] There were definitely some very unexpected moments. I think the most famous was my failure in front of the girls on “Rumors” – the same day I went on Instagram and had that fall, I was literally excited when I entered the room with the girls in negligee. and I played “Rumor” for them. It was on the same day. So when I collapsed and got excited, it wasn’t planned, it wasn’t planned. I was kind of like, “Yo, I just need to keep it real with all of you.” I can’t really pretend to be happy when I want to get rid of something. So it was one of those moments when it was like telling the truth and letting it go.
Many things happened. I wouldn’t call them happy accidents, but they were unexpected twists and turns from the show.
The moment you break up and play “Rumor” and try to claim power from the people who try to bring you down by reaching out to the haters with a song, here’s my question about this: how do you feel about the haters ? Do you feel sad for people who have this internalized hatred and jealousy that makes them feel so compelled to try and put other people down? Or do you just not give them space in your head?
I felt this way because when the goblins were born for the first time, it was out of hatred for myself. But then they started to gain influence by being a troll. And now trolls are like that, you can literally be known for trolling and getting paid for trolling. And I just didn’t feel any sympathy for them because those people are looking for attention. So instead of clapping or anything like that, I now refuse to pay attention to them because it’s really just a pathetic ego boost for them. You know what I mean? Really, I’m just looking for attention. They’re trying to get influence and I’m like, “Okay, the best thing to do is ignore them and go about my day, because I’m getting paid more than them anyway.”
I believe Jayla made a quick comment when talking about Trans travel and said it’s time for people to see it too.
Oh, that’s what he said before he wrote the song.
He did it? Good. This is what I wanted to say. You heard it and said, “Hmmm… there’s something about that!”
No, it was one of those wild syncs. We recorded the show in August 2021.