The World According to Billie

The singer-songwriter gets candid about the nerves that come along with being the subject of a highly personal documentary.

In her single “Therefore I Am,” Billie Eilish hauntingly taunts, “Don’t talk ’bout me like how you might know how I feel.” And she’s right. Despite currently being one of the most recognizable people in the world—thanks in part to her signature highlighter-green hair—and one of the most accoladed in recent music history (at the 2020 Grammys, Eilish became the first artist since 1981 to take home trophies in all four of the major categories), she’s intensely guarded. Whether it’s just part of her particularly alluring brand of mystique or simply a way to protect herself (her rise to fame began at age 13), Eilish has remained largely an enigma—a relatable, soulful, talented enigma. But on February 26, the 19-year-old is finally lifting the veil with an Apple TV+ documentaryBillie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, directed by R.J. Cutler. And on May 11, she’s planning to release a self-titled visual book filled with personal memories and never-before-seen pictures. Here, the singer-songwriter shares how it feels to be exposing the more intimate parts of her life and how, behind all the lyrics and awards and fans, she’s just a girl who’s sometimes still afraid of monsters.

On deciding to film a documentary

I never really thought about it. I wasn’t thinking of my life as interesting, and I definitely didn’t think a documentary about me would be interesting. But it was a discussion with my team; I don’t know how it really started. But I couldn’t be happier with it, honestly. It’s really personal. I think it’s really incredible and rare to get the biggest moments of my life captured like this.

On sharing more of herself and her journey with the world

I’m not ready at all. I didn’t really think I’d ever want some of this stuff to come out, but here we are.

On the monsters under her bed (and if she’s still afraid of them)

I actually haven’t been in a while. I went through a phase of having really bad nightmares and sleep paralysis and stuff. And I watched a lot of horror movies, so I used to not like to sleep alone [because] I thought there were monsters under my bed. They’re still there; I’m just less scared of them now.

On how the relationship with her brother has changed through the ups and downs of fame

Our relationship has only solidified. Finneas is my best friend and has been for years. We’ve only gotten closer and better at working together.

On looking back at her younger self through Cutler’s lens

I feel very sentimental about a lot of it, [but] it’s also hard to look back on parts of your life and wish you had done things differently. It’s really hard to watch some of it. I think it must be torturous for anyone to watch themselves at 15, and for me, I was filmed every second of my life, so it’s even worse.

On the process of creating her book

It was mostly cringey, but toward the end [it was] very cute and fun.

On her favorite memory in the book

I love all the Grammys pictures, and I love the pictures of me when I got my car.

62nd annual grammy awards press room

Eilish and her brother at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards on January 26, 2020.

(Image credit: Steve Granitz)

On her upcoming “new era”

For me, it’s just important to keep changing. I go crazy if I don’t change. This current hair color is the longest I’ve had any hair color since I was like 9 years old. This year, I’ve gotten so much better mentally, and I’ve been so much happier. And I’ve also been really busy, so I haven’t made a change, when I usually change shit about me every two months, like, drastically. I think you’ll have to wait and see what the new era brings.

Watch Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry on Apple TV+ starting February 26.

A version of this story appears in the Spring 2021 issue of Marie Claire.

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Entertainment Director

Neha Prakash is Marie Claire's Entertainment Director, where she edits, writes, and ideates culture and current event features with a focus on elevating diverse voices and stories in film and television. She steers and books the brand's print and digital covers as well as oversees the talent and production on MC's video franchises like "How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?" and flagship events, including the Power Play summit. Since joining the team in early 2020, she's produced entertainment packages about buzzy television shows and films, helped oversee culture SEO content, commissioned op-eds from notable writers, and penned widely-shared celebrity profiles and interviews. She also assists with social coverage around major red carpet events, having conducted celebrity interviews at the Met Gala, Oscars, and Golden Globes. Prior to Marie Claire, she held editor roles at Brides, Glamour, Mashable, and Condé Nast, where she launched the Social News Desk. Her pop culture, breaking news, and fashion coverage has appeared on Vanity Fair, GQ, Allure, Teen Vogue, and Architectural Digest. She earned a masters degree from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2012 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University in 2010. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and dog, Ghost; she loves matcha lattes, Bollywood movies, and has many hot takes about TV reboots. Follow her on Instagram @nehapk.