Britney Spears covers the new issue if Marie Claire UK as she continues to push the new album, Glory. Glory is expected to come in 3rd in its first week of sales, behind #1 Florida Georgia Line and #2… Barbra Streisand!

This surprised me. Did it surprise you? So far Glory has received decent reviews. And even though Britney, as we saw on Sunday at the VMAs, is not the top entertainer in the world anymore, she still is BRITNEY SPEARS, a mega star. The top three first sales weeks of 2016 so far belong to Drake (Views), Beyoncé (Lemonade), and Frank Ocean (Blonde). Frank sold 276,000 copies in his first week. Britney’s projected to come in at around 100,000. The numbers don’t match the hype. Is it because Make Me, the first single off the album, isn’t exactly lighting anyone on fire? It’s not a bad song. But I’m not sure it’s a song that people are CRAZY about. Britney has, arguably, much more name recognition than Frank Ocean. And Frank’s not exactly getting conventional radio play like Britney is expected to. And yet, he’s almost tripled her first week sales. I, for example, have paid for Frank’s Blonde. But I haven’t bought Britney’s Glory.

Maybe Glory is a late starter. Maybe, once more singles come out, people will get on it. But I wonder what it says about her place in the industry. And I wonder too how that will affect how they manage her career going forward.

As for this Marie Claire interview, everyone’s talking about the story she tells about a bad date she went on recently:

“I had a really bad date. I mean, it was really bad. I’ve been single for ages and had a date with a guy I liked. I was getting anxious, worrying he wouldn’t like me. In the evening I got on the scales and I had lost six pounds. We went to the movies, but I could tell right away it wasn’t working. It was sort of awkward. So after the movie I came home and that was it. It just didn’t work [...] He just wasn’t that into me. I liked him. He knew that. But he definitely didn’t feel the same. It happens to everybody. Being famous doesn’t make you any different.”

This makes me sad. Because as we’ve discussed in the past her love life has been “managed”. Is it that “management” that’s making sh-t awkward when she’s out on dates or is it awkward because she has pushed back on being “managed” when she’s out on dates?

One of the most devastating effects of early fame is that it can stunt you, arrest your development. Imagine experiencing superstardom when you’re still figuring out who you are? How does Britney self-identify? This is, to me, the most insightful answer in the interview. And it’s not about her love life:

“Becoming a mother and being with my boys has made me so much more accepting of myself. I'm their mom, whatever. That has been a really big thing for me over these last few years.”

I mean…I get it. I get that her children have grounded her. I get that they may even have saved her. But also, I’ve heard from other mothers, many of you, and my friends, who stress how important it is for them to be individuals in their own right. But for Britney, being an “individual” in her own right is this beautiful ugly thing, this thing that has made her an icon but which has also tormented and trapped her. How does she find an identity that exists in the space between fame and family?

Click here for more of Britney in Marie Claire. She just started eating sushi! Also I quite like how they’ve styled her here. And I especially like the cover photo. There’s a lot more spontaneity to it than we’ve seen of her in other magazine spreads.