I’ve been thinking a lot about time capsules recently. Last weekend, I deep-cleaned my whole room and stumbled upon this time capsule I made when I was in Grade 1. It has clear instructions to open in 2022, so I still don’t know what’s in it, but I’m fascinated by what six year old me thought was important enough to keepsake for 26 year old me.
Yesterday, Vanity Fair shared their time capsule video with Billie Eilish. It’s part of a series they’ve done where they ask her the same set of questions every year and record how the answers have changed over time. At some points, they even get Billie to react to her old answers and honestly, it might possibly be the best video you’ll see this week, maybe even this month.
Huge Billie Eilish fan here. I saw her in concert, and it’s been so interesting to watch her meteoric rise. Also “Bad Guy” knocked “Old Town Road” out of the #1 spot, so Billie definitely has some serious staying power. I always forget that she’s 17 years old though, mostly because she doesn’t really seem 17 years old. You can see it in the video – there’s a self-assuredness and even wisdom about her that doesn’t line up with stereotypes about her age group, and the maturation is evident in contrast to her interviews from previous years.
I think my favourite thing about the video is the difference between 17 year old Billie and 15 year old Billie. In your teens, a three year gap is much more significant than when you’re an adult. There are just so many changes happening externally and internally, time just seems to move at a rapid pace. That’s why high school seems like it never ends. As we also know, celebrity time moves super fast (especially in the case of celebrity relationships). Which is why it’s always been fascinating to watch the transition from 15 to 17 for anybody, especially a Grammy-nominated teenager dealing with the pressures and intensity of fame. One of the best excerpts:
Q: Who’s your dream person to perform with?
Billie in 2017:
“Myself. I’m tired of everybody.”
Mood. The problem with fame is that it f-cks people up. It’s a huge mindf-ck to have millions of people know you and adore you and obsess over you. It’s a huge change to have sudden access to so much power and wealth. Now imagine all of that when you’re not even 18.
We have discussed often here at this site about what we do to our young celebrities, people like Millie Bobby Brown, Billie Eilish, and even Shawn Mendes. Billie narrates this terrifying fan interaction where someone grabbed her hand while in concert and refused to let go, despite the intervention of two of Billie’s bodyguards. She laments (albeit briefly) the ability to go out to like Costco or Trader Joes. Plus, being a young female star comes with its own set of dangers and challenges, particularly in the music industry.
The difference with Billie is that at least in that interview, she comes off humble af. She’s confident, no doubt. She’s aware of her success and is clearly enjoying the ride. But she recognizes the privilege she has, saying, “There’s a lot in fame that’s f-cking gross and horrible and just miserable, but I’m very grateful for it and it’s really rare and it’s really, I’m very lucky so I’m done complaining about it.” And maybe that’s why she has some wisdom beyond her years. It was this line that really got me:
Q: What’s most important to you right now?
“The most important thing right now, though, probably would be maintaining my happiness, which I’ve been experiencing for like, the first time in many years lately, which is really cool.”
Putting happiness before success, fame, money, friends, or really anything else? I haven’t even figured that out yet! It speaks a lot to how Billie, and many young artists, conduct themselves nowadays. Sure, there are a fair share of douchebags, but more and more, stars like Billie seem more aware and more careful about their happiness, about their ambitions in relation to their happiness, and about the way they view their careers. How will these answers change over time? (More celebrities should do time capsule videos.) Yesterday Lainey wrote about Taylor Swift’s award at the AMAs, and the fact that she got her start 15 years ago when she was 15. Billie was 13 when "Ocean Eyes" came out. In 2030 (if the planet still exists by then), will we be celebrating Billie as artist of the decade? Will she still be as wise and humble?