When it comes to spreading body positivity, Shania Twain is one of the world’s biggest cheerleaders. At 57, the international country music superstar and 5-time Grammy winner — beloved for her empowering anthems like “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much” — is embracing herself, accepting her body’s changes and wants other women to feel great about themselves too.
Here, in a Q&A for the newest issue of Woman’s World (see her new cover on sale now!) Shania opens up about her decades-long journey to body positivity, loving herself — flaws and all — her new empowering album and tour, Queen of Me, and…just getting naked every now and then.
Woman’s World: How has your confidence changed over the years?
Shania Twain: I’m dreaming out loud here, but I want to go to a remote area somewhere in the world and just have a nude weekend, just with the girls, the women I am the closest to. It makes you want to laugh, right? I wouldn’t have said that before! I just started looking at myself in the mirror naked as I grow older, and now, I’m so well into menopause, my skin is changing. Everything is changing and I’m finally feeling more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have. It’s been a journey to accept all of me. I’ve come a long way,
What does being nude symbolize to you?
ST: I’m not in any way being an exhibitionist — but I would love to be able to share that carefree confidence with other women. It’s like, “It’s just me and here I am!” I don’t want to spend my time looking at myself in the mirror going, “Oh gosh! I never wanted to be nude with other women on the beach!” I want to be okay with being naked with other women on the beach. I don’t want to be afraid or anxious of showing all the little flaws and scars that are adding up with age. I’ve become okay with that. I think it’s important that we learn to be okay with that.
What advice would you give women who are shy about their body?
ST: We all go through bodily changes over our lives, and I’ve learned it’s not about comparing myself to anyone else. It’s about what’s relative to us as individuals. So when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we are seeing ourself change. It’s not about judging how someone else is changing, or them judging you. Just accepting we’re all changing and evolving helps us see things differently.
How do you find the courage to accept and embrace your flaws?
ST: The more you see yourself naked, the more comfortable you will get with it. You’ve just got to do it. You’ve got to just dive into that and look. It’s a fear sometimes — it was for me — just to even look at your own self in the mirror. I had to push myself to leave the lights on full when I’m in the bathroom!
What other benefits does ‘facing the mirror fear’ offer?
ST: It’s also good for our health. We have to look for any new growths on our skin, check for signs of skin cancer and we have to be able to look at every inch of our body comfortably. The more you do that, the more you really look, the more comfortable you are with yourself in that and the more relaxed you’ll be about being in your own skin in general.
How did your new album, Queen of Me, inspire self-acceptance?
ST: Creating the album really made me reflect a lot. Self-reflection, self-empowerment and sharing it with other women is important, but it’s not about comparing. It’s more about “I’m the boss of me. I’m the queen of me. You be the queen of you and be the boss of you.” That means telling myself that it’s okay and positive to accept changes, good and bad, not fight the changes. Otherwise, I’m going to spend my life swimming upstream — it’s so exhausting not accepting yourself as you are.
You did a nude photo shoot for your new album — what was that like?
ST: I told myself, “Okay, I want to capture myself in the moment, the way I am right now, because this moment is only now — tomorrow, I’m going to be older, and the following day, I’m going to be older. My scars are going to get more stretched, whatever is going to happen is going to only go further.” So I captured it and went out of my comfort zone. I dove into that, and I am really proud of that. It changed my whole outlook.
What inspired the music on Queen to Me?
ST: I wrote the album during COVID, and it was so much about personal liberation and finding the human self-empowerment and saying, “Sure, I’m locked in the house, but I can either get depressed about it or I can write happy music,” and then change my frame of mind. I wanted to share that inspiration and hopefully cheer everybody up with some colorful, happy music. So it was a mind-over-matter practice for me personally that I am now sharing with all the listeners. When they need to put themselves in a good mood or they need to cheer up, hopefully this album will do that for them.
Deborah Evans Price believes everyone has a story to tell and, as a journalist, she considers it a privilege to share those stories with the world. Deborah contributes to Billboard, CMA Close Up, Jesus Calling, First for Women, Woman’s World and Country Top 40 with Fitz, among other media outlets. Author of the CMA Awards Vault and Country Faith, Deborah is the 2013 winner of the Country Music Association’s Media Achievement Award and the 2022 recipient of the Cindy Walker Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Western Artists. Deborah lives on a hill outside Nashville with her husband, Gary, son Trey and cat Toby.