Willow Smith recently opened up about the struggles she faced following the success of “Whip My Hair.”
The 17-year-old revealed to her mom, Jada, and grandma, Adrienne, that she used to cut herself to deal with the demands of the music industry on a recent episode of Red Table Talk.
The teen, who was nine at the height of the song’s success, says she was struggling to figure out who she was as executives demanded that she finish her album. “I was just like, ‘I’m not gonna do that.'”
Smith says that what followed was a dark period, where it felt like she was “plunged into this black hole.” “I was cutting myself,” she revealed, “and doing crazy things.”
Both Jada and Adrienne were shocked by the news as Smith explained that she would cut her wrists, making sure to hide it from friends and family, “[I] totally lost my sanity for a moment.”
Smith has been open about the struggles of growing up in the limelight with famous parents. In an interview with Girlgaze last year, she said, “Growing up and trying to figure out your life…while people feel like they have some sort of entitlement to know what’s going on, is absolutely, excruciatingly terrible — and the only way to get over it, is to go into it.”
She added, “You can’t change your face. You can’t change your parents. You can’t change any of those things. So I feel like most kids like me end up going down a spiral of depression, and the world is sitting there looking at them through their phones; laughing and making jokes and making memes at the crippling effect that this lifestyle has on the psyche.”
“When you’re born into it, there are two choices that you have; I’m either going to try to go into it completely and help from the inside, or…I’m really going to take myself completely out of the eye of society. There’s really no in-between.”
Fortunately, it seems the teen has found new ways to deal with the stresses of fame, telling her family during Red Table Talk that it’s been almost five years since she cut herself.
“It’s been five years,” she said. “It’s crazy. It’s crazy. A lot of adolescent girls struggle with self-harm.”
There are numerous resources for those struggling with mental illness or self-harm. Contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you or anyone you know is in urgent need of help.