Dixie D’Amelio on Heels, Haters, and Trauma-Dumping
Dixie’s star began to shine in 2020 as the goofy older sister to TikTok phenom Charli, before transforming into a pop singer with a fondness for PDA with her then-boyfriend, the heartthrob influencer Noah Beck. Three years, one reality show, and 23 million Instagram followers later, the 22-year-old musician speaks to our summer interns Apple and Ary as if she’s survived a lifetime of fame.
ARY RUSSELL: Hi Dixie, I’m Ary. I’m going to get started with our first question, which is, how and when did you decide that you wanted to pivot to music?
DIXIE D’AMELIO: Music has always been something I loved. My plan was to go to college in Alabama, but I wasn’t as focused on it anymore. The second I saw the opportunity to make the dreams I had of performing come true, I went into the studio. I feel like every day I’m becoming more and more connected to music, which makes me very happy.
RUSSELL: Did you do a lot of theater and things like that when you were a kid?
D’AMELIO: Yeah. I was always doing something. I did theater, I was in the orchestra, I was in choir.
APPLE MARTIN: I love a good theater kid.
D’AMELIO: [Laughs] It gets a bad reputation but I loved doing it.
MARTIN: I loved theater literally more than anything. And I still, embarrassingly enough, only listen to show tunes when I’m alone.
RUSSELL: Theater kids are the backbone of society. [Laughs]
MARTIN: We’re all part of the cool-kids club. So what’s it like making music about your personal experiences when your life is being publicly consumed on social media?
D’AMELIO: I think I’ve done a pretty good job, especially recently, of not sharing every single little part of my life. So much has happened in the past year, and every time something bad happens to me I’m like, “Oh my god, I can’t wait to write a song about it.” These past two weeks have been so crazy, not all negative, but just wild. I’m going to Nashville next week for a writing camp and I’m like, “I don’t even know where to start.”
MARTIN: Very cool.
D’AMELIO: The first album [A Letter to Me] was a very commercial experience for me. I did everything the way I was told, even if it was a cheesy breakup song. Now, I’m taking what I’m talking about in therapy and writing in my journal and making full songs out of it. But I don’t hate my first album. It was a learning experience, and now I’m ready to do something that feels one hundred percent me and not as rushed. Hopefully sometime this year I can put something out, either an EP or an album.
RUSSELL: You mentioned writing camp. Can you take me through that? Is it just a bunch of people sitting in a circle, like, divulging their deepest, darkest secrets, and turning them into a song?
D’AMELIO: I feel like it’s different for everyone, but I usually do one to two sessions a day. I’m usually with another writer and a producer and I go in with my therapy journal and trauma-dump until someone’s like, “Oh, that’s interesting. Go into detail about that.” And I love talking, I can tell anyone anything about myself. So it’s fun for me to be like, “Oh my gosh, you want to hear what happened to me?”
D’AMELIO: For my last album we’d have three studios writing at the same time and I’d spend five minutes in each and go back and forth. But I didn’t feel like I was getting any quality personal songs out of it. Whereas, when I’m in the room the whole time and able to write, I enjoy it much more.
MARTIN: Does it feel like you’re producing more genuine stuff that’s closer to your heart?
D’AMELIO: I knew at one point I was going to have to take a step back and really show myself, but I do the cheesy pop songs because it’s really fun. As annoying as some songs are—I love annoying songs. I love repetitive songs. But at the end of the day, music means so much to me emotionally. I connect every song to part of my life.
MARTIN: What has been one of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned from being in the limelight at such a young age?
D’AMELIO: Just staying true to myself. I love doing my own thing and not really feeding into what everyone thinks I should be doing, which probably isn’t great for my career. I could be doing a lot more, but I love being myself and I’m also very stubborn. And I’m very lucky to be so close with my family and talk to them every day.
MARTIN: Speaking of keeping everyone close, what is the most fun or wild stuff that goes on in your family group chats?
D’AMELIO: Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to start. Our most recent text is someone accusing someone else of stealing my dad’s hoodie and he is very upset about it. But then we’ll be sending TikToks back and forth. My dad’s always sending comments and being like, “Is this true?” And I’m like, “No, dad, it’s not.” I sometimes ask permission to go out, even though I live alone and I’m almost 22 years old. I’m like, “Hey, just letting you know I’m going out.” They’re like, “We don’t care. Go do what you want.”
MARTIN: That’s so sweet. I love that.
RUSSELL: I think it’s important to have people that keep you grounded and that you know will support you. But pivoting a little bit away from music, I’m very enthralled by this transformation you’ve had. I remember seeing you when I was in high school and your look was very jeans and a t-shirt, which is a cute vibe. But now I see you on Instagram in Valentino and really, like, high fashion brands. Can you take us a little bit through the transition from budding social media star to high-fashion “It” girl?
D’AMELIO: I’ve always been interested in fashion. I used to work at a clothing store in my hometown and I’d be dressing people for Coachella. My dad’s in the fashion industry and honestly he’s been my biggest inspiration. I would go shopping with him and be like, “Please tell me what to wear. What’s cool?” And he’d be like, “Okay, you need to get this shirt and whatever.” Which is so funny. I love being in the high fashion world and getting to do the fashion weeks. But I also love my everyday style, which is sweats and hoodies and dumb graphic t-shirts. Charli and I both—that’s our everyday look. I don’t wear anything that doesn’t make me comfortable.
RUSSELL: So you don’t subscribe to the beauty-is-pain mantra?
D’AMELIO: No. I’m really the worst. I will not wear a pair of heels if they hurt, which I need to work on because it’s very stubborn and very annoying of me.
MARTIN: [Laughs] So moving into the quick, fun questions—what’s your go-to Erewhon order at the moment?
D’AMELIO: Okay, so I only go when I’m working out because it’s healthy, I guess. I’ll get a salmon and rice thing, and the blue cloud whatever smoothie. It’s really good, but I only do it when I’m working out, otherwise I’m like, “There’s no point in eating this healthy.” I worked out these past few days but I don’t remember the last time I did before then.
RUSSELL: That’s so me on January 1st. [Laughs] I’m a self-proclaimed fan girl and I think someone’s celebrity crush says a lot about a person. So I’m giving you one shot. Who is your celebrity crush?
D’AMELIO: Oh my gosh. I need to go to my little-kid celebrity crush, Dylan O’Brien. My mom’s last name was O’Brien so she told me we were cousins when I was, like, 12. And then, when she told me that we weren’t actually cousins, I cried about it. [Laughs]
RUSSELL: Although you should have been happy that he wasn’t your cousin because then it’s a better chance of you getting together.
D’AMELIO: I was really confused. [Laughs] I was like, “Wait, so I can’t meet him?” I didn’t even care. I was like, “I just want to get to know him.” But yeah, probably him or Taylor Lautner.
RUSSELL: You’re on mute, Apple darling.
MARTIN: Sorry, I don’t know what happened there, but I was going to say I love Dylan O’Brien. Maybe it’s bad that I started thinking he was hot after the “All Too Well” video. [Laughs] What’s your favorite reality show?
D’AMELIO: Oh my gosh. I love really weird reality shows. I just finished watching MILF Manor. I was in pain the entire time watching it, but it was so entertaining.
RUSSELL: Is there anything that you regret not doing?
D’AMELIO: I think not staying consistent with posting is probably, not a regret, but I think I would’ve been in a different place if I continued doing that. But negative attention and negative comments brought me to that point. I also feel like it is what it is and I’m where I’m supposed to be. In the beginning, I was coming out to L.A. for a week at a time and not posting anything and just having fun. That’s probably a little bit of a regret, I guess.
RUSSELL: So negative comments caused you to want to distance yourself from social media?
D’AMELIO: I think yes, at times, because sometimes I can get a negative comment and I’m like, “Oh, whatever. What are they talking about? I’m the coolest person in the entire world.” And then I can get the same exact comment an hour later and end up in tears. I’ve gotten a lot better at handling it. Not posting as much helps.
MARTIN: That’s very understandable. So we talked a little bit about family, but who’s the first person that you call when you’re in a crisis?
D’AMELIO: My dad, one hundred percent. Well, usually my dad’s with my mom, but I also live with my sister, so when she’s home, I run into her room and I’m like, “Oh my god, my life is over.” [Laughs] And then I call my dad, we all kind of work on it together. We’re all so close and talk every day. But my dad is the best problem solver. He either tells me it’s not that big of a deal or tells me how I can fix whatever’s going on.
RUSSELL: Aw, daddy’s little girl. That’s sweet. I relate. My dad’s the one person where I’m like, “He’ll solve my problems for me.”
MARTIN: Same. Mine’s also really good if I need help with the crossword. [Laughs] Dads are great for random facts. If you could go anywhere, what would be your dream vacation and who would you bring?
D’AMELIO: My dream vacation would be getting somewhere and not being jet-lagged. [Laughs] I really liked Italy. I went to Naples with my family, which is where my dad’s family’s from, and we had the best time ever. I think I would just do that again with my family and my best friend.
MARTIN: That’s so sweet.
RUSSELL: I’m going to ask my last question. What is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
D’AMELIO: Oh my gosh. I don’t know. I fall a lot. I am very, very clumsy. A couple weeks ago I fell down a flight of stairs at a bar when I was with my parents. So that was pretty embarrassing. But I have to get used to it because I cannot stand up or walk without falling.
RUSSELL: I completely relate. I’m like the queen of clumsiness. When I was a kid, I was walking up the stairs and fell and had to get stitches and my dad was literally like, “I don’t understand. How do you fall up the stairs?”
D’AMELIO: I actually also fell down a flight of stairs like two months ago and fractured my foot. So that was really—
MARTIN: Wait, that’s what happened to me. Literally, I was running up the stairs and I tripped and broke my heel.
RUSSELL: I think we have a trio on our hands. The Clumsy Theater Kids.
D’AMELIO: Yeah, let’s just form a girl group.
Hair: Preston Wada using Bumble and Bumble at Rare Global.
Makeup: Yasmin Istanbouli at The Wall Group.
Nails: Tyler Macias at The Canvas Agency.
Special Thanks: L’ermitage Beverly Hills.