'I can't compete with that:' Kelly Clarkson reveals traumatic body-shaming incident

At one point in her career, she was shown naked women on magazine covers and told she needed to "compete" with them.
Billboard Music Awards - Season 2019
"Even in my thinnest, most fit moment, it's just not in my personality to be naked on the front of a magazine," Clarkson said.NBC / NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via

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/ Source: TODAY
By Kerry Breen

In an interview with Glamour UK, Kelly Clarkson revealed that during her career, she was once shown naked women on magazine covers as a comparison for her own looks.

She added that even when she was really thin, she was constantly pressured about her weight.

"I felt more pressure," she said. "It was more of magazines shoved in front of you and 'This is what you're competing with and we've got to compete with it.' I can't compete with that. That's not even my image. That's not who I am. That's who they are."

"There would a chick naked on the cover," Clarkson continued. "I'm not joking, literally naked. I was like, 'Unless I'm doing an SNL skit and this is a comedy thing, I'm never going to pull this off.' Even in my thinnest, most fit moment, it's just not in my personality to be naked on the front of a magazine."

Clarkson added that she "fought more when (she) was thinner" than she currently does.

"Now, I just walk in and I just look at them, like, 'I dare you to say something,'" she said. "I'm happy in my life. I'll work on me in my time."

Clarkson said that being hired on "The Voice" at her "heaviest point" was a major confidence boost.

"I got on the number one television show at my heaviest point, because it was right after I had kids, and it was like they didn't care," Clarkson said. "Paul (Telegdy, chairman of NBC Entertainment) hired me from NBC because he loved my personality, he loved that I connect with people and I'm really raw and real. It had nothing to do with my sex appeal or my look aesthetically. It had to do with me as a person. I think it's really up to artists to force people to have that mentality."

"That's not who I am," Clarkson said of some of the models she was compared to. Art Streiber/NBC

Clarkson said that she was first aware of how her look could affect her career when she was high school.

"This is going to sound so silly ... I was in high school, I always auditioned for things and I worked really hard at the vocal stuff because that was the thing I was good at," Clarkson said. "It wasn't even a huge part, but I just didn't get this part that I was going for, and somebody that got it was very beautiful and very not good at what they were doing. It was a hard lesson to learn, because I kept asking my mother, 'I did everything right. I worked so hard and it’s just because of my aesthetics.'

"I went into this very depressed state for a few months of my high school life," she continued. "I was like, 'So, I didn't get it because I wasn't pretty enough or skinny enough or what enough?' I was like, 'Wait, but that wasn't the point. It was a vocal thing.'"

After some time and introspection, Clarkson was able to learn from the upsetting incident and even take inspiration from it.

"Months later I realized, you're not always going to get what you want, even if you deserve it," Clarkson said. "It comes back to those issues of saying thank you to those people that really wronged me in that scenario as it made me who I am and made me really recognize I am talented, and I did deserve that."