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Shania Twain on learning to love herself: 'I wasn't blessed with prettiness'

/ Source: TODAY

Country singer Shania Twain may be the picture of confidence when she struts across the stage, but it wasn't always that way.

The star opened up to InStyle about not feeling beautiful as a child, and how she got in touch with her feminine side as an adult.

"I wasn't blessed with prettiness," said Twain, who grew up in rural Canada. "Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were poor and moved around a lot, or that my mother kept my hair short, but I was always mistaken for a boy. I wanted to wear pants and go hunting with my dad, while my two sisters wore dresses and were fair, blond and a lot cuter."

Twain, who performed on TODAY this summer as part of our Citi Concert Series, said she struggled with puberty.

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"Even in high school, when my body was developing and all the curves came in, I didn't get a sense of my femininity," she continued. "I wasn't ready for the changes, and I didn't enjoy them. I didn't accept who I was until I was out of high school and starting to wear stage clothes. I started recognizing that, 'Oh, I'm the girl in the band. Maybe I'm supposed to wear makeup and style my hair.'"

When it came to getting glam before shows, Twain was lost — her dancers had to teach her how to walk in high heels, she said: "It was hard and I would think, 'How am I ever going to sing and wear high heels at the same time?'"

Of course, she figured it out, and today she loves the fashion aspect of her job.

"It was a new playground for me — picking the fabrics, colors and images was a very creative process," Twain, 52, said. "It wasn't just about what to wear to go out on a Friday night; it was about becoming an artist."

The singer also opened up about some of the hard times she's faced since starting out, from her divorce to health problems.

"A lot has changed since then — I've divorced and remarried, been diagnosed with Lyme disease, lost my singing voice and had to rebuild my vocal cords," Twain said. "But even now, when I'm all dolled up, I feel as though I'm the same person onstage. It's a mood change more than anything.

"The minute I walk out there, I'm with everyone, and we're at this party all together."