“It’s wild,” she says. Does she ever want to hide from the exposure, the weight of all that fandom? She stills, then shakes off the question, or the troubles it leads to. “All the time. But I can do that. That’s the thing about diving into the hurt — I don’t need to do that. I’m starting to do better, but I’ve not been doing so great, to be honest. For a while. I have impending-doom feelings most of the day. When I think too much about it, how I can never have privacy again, it’s enough to make you want to do all sorts of crazy things. But you have to let it go.”
Letting things go is a hard lesson to learn for anybody, but a brutal one to learn when your every move is in the news, every relationship hyper analyzed. (I don’t ask her about her relationship status.) But it is clear she’s done some letting go herself, shaped by epiphanies she had on the road during her world tour. “There was this moment when I was in Paris, we were driving around, and I was in a bad place. It was not a good time for ol’ Bill. I was not getting better, and didn’t know when I would. And this motorcycle pulled up next to the car, and this guy’s helmet had a sticker on it that said in all caps, ‘Move on.’ I was sitting there like, Oh. Message received. I have a really big problem with control,” she adds, “so I’ve been trying to teach myself that there are things out of your control and you have to move on.” That means keeping things moving even when it might hurt. Her focus now is refusing to settle. “I have settled many times with things and people and life. I’ve settled for less than I deserved, and I’m not going to do that anymore.” She shifts again in her seat, and I consider whether we should get back to Ping-Pong so she can hit something and watch it sail through the air.
It’s the closest thing to closure I can offer, really. By now she’s been in the music industry for seven years and counting, and she’s on her third perfume. There’s no sophomore slump for her in either industry — her songs sell well, her perfumes do too. But in either space, beauty or music, she’s still likely to be one of the youngest in the room, surrounded by people who think they know better than she does. Both are industries that defer to older experts. She smiles, wickedly now, revealing the mischievous nature you see in her music videos. “I have to give credit to the person I’ve always been — I did not give a fuck at all. Between being a 14-year-old girl, and Finneas being a 17-year-old boy, and us making these little songs — we had to be very clear we weren’t going to just do what anybody said. People could have done crazy shit, and I didn’t let them. It was many, many years of having to convince a room full of people that I was going to do what I knew was right for me. I had ideas; I had plans.”