Larissa de Macedo Machado, aka Anitta, is a force of nature. The Brazilian singer shot to fame in 2013 after releasing the single "Show das Poderosas" with an accompanying music video, which was viewed more than 150 million times on YouTube. That same year she was at the top of iTunes in Brazil, and four years later was named one of the most influential celebrities in social media, according to Billboard. That's not surprising, considering she has nearly 55 million Instagram followers. But the 28-year-old recently hit another career milestone by appearing in the upcoming SI Swimsuit issue, something she was born to do. Yes, Anitta is not afraid to rock a bathing suit and has also become a symbol of female empowerment. Here she chats about her secrets to feeling confident and what's still in the works for her career path.
What's your experience been like getting to work with SI Swimsuit?
"It was very special. I'm Brazilian, so I didn't realize how big and important the magazine was. Then I started to understand how iconic it is. And I'm so happy to be a part of it. The team [at the photo shoot] was very nice, and it was so many looks!
What's the secret to feeling confident in a bathing suit?
"It's very hard for you to feel confident in a bikini. I think [you just need] to stop thinking overthinking. Sometimes overthink. If you think that you look amazing, you will look amazing. It's all a matter of mindset."
You are such a symbol of female empowerment and confidence. Where does that come from?
"If I don't think amazing things about myself, who is going to do it? So I just decided to be this person that makes compliments for myself. And that's it. I don't need other people to embrace my beauty or my personality. I will be the one who thinks it's amazing. And that's it. I think we need to be the first ones to love who we are."
Not all women are in that headspace. What advice do you have for other young women who might be struggling with confidence?
"You should just look for the things in yourself that you love. For example, I don't love some things about my physical appearance or character, but I try to look to the positive side and bring attention to those parts that I think are the good ones. We're not supposed to love every single part of us. Everybody has imperfections. So I just look at the positive ones and put that on level 10."
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
"It's don't care about what people think and don't be afraid of people. I was very scared of people, afraid of their opinions, their criticism. I was like that a long time ago, but then I got this advice from my mom. So nowadays, she cares more about what people think than me."
You're so young, but what's been a highlight for you in your career?
"I reached my biggest and credibility and size in my country. And then having so many other countries knowing my work and my music and who I am, that's very important to me. I feel like I've reached the biggest goal ever. Being Brazilian, we never had something like that happen in my country in music. I don't wish for more. Of course, I want to keep working, and if more comes, I'll be grateful. But, I don't depend on that anymore to feel satisfied for me to feel happy. I'm 100% satisfied and happy."
Reaching that level comes with a lot of pressure. So how do you handle it?
"It's a lot of pressure, and in Brazil, they demand a lot from you. You have to think about public politics and give it back to them somehow what they did for you. And I see no problem with that. But, I need to be very careful how I'm going to do this and be responsible for what I'm going to say. I study a lot to make sure I don't send the wrong message. They care a lot about our opinion. That's why I really take care of it."
What's still on your bucket list career-wise?
"I think doing a movie and challenging myself with acting."
What are some projects that you have going on now?
"I have my albums, and I'm working on some singles that I'm going to put out. I'm studying, acting, writing some things. I'm very chill right now. I'm not working as much as the way it was before. I think in 10 years doing that, and I enjoyed zero of my time. So, I'm just taking the time for myself, enjoying my life a little bit. I was too much working and not living."
So, what do you enjoy doing during your downtime?
"I love being by myself and watching movies. But I love going out nowadays because I've never had this time in my life to go out and have a nightlife. So, now I'm partying a lot, going out dancing, and hanging with my friends. But, what I love to do most is hang out with my family, which I can't do right now, and have a movie session in my house with my whole family."
What inspires your creativity?
"There are two things that bring a lot of creativity and ideas. One, I'm very relaxed and chilling and doing nothing. The other is when I'm very angry or stressed about something. I'm not a revenge person. I believe the best revenge is when you do great for yourself. So, whenever something bad happens, I only can think about growing up myself. And then I come up with ideas."
Obviously, this past year has been crazy for everyone. How did you handle the pandemic?
"I learned a lot. I was very pressured to be successful and to get things done. And now I'm just chilling. I'm just enjoying it. I learned that it doesn't matter if you plan everything. We can’t have the perfect plan for our lives. I knew what I would be doing this in five months than in six months, and then everything fell apart. Things are going to happen the way it's supposed to happen. So I'm just letting it go. I'm just chilling."
Click here to see more photos & videos of Anitta.