Emmy Russell Details Eating Disorder That Inspired Her Song “Skinny”

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Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter Emmy Russell revealed that her song “Skinny” was inspired by her struggle with an ‘out of control’ eating disorder.

Emmy Russell, the granddaughter of the late country music icon Loretta Lynn, showcased her talent on this season of American Idol with an original song titled “Skinny.”

Emmy made a bold choice by removing her makeup for her audition, allowing the judges to see her true self. This authenticity resonated in her performance, earning unanimous approval from all three judges who awarded her a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

Unveiling Personal Struggles Through Her Music

During her Idol audition, Emmy also showcased another original song titled “Breakup Song,” which she later released to the public.

Now advancing to the Top 24 in the competition, Emmy shared with PEOPLE the personal journey behind her music. During the interview, she detailed her battle with disordered eating and how she turned that challenging experience into the emotional song “Skinny.”

Navigating Through Her Struggles

Emmy’s struggle with her eating disorder first emerged during high school but appeared to be under control until several years later. It was during a mission trip to Brazil at the age of 22 when she began to notice troubling signs that her health was deteriorating once more.

“I struggled a lot with physical beauty image pressures and social media. I kind of grew up in the spotlight and so I was always very image-conscious,” the now 25-year-old revealed.

“When I wrote ‘Skinny,’ I felt a weight of responsibility [and thought], ‘I don’t need to go back to this. I know it’s bad for me.’ And so the more that I sing it, it’s almost like the more that I’m delivering myself, and I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. Now I got that feeling out. Now I am above it.’ Beauty from ashes, that’s music for me. It’s like the ashes are the pain, and I make something out of it.”

Emmy’s Journey To American Idol

During her recovery, Emmy wrote “Skinny” and decided to release it on Song House. The song gained traction and went viral, catching the attention of a casting professional from American Idol.

“I was scared a lot, so I think American Idol pushed me to be like, ‘Oh, I can do this, and people actually like me, and they relate to my story,'” she said.

Listen to Emmy Russell sing “Skinny” in the video below.

Offering Guidance To Others

Emmy then shared advice that helped her through her struggles, offering it to those facing similar challenges.

“I feel like talking about it is the best thing, tell your family, talk to a therapist. I feel like just talking about it is the first step,” she shared.

“And realize that your beauty is deeper than skin. That’s kind of my mantra is beauty’s deeper than skin. It’s who you are inside. What are you passionate about? Who are you? Who are you? You’re not just this. This just carries your human experience.”

Emmy’s journey stands as a profound example of the power of resilience and self-expression in navigating personal struggles.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, visit NationalEatingDisorders.org. You can also call the Mental Health Services Administration 24 hours a day at 1-800-662-4357.