Olivia Rodrigo has become an international superstar since winning over fans on Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and releasing her highly-anticipated debut album Sour in May. The “Drivers License” singer, however, is still shocked by her own fame.
“Never in a million years could I have expected the response that it got. It completely changed my life forever,” the Vogue Singapore‘s October cover star explained to the magazine. “It was an incredible experience to write a song that you feel accurately expresses intense heartbreak, pain and longing, and watch all of those sad feelings resonate with other people.”
From Taylor Swift praising Rodrigo’s song-writing vulnerability to Saturday Night Live even including the track in a hilarious sketch, the “Happier” singer shed her Disney child star roots to become a bona fide Gen Z icon. And, as if Rodrigo wasn’t already relatable enough, she’s open about still adapting to life in the spotlight.
“It was surprising to see who was genuinely supportive of me and who wasn’t,” Rodrigo, 18, told Vogue on Sept. 27. “Sometimes when you have a lot of success really quickly, it can scare people and make people feel different. That was an interesting thing to learn. I’m figuring it all out.”
While managing fame isn’t easy, Rodrigo makes sure to take time and prioritize her mental health. “I’m taking it one step at a time,” she said. “It can be really tough on your mental health, though. I’m grateful for the people who like me for me, and keep me separated from all the noise and tabloids or what people are saying about me on social media. That’s always been a top priority. It’s funny how recognition changes everything and also changes nothing in your life.”
It was also “hard” growing up with social media as a child actor. “Even now, I still struggle with it,” Rodrigo opened up. “You look at social media and see the perfect parts of people’s lives and it’s so hard not to compare your life to theirs. It’s even weird for me to see my Instagram page; that’s what people think of me but that doesn’t feel like me. I wish they knew the real me.”
And, she’s totally fine moving “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” as she navigates her career. “I don’t know who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing in life,” Rodrigo revealed. “I don’t think anyone really knows, but you get more comfortable with that uncertainty as you get older. It’s super fun to be constantly changing and figuring stuff out. I never want to stop learning and growing as a person.”
Rodrigo concluded, “Now I feel like I’m living my dream and that’s so incredible. Who’s to say what my dream in five years will be? It’s always changing. I have so many things that I want to do in this life, and I’m only 18. Writing songs is a small fraction of what I want to do.”