Born in Chicago in 1968 and raised in New York, Anastacia Lyn Newkirk is the multi-platinum star known for her mezzo-soprano voice. Anastacia became one of the best-selling female singers of the early 1990s with her debut album Not That Kind, which defined her career as I’m Outta Love. He then released six more albums and had number one hits in more than 20 countries. She was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in 2013, 10 years after the first, and she has supraventricular tachycardia from a heart condition. Their 20th anniversary tour, I’m Outta Lockdown, arrives in the UK in Autumn 2022.
This was taken in 2000, and I’m pretty sure he was in France promoting something. Looking at it now, I see a little cherub face and a girl combing her hair and buying her own clothes. In my head I looked really stylish in my shrug, princess skin, and T-shirt. And those white pants! I thought that white was the color of elegant people.
I didn’t sign with a label for a long time because it didn’t fit. It was the age of Britney and Christina and there was no one to model me on. In the end, not fitting in was also what made me sign. My A&R guy embraced who I was and understood how to bring out the best in me in terms of the way I liked to look and sound. However, it was a journey to get there. When I was trying to get a deal, people would say, “Can you sound more like Celine?” I tried. I even tried to sound like Mariah, but couldn’t hit her high notes.
I also looked different, I wore glasses. Men trying to pick me up said things like, “Oh, you look like a sexy librarian!” which I thought was gross. However, with a tint to the lenses, I felt cooler. Photographers would say, “You have to take them off” and I said, “If I take them off, I literally can’t see you. The whole world seems to be covered in petroleum jelly. “So I always left them on. If you don’t fight back, no one else will.
Because my career took off first in Europe, I never felt that sense of validation, like I had proven everyone wrong. Every time he came home, he was just a person walking down the street. I’d come to the airport and say, hey, where’s my car? There were no bodyguards with me at the time I got off the plane.
However, one of the most delightful moments of my career occurred in New York. Elton John is my total idol and we were introduced in 2000. He told me he was filming a show at Madison Square Garden and asked if I would do a duet with Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. At the end of the song, he knelt down and kissed my belly button. I was like, “Wait, what am I supposed to do here? He’s a gentleman. “I ran off stage when the song ended and screamed backstage. Did that just happen? Did I sit on a piano stool with Sir Elton John and play?
When I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It scared me because I had never had a boyfriend and I thought: OMG, I have a scar. [from a stomach operation] And no one is going to want to get close to me, because it just isn’t a pretty disease. There were some interesting guys who would say, “Oh, is that a C-section?” I would say, “Yes! He was a baby on his side. “But over time, I got used to the scar and began to show my abs. I ended up hugging my body so much that I went crazy, using the minimum of what I was allowed to show on screen, basically of rib cage down.
It became a topic of conversation. I didn’t care when male presenters made references about my body, as I never felt like they were more powerful than me. I didn’t feel objectified at all. I was like – my boobs are fucking amazing and they are huge! But do you touch them? Then you have a problem.
Guys stare and stare with their eyes all the time. That was [American broadcaster] Howard Stern character. He’s very sexual as a person on his show, but he’s actually a nice guy. And Jonathan Ross was the same. You put him in front of the camera for his talk show and he becomes a character, it’s something for the guys. Also, it’s hard to forget that they are there when I show them like this. Of course those guys should probably have the decorum not to mention it, but I was never invaded in any way.
If I hadn’t opted for a breast reduction in 2003 I would not have found out about my cancer until much later, but it was only in its early stages. Plastic surgeons don’t ask for a mammogram, they usually just come in and do their job, but mine did. I was lucky, but the diagnosis was shocking and my career was at one of its highest points. My first thought was: wow, is this how I’m going to die? I thought of a plane crash.
I never stopped writing during treatment. But when I started radiation, I felt tired, forgetful, and lifeless. It was torture when I had an idea and it left my brain before I had time to write it down.
The second time [in 2013], I had a double mastectomy, from which it was very difficult to recover. Doctors removed my back muscles to rebuild my breasts, so certain positions are difficult and I have terrible neck problems. Rather than insist on that, I’ve decided that my job is to get a message across to other people: don’t panic, get mammograms sooner than the doctor says. Go see what worries you so we can have it for longer.
I don’t think any woman really thinks that her body is the best thing in the world. There are always things you want to change. But as I get older, I understand that there is nothing I can do to stop the aging process. It’s hard for women, the 50s were bad with all the bullet bras and lacing your corsets, but nowadays with all these filters on social media, I think it’s even worse. At the same time, I see the really young generation come out with so much confidence and diversity: “I am them / them and I have green hair, accept it.” And they are 12 years old. It’s exciting, we need those kinds of rock stars.
I don’t even know how many surgeries I have had in my life. But every time I’ve been through shit, instead of feeling like an obstacle, I see it as a detour. You may have a longer way to get where you want to be, but trust the universe and have faith that it will lead you to something great. Find hope in a dire situation and move on.