Lana Del Rey recalls being literally ‘hit in face by book about feminism’ by disgruntled fan

Lana Del Rey is wearing a black jacket and looking off to the side while on the red carpet at the 2021 Variety Hitmakers Brunch.

Melancholic alt-pop queen Lana Del Rey has addressed the negative response she received when she crash-landed into the music scene in 2011. 

In a new interview with fellow indie icon Billie Eillish for Interview Magazine, Del Rey spoke about her experience of being “elbowed” in the street and having a book thrown at her face when her fame sky-rocketed.

While the Brit Award-winning star, 37, released her first album in 2010, it wasn’t until her 2011 song “Video Games” became a viral hit that the wider public started to take notice.

Speaking to Eilish about her early career, Del Rey said: “Once things grew on YouTube, I expected that there was going to be this very niche lane where I knew that I could thrive, but it didn’t really go that way.

“I quickly shifted right into the middle lane where everyone could see it and could hear the music. As soon as that happened, I knew I was in for it, but I didn’t know to what extent.”

The star explained that people started to “throw elbows” at her as she was walking down the street.

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“I was like, ‘Oh my god, no way did that actually happen. Someone recognized me and gave me a shove.’

“In San Francisco, I was eating at a bistro and a woman threw a book about feminism at my face. I thought I was completely in for it. I thought that all I could do was just keep touring. So, I toured for nine years and kept my head down,” she said.

As her career took off, Del Rey had to navigate intense scrutiny: her debut performance on Saturday Night Live bombed with critics, while others called her “fake” and “a persona”.

Continuing her discussion with Eilish, Del Rey said: “Everyone gets their fair share of think pieces, but there were definitely some 60-page articles about me being the face of feminine submission and the pro-domestic whatever.

“That was quite tough, because at the time, I was just trying to figure things out.”

The star referenced one interview with Rolling Stone, in which she felt the interviewer was goading her about her song “Sad Girl” – questioning why she referred to herself as a “girl” rather than a woman.

“I don’t feel like those kinds of questions get asked anymore,” she told Eilish. “For me, it was trial by fire.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Del Rey explained how her the title and visuals for her upcoming ninth studio album, Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd, were nearly completely different.

She explained how she almost called the album – deep breath, everyone – Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd Pearl Watch Me on Ring a Bell Psycho Lifeguard. Yes, really.

Speaking about the moment she almost switched the album’s title, Del Rey said: “That was a really psychotic day because I was like, ‘Am I willing to literally burn everything down to the ground by having some strange, nonsensical title?’”

The internet is already awash with meme reactions about the absurd 19-word album name. 

Lana Del Rey also told Billie Eillish that she decided to pose “nude” on the original album cover, but she later changed her mind.

“I thought about it, and I was like, maybe not right now, because there are some other things I want to do where I feel like that could get in the way,” she said.

Lana released her new single, “A&W” – which stands for “American Wh**e” – today (14 February).

Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd is released on 24 March.

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