Those who didn’t fully digest Beyonce‘s visual when it was released might have missed the message in the video for “Pretty Hurts.” But the singer wants to make sure people have a second look so she has given the video it’s online premiere on her website and MTV News has a behind-the-scenes look into the Melina Matsoukas-directed offering, which looks at the controversial world of beauty pageants and society’s emphasis on physical beauty.
In the “Pretty Hurts” video, Beyonce portrays a pageant contestant named Miss 3rd Ward, who is struggling with the pressure to maintain her appearance, even going as far as receiving a faux facelift and Botox injections.
“It represents all of the things women go through to keep up with the pressure that society puts on us. I wanted to tap into the world of competition,” Beyoncé says in the behind-the-scenes clip. “Some of the things young women go through is just really heartbreaking for me.”
Matsoukas comments that she drew inspiration from Beyonce, who seemingly faces the same pressure in real life.
“I was definitely inspired by this image she has as a child where she’s in front of her fireplace that has these trophies all over it,” Matsoukas said, regarding one of the scenes where a current day Bey trashes an accolade-filled room. “I wanted to recreate that and have her break them. You know, show that it doesn’t really advance you to get these awards, that it’s just based on outer beauty.”
“When you get this trophy, and you’re looking at it, is it worth it?” Beyoncé asks. “That song represents finding that thing in the world that makes you truly happy.”
In conjunction with the online premiere, Bey has also launched the #WhatIsPretty campaign, inviting fans to upload a photo or video to Instagram that captures what the word “pretty” means to them.
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