Alicia Keys Opens Up About Dressing Like a Tomboy

Alicia Keys - P 2015
AP Images

Alicia Keys - P 2015

The performer wrote in a new blog post about why she once dressed more masculine.

Once known for having tomboy style, Alicia Keys has since opted for more feminine and flattering silhouettes on and off the carpet. As it turns out, there was a reason why the new face of Levi's Denim campaign once dressed like a tomboy — she wanted to avoid getting unwanted catcalls from guys.

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"I definitely started hiding when I got old enough to walk down my NY streets alone. I started to notice a drastic difference in how men would relate to me if I had on jeans, or if I had on a skirt, or if my hair was done pretty," the singer wrote in a blog post. "I could tell the difference, I could feel the animal instinct in them and it scared me. I didn’t want to be talked to in that way, looked at in that way, whistled after, followed."

She continued to explain that she hid with "the baggy jeans and timbs, I chose the ponytail and hat, I chose no makeup, no bright color lipstick or pretty dresses. I chose to hide. Pieces at a time. Less trouble that way."

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But her tomboy image didn't come without judgment. In putting on a tougher persona, Keys said "people started calling me gay and hard and I wasn’t gay, but I was hard and although I felt comfortable there, it made me uncomfortable that people were judging me and so slowly I hid that side of myself."

Now, a mother of two and an award-winning artist, the performer has broken out of her shell. Or better yet, she's a "Girl on Fire."

"You are allowed to be smart," she declared. "You are allowed to be tough […] You are allowed to be yourself!!"

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"I don’t have to hide anymore, I don’t have to pretend and hold back, I don’t have to think that my intelligence, beauty and sensuality are intimidating to others," she concluded.