For decades, Christina Aguilera has had her finger on the pulse of pop culture, delivering hits we didn’t know we needed —from “Beautiful” to “Dirrty”—and a guilty pleasure performance for the ages in Burlesque, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
Naturally, 2020 is no different when it comes to Xtina’s all-knowing energy. “At the end of this year, I think we all need to have a good cry and a good laugh and put it to bed,” Aguilera said over Zoom, referencing her surprise appearance in Amazon Prime’s Yearly Departed special. She appears alongside powerhouse females, including Sarah Silverman, Phoebe Robinson, and Ziwe to eulogize the dumpster fire of 2020.
Xtina pops up at the very end of the proceedings, sporting a black veil and vinyl latex ensemble to perform the In Memoriam. She sings “I Will Remember You,” while laying to rest “Wearing bras, Melania’s prenup, Armie Hammer’s marriage,” and “the name Karen” among other things. As it turns out, Aguilera is bringing that own “out with the old, in with the new” energy to 2021 in everything from life to fashion. “I love to play a chameleon at certain points in my career,” the newly 40 Aguilera said. “I get bored with where I’ve been, where I’ve come from, and I like to reinvent things for myself and change it up.”
Ahead, Xtina opens up about inspiring the next generation of TikTok, spending time with her family, and the one place she won’t wear latex.
Was it weirdly therapeutic to perform an In Memoriam, something usually very somber, that felt comedic and celebratory?
Yeah, for sure. I think that we’ve had enough somber, to be honest, in real life. You couldn’t write what happened in the past year in actuality. It would be almost too far-fetched. So, at this point, we have to bring some light into the picture, and after the holidays, and some not being able to see much of their loved ones, I think it’s time that we can all actually, even if we’re apart, share in a good laugh together. So I think it’s much needed, very timely, and laughter’s the best medicine.
During the end credits, they showed that each person filmed their part of the special separately due to the pandemic. Did you get to meet anyone else in Yearly Departed?
I really wish that was doable, but no, for safety reasons and the pandemic we didn’t. I thought the production did a great job at trying to take all precautions necessary and part of that is having to film separately. And that sucks, because you can’t have the in-person camaraderie with the cast and all the special comedic energy and female energy coming together as one. But we still had conversations with the director from afar, and we still brought what we could to the table and it turned out to be a great piece.
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If you could eulogize one thing in 2020 that you were happy to say goodbye to, what would it be?
If I were to go up and make a eulogy, I think I’d keep it short and sweet, simple. We’ve all heard a lot of speeches this year. There’s been a lot going on. So I think I would just say, “Out with the old, in with the new” is the attitude in moving forward and moving on.
But if I were to remember some positives, it would definitely be getting to spend some quality time with my kids (Max, 12 and Summer, 6). Making sure I got to stay in one place and hibernate for a minute and process the past and look forward. I think many of us reflected on changes we want to make for the future. I think we can at least take away some positives on that note. But it’s been a very individual process for everybody, very personal. So, short and sweet, “Out with the old, in with the new.”
In this dark year, what are some of the positive things that you discovered and are holding onto in the future?
I guess moments where you discover new outlets for your creativity, or new outlets to have a laugh, share it with your fans. I think a lot of us got into TikTok this year. Whether it was a dance, or whether it was just having a laugh, I think we all resorted to that format this year and had our own fun with it, from behind the screen or in front of it. But that was a fun thing to dive into. And what else? Oh, getting better educated on, “How do I work Zoom calls?” So that was definitely a good takeaway in trying to figure out that technology, because that isn’t going away anytime soon.
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Many Gen Z TikTok stars seem inspired by your early 2000s looks, from the crop tops to the denim. What’s it like to see those trends get a new life?
I think everything comes back around. We’re all inspired by different genres and different styles and it is fun to see re-imagined versions of things that I put together back in… I don’t know, 20 years ago, I guess. I’ve had much to be thankful for in my career and to have that history behind me, and be able to inspire new generations is an amazing thing. It’s something I can truly be proud of. And it’s so fun to see how empowered much of this generation has become. It’s an opportunity through social media that I didn’t have coming up. To be able to squash certain rumors that the media might dictate, or comparisons, or things like that. There’s more camaraderie between female artists being able to join together and write their own narrative, rather than it always being dictated for us from a generation that I was from.
And being able to be more fashion-forward, being unapologetic about certain fashion choices, whereas before I think there was more backlash to be met with. You can’t please everybody at the same time and that’s something I’ve learned very early on. It’s awesome to be an inspiration for new females in particular, and men, who work it very well, might I say. It’s just fun to see my fashions be reinvented and played with.
What new fashion is Xtina dreaming up for 2021?
I love being comfortable. Even latex can be comfortable once you get it fricking on and off your body, but that’s a whole pain in the ass within itself. But I’ve been through the gamut of quick changes and fast pace on the road, so I’m no stranger to discomfort for a good cause, which is the end product of how it looks at the end of the day. But I do love mixing a combination of comfortable body suits and things that are body-hugging and then changing it up with some cozy, cool sweatpants and either a heel or a dope sneaker to juxtaposition that.
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Fashion is to be played with, fashion is to be fun. I’m so many different things from being more cozy in my studio mode, wanting to curl up on the couch and be creative, where I don’t want to be so conformed. I definitely wouldn’t wear latex to the studio. But then having show mode and having all the experience I have on stage, to really come to the table with new fashions and looks and something exciting for the performance. So I wear many different hats, but I like to incorporate them all in a cohesive thread.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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