Demi Lovato opened up about her life changes over the past year while making her first public appearance since her July 2018 overdose and subsequent hospitalization. Lovato took the stage at the Teen Vogue Summit on Saturday for a frank interview with editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner, a move that she admitted filled her with some trepidation.

“I’ve gone through a lot, and this is really my first public thing, so I’m a little nervous,” Lovato said before the audience gathered at L.A.’s Goya Studios. “Over the past year, I’ve learned a ton. I feel like I’m more in tune with who I am now, where I’m at today.”

Describing the past year as “very introspective,” Lovato went on to say, “I’ve learned a lot, I’ve been through a lot and I think as time goes on, as we are being faced with challenges in our life, on a daily basis like we all are, we are all human.”

Lovato reflected on the pressures of growing up in the spotlight and the expectations that came with serving as a role model for young girls. “I wish that I had known it’s best to live your life without regretting anything,” Lovato said. “I’ve regretted so many years trying to put on the role model front rather than just being true to myself and being me.”

The “Sorry Not Sorry” singer said she draws strength from focusing on her physical health and surrounding herself with a loyal network of friends and family. “Building great relationships in my life makes me feel strong too, because then I know I have a great foundation and a great support system behind me as well.”

Lovato candidly referenced struggling with an eating disorder in the past, which she said led her “down a dark path.” She emphasized embracing body acceptance over body positivity, acknowledging that while she doesn’t always feel positive about her body, she has made peace with that. “What nobody taught me and what I had to figure out for myself over the past six to nine months is that I have to be okay with where it’s at in this moment,” Lovato said. “All I have to say is I’m healthy and, in that statement, I express gratitude and I am grateful for my strength and what I can do with my body.”

“What people don’t realize is that I’m actually an extremely sensitive person,” Lovato said, responding to a question about how she handles negative online comments, adding, “I am human, so be easy on me! I’m so tired of pretending like I’m not human. It’s one thing that I won’t do anymore.”

She also weighed on the controversy surrounding cancel culture and the importance of forgiveness. “We live in a day and age when everyone is so quick to cancel everybody and I’m really tired of it. You know, people make mistakes,” Lovato continued. “You can’t worry about everybody but if you did say something that is wrong, then learn from it and think, ‘Okay, what can I do to not make this mistake again?’”

Lovato explained that she hopes there will be more public attention given to her professional achievements rather than her personal trials. “Genuinely, I just want people to remember that I’m a singer. I think a lot of the things that I have been through have kind of outshined my successes in the music industry or acting now,” Lovato said. “And if I can help people with the things that I have learned, definitely – in due time.”

The crowd erupted in cheers when Lovato teased that she would be releasing new music. However, she was quick to qualify, “I didn’t say when! So, here’s the thing, I know you guys have wanted it since I released my last album. But It’s important to remember that I am so cautious this time around of jumping back into things. I really decided to take my time with things.”

“When the time is right to release new music, I will put it out there and nobody is more anxious than you guys than me,” Lovato continued. “I am dying to release new music.”

Lovato said that she is proud of who she is now. “What I see in the mirror: I see someone who has overcome a lot,” Lovato said. “I don’t see a championship winner in there, but I see a fighter, and I see someone that’s going to continue to fight no matter what challenges are thrown their way.”

Looking back, Lovato said she wished she had been able to understand the downsides that would come with immense fame when she first entered the entertainment industry as a child.

“But I wouldn’t change the direction of my life for anything. Like I said, I have learned so much. I would never regret anything. I love the person that I am today.”

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