The pictorial was not any sort of pre-calculated media stint, but rather Lovato was looking to making a statement about confidence, posing without any makeup or retouching in the buff.
"I thought there was something incredible about the idea of no makeup whatsoever, no clothes and no retouching," she said in a Vanity Fair video interview. "I would have never thought that I would have ever got to a place in my life where I would feel comfortable doing that. It's empowering me and it shows other women that you can get to a place where you can overcome the obstacles of body image issues and you can feel comfortable and confident in your skin."
Lovato has publicly discussed her battles with eating disorders in the past, so for her to expose herself in this way holds significant personal importance.
"I basically went from hating every single inch of my body to working on myself and trying to figure out ways to love myself and love the skin that I'm in," she continued. "I learned after working very hard on my spirituality and my soul and my body, I learned that you can get to a place where you love the skin that you're in and I'm excited to share that with the world."
The whole photo shoot came together with a sort of right-place-at-the-right-time scenario, so to speak. Vanity Fair photographer Patrick Ecclesine was in New York for a piece on Phil McIntyre, C.E.O. of music talent-management firm Philymack, who has launched careers of pop stars including Nick Jonas and Lovato, who Ecclesine had shot once before.
Lovato's great-grandfather Buddy Moore had died the day before and when she showed up they discussed her sadness. From there, it was Lovato's idea to do the shoot right then and there at 12:30 a.m. in a New York hotel room.
It's no coincidence, however, Lovato has a new album coming out Oct. 16 called Confident.
"If there's one thing I've learned in the past day, it's that life is too short," Ecclesine recalled Lovato telling him. "I'm about to launch an album that finally represents who I truly am. How do I embrace this new chapter in my life? How do I really walk the walk? What does it mean to be confident? It means letting go, being authentic, saying I don't give a fuck and this is who I am. I want to show the side of me that's real, that's liberated, that's free. What if we do a photo shoot where it's totally raw? Super-sexy, but no makeup, no fancy lighting, no retouching, and no clothing. Let's do it here, let's do it now."
See the full shoot here.