Chloe Lattanzi, the daughter of Olivia Newton-John and Matt Lattanzi, talks about her music, her battle with an eating disorder and embracing happiness.
By Robin Raven / Special to The Malibu Times
“This sounds really weird, but Cool Whip is my guilty pleasure,” declares Chloe Lattanzi.
It is a pleasure that the 21-year-old Malibu native could not truly enjoy for many years, while she struggled with an eating disorder.
Lattanzi is a musical artist eager to be heard, whether speaking of pleasures, her performing career or her battle with anorexia nervosa.
When speaking of music she beams, looking as though her very pulse is in her music. She said she finds her style hard to put into a box, but describes it as “electro-soul-funk-pop-alternative-rock.”
“Truth” is what she said she would like her voice and music to stand for, if it could stand for anything in the world. Lately, she has had the opportunity to speak out about the truth of eating disorders.
Being a role model is a new status for Lattanzi, one she has taken since revealing publicly her own triumph over an eating disorder that is all too often life threatening. The singer appeared on the television show, “Entertainment Tonight,” the end of April, where the program focused on her battle with the disease, and has since appeared on other news outlets as well.
“You have to get to the core issue of why you feel you don’t deserve to live, which essentially is what it is,” the musical artist explained. “You have to get the core issue of why, because it’s nothing to do with food. It’s an escape. It takes years to get to that place, and it takes years to get out of it.”
Lattanzi, the daughter of internationally famous singer Olivia Newton-John and actor Matt Lattanzi, faced difficult circumstances long before her latest battle. She had lost her best friend, Colette Chuda, to a rare form of childhood cancer. She found out about her mother’s cancer from a student on the playground who taunted her about it. She had to deal with her parents’ divorce when she was still a child. Her mother’s longtime boyfriend, with whom Lattanzi was close, disappeared a couple of years ago.
Despite her early struggles, Lattanzi was able to follow her mother’s path, a career in the arts. In childhood, she starred in the acclaimed television movie, “Christmas Romance,” with her. They would both later star in “The Wilde Girls,” in which Lattanzi would sing her first duet with her mother.
Music has been a savior to Lattanzi-something, she said, that has seen her through the bad times and the horror of the eating disorder, which affected her early in life, suffering through her teen years.
“Even in my darkest times, that was why I kept going. It inspired me to get better because I loved my creativity so much, and that was the one thing that kept me alive.”
Her close friend, actress Johanne Storey, who worked on “The Wilde Girls” with Lattanzi, said of her friend’s music, “All of her songs come from her personal life experience; she wouldn’t be able to make the songs she makes if not for the person she is now. Generally, people ask how someone’s life is affected by their music, but the truth is Chloe’s music is affected because of her life.”
Now that she has healed, Lattanzi said she wants to speak out. Yet, speaking out has proven to be a double-edged sword.
“When you’ve gone through something, some people will never let you be better,” she said. “I’m a skinny girl. I’ve always been little. But, because of that, they’ll always have that opinion that you’re not going to be okay. Recovery’s a long process, too. I have the eating behaviors of a normal person, but you still may have some of the thoughts you had before. It’s a long process, but physically and mentally, I’m in a really good place.”
Although she has no problem in speaking about her personal dealings with anorexia, she does wish to focus more on her career than anything else. In a posting on her myspace.com site regarding the “Entertainment Tonight” interview in April, she wrote to her fans, “Just wanted to let you know, they’ve focused this interview not just on my music but also on the fact that I’ve had an eating disorder. You know the media; they have to focus on the drama to draw people in, before they can focus on the important stuff-the music! Just wanted to warn you so you’re not shocked if there’s a slight dramatic spin on the interview. But it was worth doing so I could get my music out there, that’s all I care about, is getting my music to you.”
Still, Lattanzi speaks with determination in advising others who are still suffering. “Don’t be afraid to really let people around you know what’s going on inside you, don’t be ashamed,” she said. “I can only speak for myself, but you feel like a burden when you have an eating disorder, and you don’t want to talk about what’s really going on inside you because you’re ashamed or think that people will think you’re weird. But you’re not.
“I think all human beings share the same thoughts and emotions. We all do,” she continued. “We have this illusion that we need to be perfect for everyone else. Or at least I did. And be real and find people around you that accept every aspect of your being, and don’t be afraid to open up and really talk about what’s going on, because if you don’t, it will just eat away at you.”
In a music industry that can simultaneously cradle and strangle an artist, Lattanzi is ready to take on its challenges. She has even changed the name of her debut album from its previously titled “Lonely Nights in Paradise” to a “No Pain.”
“I just think that I’ve come to the point in my life when I’m really embracing peace now and happiness. It’s good to be at a place now when I’m happy,” she said. “Life is ups and downs; that is the beauty of it. I’m accepting that, right now, I’m good. I’ve been through enough, and I’m embracing happiness now.”