American Vogue has gifted the world a Harry Styles spectacular, just in time for Christmas. Not only does the 26-year-old musical superstar cover the magazine’s December issue (the first man in American Vogue’s 128-year history to have his own solo cover)—as seen by revolutionary photographer Tyler Mitchell—but Styles also sat down with editor-at-large Hamish Bowles for a candid interview, which you need to read in full ASAP.
With rumours of a third album on the horizon, a Gucci film premiere on the way next week, and a starring role in Olivia Wilde’s forthcoming psychological thriller, Don’t Worry Darling, Styles—a seasoned cultural icon for a new global generation—may have also just discovered the key to happiness.
Consider 2020 saved: this is everything we learnt about Harry Styles from American Vogue’s blockbuster December cover interview.
1. Harry relies on twice-daily meditation for his mental health
“It has changed my life, but it’s so subtle. It’s helped me just be more present. I feel like I’m able to enjoy the things that are happening right in front of me, even if it’s food or it’s coffee or it’s being with a friend… meditation brings a stillness that has been really beneficial, I think, for my mental health.”
2. His first stage moment was… wait for it… playing a church mouse
“I was really young, and I wore tights for that. I remember it was crazy to me that I was wearing a pair of tights. And that was maybe where it all kicked off!”
3. He loved the One Direction years and they shaped who he is today
“I think the typical thing is to come out of a band like that and almost feel like you have to apologise for being in it. But I loved my time in it. It was all new to me, and I was trying to learn as much as I could. I wanted to soak it in…. I think that’s probably why I like traveling now—soaking stuff up.”
4. Harry’s dream is to move to Tokyo—Japanese fans take note!
“There’s a respect and a stillness, a quietness, that I really loved every time I’ve been there.”
5. Harry suffered from stage fright early on in his career
“I just always thought I was going to mess up or something. But I’ve felt really lucky to have a group of incredibly generous fans. They’re generous emotionally—and when they come to the show, they give so much that it creates this atmosphere that I’ve always found so loving and accepting.”
6. Creating his second album required him to be “fearless”
“[With the first album] I was very much finding out what my sound was as a solo artist. I can see all the places where it almost felt like I was bowling with the bumpers up. I think with the second album I let go of the fear of getting it wrong and… it was really joyous and really free. I think with music it’s so important to evolve—and that extends to clothes and videos and all that stuff. That’s why you look back at David Bowie with Ziggy Stardust or The Beatles and their different eras—that fearlessness is super inspiring.”
7. Harry believes in karma—and that 2020 is the moment for us all to open up
“I think it’s a time for opening up and learning and listening. I’ve been trying to read and educate myself so that in 20 years I’m still doing the right things and taking the right steps. I believe in karma, and I think it’s just a time right now where we could use a little more kindness and empathy and patience with people, be a little more prepared to listen and grow.”
8. Harry is a connoisseur of women’s clothes and takes joy in wearing them
“I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. It’s like anything—anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means—it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”
9. His musical heroes taught him how to embrace flamboyant stage style
“The people I looked up to in music—Prince and David Bowie and Elvis and Freddie Mercury and Elton John—they’re such showmen. As a kid it was completely mind-blowing. Now I’ll put on something that feels really flamboyant and I don’t feel crazy wearing it. I think if you get something that you feel amazing in, it’s like a superhero outfit.”
10. Harry’s biggest takeaway in 2020 is discovering the true meaning of happiness
“[Lockdown] has been a really good lesson in what makes me happy now. It’s such a good example of living in the moment. I honestly just like being around my friends. That’s been my biggest takeaway. ”