Nita Strauss has recalled how terrible advice she received as a young musician led her to chase an image that "wasn't authentic."
The former Alice Cooper guitarist, who is now working with Demi Lovato and also as a solo artist, says she was given bad advice, including being urged to "show more skin" or pretend she was single when she wasn't.
Strauss tells She's With the Band: "Early in my career, I got a lot of really bad advice. I started this career really, really young. I did my first national tour at 15 and dropped out of high school at 17 to try to do this full-time.
"And at the time, I had so many people telling me what I needed to do in order to be successful in this industry. People saying, 'You need to show more skin. If you have a boyfriend, you can't say that you're dating anybody because you need to appear available.' All this kind of stuff.
"And looking back, obviously, that's not the kind of attention that I wanted to get. I wanted to be known as a guitar player, and that was it. So once I realised that, I went the complete opposite way and I started really dressing down. I dyed my hair darker to stand out less. And I'd wear a men's large t-shirt onstage and baggy cargo shorts and started touring with heavier bands."
She soon realised that going so far in the opposite direction also wasn't being true to herself.
She adds: "I was, like, 'I don't wanna be a hot chick. I just wanna be a guitar player.' And that's not who I am either. And I kept getting pulled back and forth through this dichotomy of, 'No, you have to be the sex symbol,' and, 'No. You don't wanna be known for that. You have to just be a serious musician.'
"And the reality is where I am doesn't fit into either of those moulds. And it wasn't until I started just dressing how I wanna dress and acting how I wanna act. And, yeah, if I have a boyfriend, I'm gonna tell the world about it because I love him. And I don't need to appear single and I don't need to have fans think they have a chance with me in order to be respected and have people coming to my shows.
"Once I just started embracing who I actually am as a person, that's when great opportunities and great successes started coming to me. And when I was trying to just fit into some mould or another mould, I was just chasing something that wasn't authentic.
"It wasn't really who I am. So I just wish that I could go back and tell my younger self, 'Stop trying to fit into what other people tell you you should be, and just be who you are.'"
The full interview can be viewed below.
Strauss released a new solo single, Summer Storm, in August of last year.