Standing on a circular platform on stage, a faint spotlight shines on Kelly Clarkson. She leans against a thick column.
During breakfast, an eight-year-old girl moves her cereal around in her dish while her parents fight.
At sixteen-years-old, she sits with her boyfriend in his car. She tries to explain why she’s ticked at him and he shrugs it off. While taking a bath, she takes a deep breath and sinks to the bottom of the tub.
Clarkson walks up the steps to the platform on stage.
As a twentysomething, she frowns during a meeting with her two record company executives. They mark photos from a recent shoot. One man holds her submitted album in his hands and puts his hand on his forehead.
From her bedroom, as an eight-year-old, she watches her parents continue to fight. Her boyfriend touches her cheek and she removes it from her face as she gets out his car. She lets out a scream in the bathtub. Her boyfriend follows her to the door and she closes it on him. Her mother sees her daughter by the window and sighs. As an eight-year-old, she sits on her swing and watches a bird chirp.
Camera flash as she walks to her. Inside, she looks up and sighs. She scrolls through the newsfeed on her phone. She stares into a mirror.
The various incarnations of the young woman walk up the steps and stand behind Clarkson on the circular platform. They follow her arm movements and blend into her. Clarkson looks over her shoulder. The spotlight becomes faint again.
As a child, Kelly Clarkson experienced tense meals with her parents. Her father usually started something once he sat down. He nitpicked at her choice of vegetables and criticized her parenting style. After dinner, her mom tried to talk to her father in the backyard. However, she could still overhear. Her mother told her she wasn’t responsible for it. But she knew her family was falling apart and didn’t want to lose either of her parents.
Without a father throughout most of her life, she attracted guys who were distant and noncommittal. At sixteen, she dated a young man who dismissed her feelings. However, once she called him out and tried to leave, he begged for her to listen. It became for a pattern for her to fall for the cold guy who kept her at arm’s length. After being hurt, she finally started doing the same.
Nonetheless, it allowed her to deal with her toxic bosses at the record label. They demeaned her lyrics and criticized her weight. Growing up, music had been her lifeline. She thrived on feedback and although some teachers had been tough, she learned from them. However, her bosses threatened to pull promotion and waved the fine print of her contract in her face, informing her she had no choice.
She is in a good place now, though. She has a loving husband and two beautiful daughters. She has signed onto a new record label which supports her. Her father no longer tries to contact her. Her family visits her all the time. She has the life she always wanted.
Director: N/A Year: 2018
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