The stunning transformation of Halsey

Halsey found fame differently than other stars. It used to be that in order to get a record contract and become a famous artist, you had to catch the attention of a bigwig exec who would champion you and make you a star. But that was before social media, which has completely changed the game when it comes to who can get famous — and how. Such was definitely the case for Halsey, who ascended into celebrity thanks to her social media savvy, rendering her a bona fide pop star.

But Halsey wasn't always Halsey, as she was born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, the child of two blue-collar parents in the state of New Jersey. It was from these humble origins that Halsey emerged, finding solace and refuge in the arts and becoming a brand thanks to her creativity and talent.

So what else is there to know about Halsey, who's an open book about almost everything? How has she been shaped by her life experiences, and how has she changed since she was a little girl? This is the stunning transformation of Halsey.

Halsey's parents dropped out of college when she was young

On Sept. 29, 1994, Halsey was born to Nicole and Chris Frangipane, a white security guard and a black car salesman. The couple had gotten pregnant young, and they ended up dropping out of college to take care of the family (via Rolling Stone), often moving to chase better opportunities. "My parents moved where the jobs were," she recalled in an interview with Marie Claire. "For a while we lived in Elizabeth, which is the f**king ghetto, and I'm living on a street with mostly black kids, and I have no idea I'm white, like not a clue."

Because her mother had bipolar disorder — signs of which often include depressive episodes and manic states — Halsey's childhood was somewhat chaotic, which she shared with two brothers as well. "We'd be like, 'What's for dinner?' And she'd be like, 'Ice cream and rollerskating,'" she continued. "And we'd go to the roller rink and eat ice cream for dinner." While that might sound fun for a child, as an adult it's not exactly the most nourishing and nutritionally sound approach to parenting.

Halsey was influenced by both of her parents as a child

Neither of Halsey's parents had jobs in creative industries, but that didn't stop her from being influenced by their passions and talents. For one, her pierced and tattooed mother would talk at length about her musical interests, which Halsey absorbed like a sponge. Additionally, her father never forgot a face, and would remember each and every one of his customers when he ran into them down the road. "Watching my dad be like that affected me as an artist tremendously," she revealed in an interview with Glamour. "I have met tens of thousands of fans; I don't forget any of them. Ever."

While her father was arguably the more practical parent, it was Halsey's mother who ensured that she got the violin she asked for one Christmas, despite her husband's protests. "We can't hold her back," her mother insisted. "We don't know what she can become." In that case, it's definitely fair to say that Halsey's mother was 100 percent correct. 

In high school, Halsey was an artistic misfit

By the time Halsey found herself in high school, she was a bit of a loner, unable to fit in with the popular kids and the jocks. So Halsey turned inward, throwing herself into working on the high school yearbook and nurturing her artistic talents. "I didn't have a lot of friends, and my family moved a lot," she shared in an interview with Glamour. "I was on Myspace when I was 14, which was so inappropriate in retrospect."

While her mother couldn't quite understand why Halsey was spending so much time online, according to Rolling Stone, for Halsey, Tumblr and other sites were places where she could find real connections with other people — even if it was just venting. "I was putting my content out there, this projection of myself," she continued to Glamour. "I didn't know what I was doing. I was just screaming into the void."

Halsey's social media prowess would pay off down the road, as she had built up quite the brand by the time she was ready to bring her music to the masses.

At 17, Halsey was diagnosed with bipolar disorder

When Halsey was 17 years old, she already had a lot on her plate, given her ever-changing address and her difficulties at school. That was also the year that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, something she shared with her mother — after attempting to take her own life and being committed to a mental hospital. "It was a lot of things happening at once, with a complete lack of direction," she confessed in an interview with Glamour

Halsey spent 17 days at a psychiatric facility, and, at some point, she realized that she wanted to live rather than die. But after that, she was put onto Seroquel and, at a later point, lithium, both of which she absolutely hated. "I was throwing up at school," she shared in an interview with Marie Claire. "I spent my whole adolescence medicated."

In retrospect, the experience is something Halsey looks back on without shame, as it's given her both context and wisdom. "Given what I've been experiencing the past couple of years?" she pondered to Glamour. "If I hadn't already had my meltdown, who knows when it would have happened?"

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Halsey got into RISD, but couldn't afford to go

One very real thing that Halsey took away from her attempt to take her own life was the importance of her art, something that became a very fulfilling outlet for her. "I have obviously been given this massive privilege and responsibility to effect change," she revealed in an interview with Glamour. "At the end of the day, no matter how meaningless one person might consider my art, it could have meant the world to somebody else."

So after she finished high school, having apparently done fairly well academically, she got into the Rhode Island School of Design, a well-known and prestigious art school. However, the cost of attending proved to be too high for Halsey, so she ended up enrolling in community college instead. Eventually she dropped out of school altogether, finding the experience at that institution to be "a waste of time," according to Glamour. Instead, Halsey decided to try her hand at being an artist on her own terms. 

Halsey moved to New York City to chase the bohemian dream

Unmoored from her parents and finished with her formal education, Halsey decided to try making it as an artist on her own in New York City. But given how expensive it can be to live there, Halsey found herself in a precarious predicament. "I was literally living on the Lower East Side in a f***ing heroin den, like with all of these artists," she recalled in an interview with Glamour. "It was 2014, the last year that New York was kind of bohemian."

While it was a productive time for her, artistically speaking, Halsey's early years in New York were challenging because of her unstable living situation. "Thinking all my friends were going to die and being by myself and being terrified. It was easily the darkest time of my life," she admitted in an interview with The Guardian. "The one thing I was doing was maintaining my persona online. I never let anyone know I didn't have a home." And that, she added, was one thing she did especially right.

"Ghost" made Halsey a star overnight

In 2012, after becoming quite the popular presence on Tumblr and social media, Halsey wrote and recorded the song "Ghost" at a friend's studio and put it up on Soundcloud. "I wasn't in bands, I didn't have any representation, and I had no interest in being a singer," she revealed in an interview with Interview magazine. "It was just a cool song and I had some friends who were like, 'If you put this up and it gets popular, you can make a quick thousand bucks.'"

However, the next morning when she woke up, Halsey discovered that the song had gone viral, thanks in part to her social media fan base, and five different record companies had heard it. That, of course, was a life-changing event, and it launched Halsey's career as a musician. "That's when all the pieces of the puzzle came together and it dawned on me that it wasn't about making $1,000; it was about what I was supposed to do," she continued. "I had 24 hours to decide and the decision was very easy to make. From that day on I've been an artist."

Thus Halsey was born!

Halsey was in a very depressed place when she made Badlands

After signing with Astralwerks in 2014, Halsey dropped her first full-length album, Badlands, in 2015, which was a semi-autobiographical concept album with a dystopian sci-fi theme. But despite the fact that she was in a very good place artistically, Halsey was struggling with her mental health. "I was in a really, really, really depressed place when I was writing Badlands," she confessed in an interview with Paper magazine. "I wasn't sure how I was gonna escape that mentality because when you're depressed, that becomes your identifier sometimes. You're the depressed girl." 

Although Halsey, of course, didn't want to be depressed, the notion of getting better was also a threat to her identity at the time. "And then the idea of becoming happy — while it's nice — it's scary," she continued. "Because if you become happy, then who do you become? Because who you are is depressed."

Badlands did very well commercially, according to Billboard, which had to have Halsey smiling about her success.

Halsey regrets sharing this one thing publicly

Halsey is a pretty open book. She's open about being bipolar, biracial, and bisexual. But there is one thing that she regrets sharing with the media. "I spoke out about a miscarriage that I had on tour to Rolling Stone about a year and half ago," she confessed in a 2017 interview with Paper magazine. "I did it because I have an interest in women's health." She also wanted to spread awareness about Planned Parenthood, an institution she really believes in.

But what Halsey didn't anticipate was the backlash she received, as — for some reason — some people didn't believe her and accused her of having an abortion. "I did a show in Toronto and a couple people came to the concert and held up a bunch of bloody baby dolls in the crowd," she continued. She went on, "And then my WhatsApp got hacked and people started sending me messages with pictures of fetus parts and really gory, bloody disgusting [things]." We're sorry you had to deal with that, Halsey!

Halsey started a relationship with G-Eazy

When it comes to Halsey's love life, she's dated a variety of talented artists, such as The 1975 frontman Matty Healy and the musician DJ Lido. But in 2017, Halsey entered into one of her most important relationships to date, as she hooked up with rapper G-Eazy, whom she called the Clyde to her Bonnie due to their strong chemistry. "We both knew right away. We just didn't act on it," she explained in an interview with Marie Claire. "I had just gotten out of a breakup; he just got out of a breakup. We were both, like, at the peak of our careers."

And once the pair did finally make it official, on the heels of performing their hit song "Him and I" together, it was clear that this was love. "I haven't found someone who matches every version of me until him," she continued. "Like, he's my left sneaker. For every version of him, there's a version of me to match."

Sadly, the couple parted ways after about a year, and Halsey broke the news on an Instagram Story that the romance was over (via Billboard). 

Halsey released her second album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

In addition to entering into her intense romance with G-Eazy in 2017, Halsey also released her sophomore album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Inspired by repeat viewings of Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film Romeo + Juliet, the album chronicles two kids in the underworld beneath the Badlands. "They're born into this prophecy that they don't know about," she shared in an interview with Vulture. "And there's a fountain in the center of the city and in it there's two fish — koi fish actually."

As Halsey tells it, the koi fish in the fountain symbolize the two lovers. "They've been swimming around, chasing each other for as long as anyone can remember, and the prophecy goes that as soon as they catch each other, true love will finally be able to exist," she continued. "But they never caught each other, so it's called the hopeless fountain." What a heartbreaking idea!

Hopeless Fountain Kingdom debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum, according to Billboard. Congrats on making it to the top, Halsey!

Going on tour makes Halsey feel alive

If there's one thing that makes Halsey feel more alive than anything else, it's performing her music at concerts in front of her army of fans. "I love playing live shows more than anything in the world," she gushed in a 2017 interview with Vulture. "When I'm not on tour, I'm depressed as f**k. I can't do anything. It's physical, because it's serotonin and adrenaline and dopamine." 

It's not just those feel-good brain chemicals that Halsey thrives on, either. It's the very real love that she gets from her fans, which reminds her that she's an important person to a lot of people. "And it's also emotional because it's validation. It's feeling like I matter. It's feeling like I care about these people and they care about me," she continued. "It's also outrageously arrogant. It's like being a preacher or a dictator or something." We can't blame her — who wouldn't feel better after hearing thousands of people chanting your name and singing your songs back to you?

Halsey is a feminist for life

As Halsey has evolved from her humble beginnings, she's become increasingly more proud of being a feminist. "I spent my whole life being the person who's like 'I f**king hate girls, I only want to hang out with boys; girls are so annoying,'" she said in a conversation with author Lizzie Goodman (via Variety). "And now I'm in my 20s and I'm like 'I love women!' ... I'm surrounded by amazing women and I love how strong and beautiful and incredible they all are." She added that she was glad to have grown out of her "internalized misogyny."

Halsey has also clapped back at haters who've tried to revoke her feminist credentials because she posed in Hugh Hefner's infamous Playboy magazine. "Yeah it's crazy," she wrote in a post on her Instagram page (via NME). "I can show my t*ts in Playboy, perform at the Nobel Peace, speak at the Planned Parenthood Gala with Hillary Clinton, shake my a** on 300 stages, give a speech at the United Nations, do 150 shots of tequila, get a #1 album, and march in the streets of DC all in just ONE year! Newsflash. A woman can be multi dimensional." Preach, Halsey!

Halsey's dream for the future

Halsey has accomplished an awful lot for someone her age, something that is definitely not lost on her. So what comes next for the musician, now that she's a household name with a fat bank account and all of the accolades she could want? "I've played Madison Square Garden. I have a number-one album. I don't have very many bucket-list things left besides carrying a child," she revealed in an interview with Marie Claire. "It's a personal goal and a weird one." We are 100 percent here for this!

In a fortuitous turn of events, Halsey is now closer to this goal, now that her endometriosis is more under control and her doctor said she doesn't need to freeze her eggs. "I was like, 'Wait, what did you just say? Did you just say I can have kids?' It was like the reverse of finding out you have a terminal illness," she gushed in an interview with Rolling Stone. "I called my mom, crying." What a beautiful twist of fate.