Apple - a brief annotated biography
basic text is from the Wikipedia
profile plus a few other sites, as noted.
Boxes like this contain notes and links to related
material on the Talent Development Resources site and
blogs, indicating some of the many aspects of her life
that may resonate with contemporary artists and other
gifted and talented people.
annotations by site author Douglas Eby.
Apple is a member of a family rich with roots in
entertainment. Born in New York City [in 1977], she is the
daughter of singer Diane McAfee and actor Brandon Maggart. Her
older sister, Amber Taleullah, sings cabaret under the stage
name Maude Maggart.
At the age of twelve, Apple was raped upon returning home from
school to her mother's apartment. The rape is mentioned subtly
in some of her work (as in the song "Sullen Girl"), but is not
necessarily a major theme.
artists, of course, use their work to express and deal
with painful experiences.
Psychologist Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D. notes in his
book, "Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The
Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and
Creativity," that our impulse to be creative "can be
understood to some degree as the subjective struggle to
give form, structure and constructive expression to
inner and outer chaos and conflict."
[From interview: The
& creative expression .. Healing
While the media latched onto the story of Apple's dark past
experience, the singer said the only reason she even mentioned
the rape to an interviewer was because she didn't want it to
seem like something of which she should be ashamed.
As a child, there was concern she had anti-social tendencies,
as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
underwent therapy as a child after telling a childhood friend
that she was going to kill herself as well as her older sister
I note in my article Cognitive
to Childhood Sexual Abuse, a survivor of abuse may
incorporate into their self-image negative or distorted
ideas such as personal "badness" or being wrongfully
different or inferior, or experience destructive
feelings such as shame and guilt.
Abuse may incite or lead to acting-out, self-injury,
substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, low self
esteem, social alienation and other mental health and
Other related articles of mine are Shame,
Seed - Antecedents of Teen Violence.
Another site [Celebrities
Eating Disorders] says Apple became anorexic as a
reaction to being raped, and quotes her [from a 1998 Rolling
Stone interview]: "I definitely had an eating disorder. What
was really frustrating for me was that everyone thought I was
anorexic, and I wasn't.
really depressed and self-loathing. For me, it wasn't about
being thin, it was about getting rid of the bait attached to
my body. A lot of it came from the self-loathing that came
from being raped at the point of developing my voluptuousness.
thought that if you had a body and if you had anything on you
that would be grabbed, it would be grabbed. So I did purposely
get rid of it."
girls have conflicts about their sexuality and reactions
by others - see the page Sexuality:
women have suffered from eating disorders, including
actors Scarlett Pomers, Felicity Huffman and Jane
Fonda. See the page Eating
The site Self-Injury:
Struggle - Famous Self-Injurers [among others]
says Apple has self-injured [scratching her arm, biting her
lip] and quotes her as explaining it was to "give myself the
pain that I need to feel to put the punctuation on this shit
that's going inside."
added, "Why should I hide shit? Why does [injuring myself]
give people a bad opinion of me? It's a reality. A lot of
people do it. Courtney Love pulled me aside at a party and
showed me her marks."
figures that are reported to have engaged in self-injury
include Angelina Jolie, Christina Ricci, Princess Diana,
Johnny Depp, Courtney Love and others.
[From the page Cutting]
In 1996 Fiona Apple's debut album, Tidal, was released.
"Criminal," the third single, became her breakthrough hit. The
song reached the top forty on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and
garnered a great deal of attention, mostly due to its
controversial Mark Romanek-directed music video.
While manager Slater says he considered the clip a "tribute to
[director Gregg] Araki and [photographer] Nan Goldin", some
interpreted it as a "sex tease".
later Apple said: "The shit that got me popular was the stuff
that I was not proud of... I wanted to be like every other
girl you see in videos, and that's why it's embarrassing." ...
Years later, she said that the video fit with the song and
that it was "beautiful."
While accepting the 1997 MTV Video Music Award for "Best New
Artist", she proclaimed: "This world is bullshit, and you
shouldn't model your life on what you think that we think is
cool, and what we're wearing and what we're saying", referring
to the mainstream music industry.
quoted Maya Angelou: "Go with yourself".
Some considered her remarks hypocritical, seeing a
contradiction between her appearance in a risqué music video
in only her underwear, and her telling young women to ignore
celebrity culture. She was unapologetic, however: "When I have
something to say, I'll fuckin' well say it".
On her official site www.fiona-apple.com,
she writes, "As you may know, I am a girl prone to low-days. I
don't know how many times I got to soundcheck, in a grumpy
nasty, teary rut.."
On her song Extraordinary machine, the lyrics include: "But
I'm good at being uncomfortable so I can't stop changing all
the time.... But he's no good at being uncomfortable so he
can't stop staying exactly the same..."
Fiona Apple took six years off from performing before
releasing her latest album “Extraordinary Machine” [in 2005].
says, “I realized that after six years of not doing this kind
of stuff, it doesn’t define who I am, and I’ll be just fine
without it. It’s not a life-or-death-thing anymore, or at
least it doesn’t feel that anymore.
also think it is also getting a little bit more grown up. I’m
more secure in who I am and I don’t need everybody’s approval
as much (laughs)... As much!"
my Women and Talent post Taking
creative renewal break.]
See main site for related material: