AJ McLean wants to give his kids real self-confidence.
The former Backstreet Boys singer was in Toronto this week to celebrate the launch of his new series “The Fashion Hero: A New Kind of Beautiful”, and he sat down with ET Canada to talk all about it.
Streaming on Paramount+, “the series breaks down barriers in the beauty industry by encouraging regular people to be confident in who they are. ”
McLean spoke about raising his two young daughters in the age of social media and trying to instill them with strong self-esteem.
“The way that my wife and I try to parent our kids is again, everyone is beautiful. Everyone is unique,” he explained. “My youngest has come to me a few times upset, ‘Daddy, why don’t I look like my sister?’ And I said, ‘That’s because you’re you. You’re unique, your sister’s unique.'”
Admitting that when it comes to girls’ experience with body image issues and more, McLean said, “I’m learning every day. I don’t know what it’s like.”
He then pointed to Lizzo as a celeb who’s setting the kind of example, he loves seeing for girls everywhere.
“Another great example of what we need more of is someone like Lizzo,” he said. “She is proud, she is loud and she is not ashamed. She is vulnerable. She is honest. She’s raw. And that’s what I love about people like her. We need more people like that, that are just saying, ‘Hey, this is beautiful, this is me. I am beautiful no matter what. If I have extra skin here, or if I have whatever, it doesn’t matter, because I know myself inside.'”
McLean also opened up about his own difficulties with self-esteem and self-confidence, which he’s dealt with throughout his life.
“A lot of people would probably ask me, ‘How is that possible? Look at what you do,'” he said, referring to his performing career. “Yeah, yeah, that’s what I do for a job. But when I walk off that stage, I’m a normal guy just trying to survive. And I’m not okay all the time. I’m not comfortable with myself all the time. When I’m on stage, I’m impenetrable. That’s my little bubble. That’s my safe place. When I’m home with my family, that’s my safe place. When I’m on my own, sometimes I get in my head, I get in my own way.“
Asked what message he hopes people take from his new series, McLean said, “When you can overcome your own demons, your own fears, your own doubts, nobody can tear you down ever again.”
He added, “I’m not there yet. And I may never completely get there. But I’m now living life on life’s terms.“
“The Fashion Hero: A New Kind of Beautiful” is streaming now on Paramount+.