Two years after the superstar singer/songwriter issued an apology for her depiction of autism in the 2020 film Music, Sia has since confirmed that she was recently diagnosed with the condition.
“For 45 years, I was like, ‘I’ve got to go put my human suit on.’ And only in the last two years have I become fully, fully myself”, stated the singer during her interview on Rob Has a Podcast.
The feeling the singer (born Sia Kate Isobelle Furler) described as having to act as a human vs simply existing as one, is a practice associated with autistic masking, which is defined as the act of consciously or subconsciously suppressing autistic behaviors in order to blend in with neurotypical individuals.
While autism it can oft times be diagnosed during early childhood, the nature of the spectrum also allows for late diagnoses. “I’m on the spectrum, and I’m in recovery and whatever — there’s a lot of things,” stated Sia during the podcast along with confirming her sobriety.
“Nobody can ever know and love you when you’re filled with secrets and … living in shame,” she added. “And when we finally sit in a room full of strangers and tell them our deepest, darkest, most shameful secrets, and everybody laughs along with us, and we don’t feel like pieces of trash for the first time in our lives, and we feel seen for the first time in our lives for who we actually are, and then we can start going out into the world and just operating as humans and human beings with hearts and not pretending to be anything.”
Much of the negative press Sia received for Music (starring Maddie Ziegler,) was centered around the casting of a neurotypical actress in the role of a nonverbal autistic woman. In one scene, Ziegler’s character is held in a controversial restraint while experiencing sensory overstimulation. In 2021, after the film was nominated for two Golden Globes, Sia took to Twitter and issued a number of apologies prior to deleting her account altogether.
“I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings. I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough,” she stated at the time, after previously urging people to “watch my film before you judge it.” And Furler added that the film’s warning would be updated to read: “Music in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people. There are autistic occupational therapists that specialize in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help w [sic] meltdown safety.”