The singer/songwriter told The Hollywood Reporter that while she has experienced the same sexual harassment most women do in the entertainment industry, it actually started for her long before she started down her career path — at a shockingly tender age.
“I’ve had men hitting on me, sadly, since I was really young,” she said while promoting her new memoir Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story. “At 8, I had men putting dimes in my hands saying, ‘Call me. It’d be so great to f*** when you’re older.’ And just horrible stuff.”
Remember that story about Jewel being homeless and living in her car before she became famous with her first hit “Who Will Save Your Soul”? It’s true, and it happened because she would not cave in to another horrible case of sexual harassment. She explained that a boss once fired her for refusing his advances, and she lost her apartment because she couldn’t pay her rent — a situation that made her vulnerable to even more exploitation.
“I’ve never been more propositioned by businessmen in my life. It was almost like they were sharks that could smell blood, like of vulnerability,” said Jewel. “I’d go back to my car, writing songs, and men would literally come up and proposition me. They would be like, ‘Hey, do you need rent money?’ you know, and things like that. It was pretty wild. I never took anybody up on it, but it was interesting to see this side of men that basically would prey on somebody vulnerable.”
But the singer always held firm to her ideals, and that fortitude has served her well.
“The music industry is a very male-dominated business,” she explained. “I never slept my way to the top, ever. There was never one time I’ve ever compromised anything. I was always willing to walk away… And I think that type of spirit that you bring just informs everybody that’s around you. You know, I’ve heard plenty of stories that the opposite happens.”
Jewel’s memoir Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story hits bookstores Sept. 15, 2015.