Demi Lovato Bares Cleavage, Talks What Makes Her a ‘Badass’ in ‘Cosmopolitan’

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Age is nothing but a number for Demi Lovato.

That’s because the former Disney darling has overcome more than most 20 year olds: she has bounced back from cutting, cocaine abuse, and being the victim of teen bullying. But it’s triumphing over those battles that has made Lovato, in her own words, a true badass.

“If you’re spending your entire early 20s chasing the next party, what are you running away from? That’s not a badass,” she tells Cosmopolitan, covering the glossy’s August 2013 cover. “What’s a badass is when you can sit through your problems and feel emotions when you don’t want to have them.”

“There have been nights where I’ve had to sit on my hands, because I want to act out, because I physically can’t sit still in the pain I’m dealing with, from looking back and being bullied or other things that happened,” she continues. “And now, as hard as it may be, I will do that. That’s what makes me a badass. Being a badass is handling your shit.”

But “badass” is not what Lovato sees in most of her Hollywood contemporaries. “When I look at someone who’s out there partying excessively or rappers rapping about doing drugs, who people look up to, and think, ‘Oh that’s a G; that’s a gangster.’ I think, ‘You’re actually being a giant pussy,'” she says. ” Sorry, but those rockers in the ’80s were the furthest thing from rock stars. They were so insecure and so lonely that they had to do these things to get them through the day.”

Though her past was trying, Lovato wouldn’t trade those tribulations because they shaped who she is today. “I’m not super religious, but I grew up Christian and I believe in God,” she explains. “He put me through those things, which seemed horrible at the time, but they were so worth it. With the obstacles I’ve overcome, I can help people.”

Now as she readies to ring in her 21st birthday in August, Lovato is thankful. “I look at birthdays as celebrating another year of life,” the X Factor judge says. “You’ve made it another year. An entire year. Some people don’t make it to 21.”

See more shots from Lovato’s photoshoot below. Pick up Cosmopolitan‘s August 2013 issue when it hits newsstands July 9.