“I didn’t have any women in my life that I really trusted.”
With those words, singer and actress Demi Lovato summed up almost my entire teenage experience.
While promoting her latest film, Smurfs: The Lost Village, the 24-year-old confessed to Mamamia that for a whole chunk of her career, she chose to surround herself with men instead of women.
It’s a different take on what we’ve heard from female celebrities in recent years.
Our social media feeds are constantly flooded with stories about 'girl squads': groups of women who love and praise each other, acting as a far better cheer squad than any boyfriend - famous or otherwise - could.
Thankfully, in 2017, women have started to praise each other in the public eye with abandon, proving that powerful females aren't catty or competitive. Instead, they can be successful and supportive.
It's a welcome change from the Mean Girls line we have been fed for years. A line that I fell victim to in my teenage years.
During high school, most of the people I considered my closets friends were men. It's not that I didn't want girl friends, I just felt...safer...trusting men with my friendship.
I felt like they wouldn't judge me, they wouldn't try to compete with me or be jealous when I succeeded.
LISTEN: When you need to break up with a friend, what do you do?
Most of all, I didn't feel like they would wake up one morning and decide I wasn't worth their time, which is something I had experienced at the hands of some of my female friends.
It's a sentiment echoed by Demi, who spent the first years of her blossoming career touring, and surrounding herself, with men.
"In my work environment, I used to only surround myself with men," she told Mamamia.
"I only had guys in my band, and I toured with guys and my tour manager was a guy and this and that."
Now, the actress - who takes on the role of Smurfette in the upcoming animated film Smurfs: The Lost Village - has made a conscious effort to surround herself with women, and wants everyone to know what a difference it has made.
"I made a specific change. There was a time I used to say that I just didn't get along with girls," she said.
"I reevaluated why I didn't get along with girls, and I think it's because I didn't really have any in my life that I trusted.
"Now I've made it a point to surround myself with strong women and it's really made a difference in my life."
Demi said she turns to her female friends for "questions and advice", and sees them as role models and positive influences in her world.
It's something Demi and her animated character have in common: the film centres on Smurfette, the only female in a village full of boys, and her journey to discover where she fits and who she can turn to for understanding.
"I really relate to Smurfette, because I was the only female for a little bit [in my world]," Demi said.
"I had to make changes in my life to surround myself with influences and people that I could relate to.
"I’m really grateful that I did."
Smurfs: The Lost Village is in Australian cinemas now.