Self Esteem discusses recreating “iconic” Britney Spears photo for her NME cover shoot

Rebecca Lucy Taylor recreated Spears' 1999 Rolling Stone cover shoot for an NME Big Read feature last year

Rebecca Lucy Taylor – aka Self Esteem – has touched on recreating Britney Spears‘ April 1999 Rolling Stone cover photo for her own NME Big Read cover shoot last year.

On Radio 1’s Pop 101, host Scott Mills and Taylor recently discussed the Rolling Stone cover, which showed the pop star at her family home, laying on a pink sheet in her underwear, holding a phone in one hand and clutching a plush Teletubby in the other.

The cover sparked an outcry when it was released, with the American Family Association calling on “God-loving Americans to boycott stores selling Britney’s albums.”


Taylor’s NME shoot also saw her on a pink sheet in her underwear, but with the added remnant of a meal deal around her and a Kermit the Frog plush under her arm.

NME Cover 2021 Self Esteem

During the Pop 101 episode, Mills noted that Spears’ family were “livid” that the singer – then 17 years old – had been photographed in her underwear, requesting the photos to go unreleased.

“My point was, it’s such an iconic image, isn’t it? And my idea was, recreate it, but what’s realistic is I’ve got a sandwich next to me with a reduced sticker on it, Kermit, and I don’t look like Britney Spears,” Taylor explained.

“Britney, I’m sorry. But also, it’s fine. It’s iconic, and I guess these are the things we have to learn about. You don’t know they’re going to be iconic in the moment. And I’m sure she doesn’t regret that shoot.”

Taylor previously discussed the shoot in August of last year. “I want to show, really authentically, what I look like in bed”, she said of her motivation for recreating the image. “The reality is that women don’t look like that in bed,” she said of Spears’ past cover.


‘Prioritise Pleasure’, Taylor’s second album under the Self Esteem moniker, arrived back in October of last year. NME called ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ an “assured and unapologetic” record in a four-star review upon its release, adding that the album is “charged with a dark, smirking wit that’s impossible to turn away from.”

“Not only does Self Esteem detail the fear, uneasiness and anger of being a woman – keys clutched between our fists – but also manages to make us laugh at the sheer absurdity of being forced to navigate a world that has, quite unbelievably, normalised misogyny.”