Beyoncé takes on the controversial world of beauty pageants in the VEVO premiere of “Pretty Hurts,” the Sia-penned, Ammo-produced ballad off her visual album. In the Melina Matsoukas-directed clip, Bey plays pageant contestant Miss 3rd Ward as she struggles with the pressure to be beautiful.
“She told me what she wanted to do with the pageant world and I obviously like to take it there,” Melina told Vulture. “I was like, ‘Let’s get into the toxic world and what we really do that is so damaging to ourselves, and use it as a microcosm for our society.’ Obviously, those ideas don’t just live in the pageant world; they live in our world. In an interview with The New York Times, Sia revealed that she originally sent the song to Katy Perry, but the pop star didn’t see the email. She then gave it to Rihanna, whose manager held onto it for eight months, before Beyoncé heard it.
In conjunction with the premiere, Bey has also launched the #WhatIsPretty campaign, inviting fans to upload a photo or video to Instagram that captures what the word “pretty” means to you.