Maren Morris says Playboy shoot was ‘really fun challenge’

June 18 (UPI) — “The Middle” singer Maren Morris says her photo shoot for Playboy was a “really fun challenge.”

The 29-year-old country star discussed her controversial topless shoot and her willingness to challenge sexual norms in the music industry in her interview with Playboy published Tuesday.

“I’m speaking such a loud, noisy concept of what it means to be a woman in the music industry right now. This feels like I’m amplifying a message I’ve been passionate about since the beginning that has intensified in the past year,” Morris said. “I feel like I’ve already challenged a lot of sexual norms.”

“It’s funny, because it’s not that risqué in the grand scheme of things,” she added of her shoot. “Doing Playboy has been a really fun challenge. I’m trying to do more things that scare me. Every year I’m trying to peel back my layers emotionally — and I guess physically.”

Morris addressed her experience with slut-shaming and body-shaming, saying the political climate plays a role in online hate. She said she doesn’t regret the times she’s called out people for their hateful comments.

“It’s a transitional time. Everyone’s super anxious. A lot of it is in the political climate, the culture of social media,” the star explained. “Anytime someone is courageous or doesn’t try to blend in, it [expletive] people off. It’s been like this forever, but we’re much more connected now than we used to be.”

“Everything I’ve spoken up or clapped back at some troll, it has been very much me,” she added. “I wouldn’t go back on any of it, because they deserved it. Body shamers? They’re asking for it. I would never regret calling them out.”

Morris received backlash after sharing photos from her Playboy shoot this month. She subsequently defended herself in a post on Instagram Stories.

“The thing about me is, I make music for myself. I learned later that it touches others, which is the most wonderful byproduct of a songwriter’s calling. Some can slut-shame me for my lyrics about sex, and you can put me in your little box, but I just want to live and love,” the singer wrote.

Morris released her second major label studio album, Girl, in March. The album includes the singles “Girl” and “The Bones.”

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