Shawn Mendes in conversation with Kevin Abstract

“I still struggle with trying to fit into the shoes
of who I believe ‘Shawn Mendes’ should be…
at some point along the line, my expectations
and my standard of who I should be, the music
I should make, and the way I should look,
became so high that no matter what I did and
no matter how hard I was trying with my music,
I couldn't fit those shoes. If I even struggle to
[live up to] what I think I should be, I definitely
don't want to make it harder for the 14-year-old
kid in Canada to be who they are.”

At 14-years-old, he taught himself how to play
the guitar at home in his native Toronto. By 15,
he was on social media app Vine, amassing
over half a billion views before its subsequent
close quickly chucked him headfirst into the
spotlight – blissfully ambitious and unprepared
for what fame could throw at him. But unlike
other pop stars with a following as big as him,
each time he delves into his past, the narrative
isn’t the same polished, pre-packaged tale
churned out and chewed over by the mouths
of many. Mendes undoubtedly radiates in his
ability to be honest, repeatedly delving deeper
and deeper into the crippling anxieties and
struggles he’s faced as one of the biggest pop
stars of our generation. Perhaps because
underneath it all, Mendes is still just a
small-town boy from Canada who willingly
gave over his heart to music.

Ahead of eagerly awaited new music and a
rumoured global tour, Mendes covers our
summer issue delving into everything from
crippling self-pressures to unrealistic
expectations. In a refreshingly frank and
sincere conversation, Mendes opens up to
Kevin Abstract on everything from
comparison culture to the power of therapy,
and how he struggles to live up to the
idealistic projection of his own image.

Photographer: Max Montgomery
Fashion Direction: Gorge Villalpando
Entertainment Director + Producer: Erica Cornwall
Groomer: Anna Bernabé at The Wall Group
Styling: Tiffany Briseno
Editorial Director Huw Gwyther

Videographer: R.J. Goni 
Digital Tech: Aladdin Islim
Lighting Assistants: Thomas Patton and Daniel Byun
Fashion Coordinators: Anissa Silvas and Britt Frascht 
Fashion Assistants: Bree Banuelos and Nash Koshiro 

A very special thanks to @Mav_farm and @lost.show_w
Location thanks to Jack Joseph Puig and Linda Mathis 

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Shawn Mendes covers WONDERLAND SUMMER 2021 ISSUE