Without a doubt, one of the most recognized and influential musicians in history is Christina Aguilera. Since the time she was a little girl she aspired to be a singer and was known as “the little girl with the big voice”. At the age of 8, she won her first talent show and also appeared on ‘Star Search’ which she surprisingly did not win. She was bullied in high school because the other kids could not relate to her lifestyle which was anything but normal. Once she joined Britney and Justin on the Mickey Mouse Club she finally found her way and finally fit in with other kids who had the same interests as she did, kids who loved to perform in front of the cameras.
Christina has literally grown up in the public eye and she has proven herself to be more than just a singer. Of course, she has an amazing voice with incredible power and range but her talent does not stop there. Besides being able to sing and dance she is an actress and television producer. Throughout her entire career, Christina has reinvented her public image over and over again and fashion has been a major part of that. From her early days as a Mouseketeer with her girl next door looks to her belly-bearing, teeny bopper tanned Genie in the bottle days, Christina's style has morphed and she has become the queen of reinvention. Let’s take a look at the amazing style evolution of Christina Aguilera chronologically with all the ‘Dirty’ and ‘Beautiful’ stuff in between.
It’s hard to picture Christina Aguilera as an eleven-year-old, but that is exactly how old she was when she got her start as a Mouseketeer for The Mickey Mouse Club. This particular platform allowed her to shine by performing musical numbers and funny sketches until the show’s cancellation just a few years later. And let’s not forget that she met her fellow Mouseketeers Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling on the show and we all know how their careers went.
During her time on The Mickey Mouse Club, Christina and Britney reportedly became the best of friends and were pretty much inseparable, but their newfound popularity drew lots of media attention that caused a competition and a bit of a feud between the two of them. They began taking fans from each because they were both clumped into the same category of being a ‘teen pop star, blonde bombshell’, but as time sure did tell, there was room for the both of them at the top.
In 1998 Disney’s animated film Mulan had a song called ‘Reflection’ that was recorded by someone else. Christina wanted to record her own single version of it and got approval from Disney - good she was a Mouseketeer and had an “in” with them. Released when she was only 17 years-old, it became her debut single and with its success, it funded her RCA debut album. It was all uphill from there and so begins the style evolution of Christina.
Fully covered up with a matronly looking black pantsuit and simple blue blouse, you almost don’t recognize her in the ‘Reflection’ video. The surprisingly down to earth looking Christina is not dancing around and her hair and makeup are pretty simple. She is just using her God-given vocal cords to get herself noticed and keep her career on an upwards trajectory. I wonder if she saw her reflection today as it was when she did the song if she could even recognize herself?
In 1999 Christina walked the red carpet at the very first Annual Teen Choice Awards and the 19-year-old wore a stylish and appropriate multi-colored poncho with a black mesh skirt and a pair of purple strappy heels. She looked simply stunning and fresh. She later re-appeared, at the same event, wearing a pink leopard print mini-skirt, looking like a sexy school-girl, with her midsection exposed and her belly wrapped in a gold gypsy-like charm belt.
This set Christina’s new style trend for the next few years. It was a common occurrence for her to change her outfits mid-show and people took notice of it. You can call it the ‘coyly but not overly seXXXy’ look and with the exposed midriff, her M.O was established. She had the look that every girl wanted to copy and every boy well just wanted.
In 2000 Christina wanted to diverge from her pop-teen look and begin to experiment with her styles. With three Billboard Hot 100 No. 1’s under her belt, the young-diva did her first concert, touring around the world. In 2001 she was recognized as the Top Female Pop Act of the Year by Billboard, but despite all of her success, she was unhappy and felt unable to control her own image and music due to her manager. With his influence over her creative direction and being her exclusive personal manager, Christina was forced to go the legal route and terminate his contract. This gave her a newfound creative avenue to explore and allowed her to break free from the good girl image and distance herself from Britney Spears.
In 2001, Christina along with singers Pink, Mya and rapper Lil’ Kim recorded the song “Lady Marmalade” for the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge. Now for the fourth time, Christina hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and America couldn’t help but take notice. The video was so provocative and won all sorts of awards at MTV Video Music Awards, like “Best Video of the Year” and “Best Video from a film”. The song even won a Grammy Award for “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals”, but what it did do even more so was propel Christina to a new level of style. The popular 90’s trend of hair crimping was brought back by Christina with an added blingy nose ring, lots of sparkle on the face, glitter on the eyes and the oh so demure birdcage veil.
In 2002 Aguilera went in a completely new artistic direction that she felt had much more lyrical and musical depth. Serving as executive producer, Christina co-wrote most of the songs for her new album “Stripped” which introduced us to the new ‘dirty’ Christina. Shedding her pop image and expressing her aggression and sexuality, her new image almost overshadowed her music and her ‘dirty’ video generated lots of controversy and widespread criticism from both her peers and public.
While promoting ‘Stripped’ Christina dyed her hair black, debuted several piercings and tattoos and adopted an alter ego ‘Xtina’. In an NYLA interview, she defended her new image and explained, “ I just basically wanted to strip everything down to just the bare me. Every single song reflects a time in my life and it just really gets the listener to know me for the first time. I'm finally getting to be myself. I'm in the power position, in complete command of everything and everybody around me.” And so comes the beginning of Diva Xtina!
Talk about the ultimate dichotomy. From ‘Dirty’ and all its controversy to ‘Beautiful’ which received universal acclaim from critics in the music industry, Xtina introduced both images with natural style and passion. ‘Beautiful’ gave a positive message of inner-beauty and self-empowerment dealing with issues of self-esteem and insecurity, and the song has been widely accepted by the LGBT community as their anthem. In 2004 A Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance was presented to Xtina for ‘Beautiful’ and it was also nominated for Song of the Year. It is one of Xtina’s signature songs with it topping the charts in so many countries like New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, United States and Australia, so it's no wonder she earned her right to diva status.
In a book called Chicken Soup For The Soul: The Story Behind The Song, Christina told the meaning behind the song “Fighter”. She explained, “I was 21 and I had a lot on my mind. I had been performing in front of an audience since I was 6, helping to make a living for my family. I grew up in a very chaotic and abusive home where I didn't feel very safe. I started writing music, both melodies and lyrics when I was 15. In retrospect, I realize I used it as a release, a therapeutic outlet. It was the way I found my voice. I connected with the music and escaped from my home life. In school, I was picked on and alienated because of my passion for music. So I harbored a little personal pain but the seemingly negative things made me smarter and stronger.”
In 2006, Xtina recorded Back to Basics, which was her fifth studio album. It was a double album described by Christina as “a throwback to the 20s, 30s, and 40s-style jazz, blues, and feel-good soul music, but with a modern twist". With its retro-oriented styles and its inspiration from classic soul and blues singers like Nina Simone, Millie Jackson and Otis Redding, Xtina explained it as “music that really had a heart”.
In the ‘Candyman’ video Xtina was over-the-top awesome with her signature style of constant change shining through. An MTV News reporter commented on Xtina’s “bad girl” image, saying “though Aguilera's mostly going for glam here, she's also plenty bad, too, swinging her way into some servicemen's heart, coyly sipping on a milkshake and shaking it so hard even your grandpa had to notice." How sweet it is!
For two years, from 2006 To 2008, Xtina embarked on a massive Back To Basics tour. Traveling throughout Europe, Asia, North America, Oceania and the United Arab Emirates, Christina managed to capture the title of being the highest-grossing solo female tour of 2007. Totally on her game, in 2007 Forbes crowned Xtina as the nineteenth richest women in the entertainment industry by having a $60 million dollar net worth.
Married since 2005, she gave birth to her son Max in 2008 and things were going great for her. To celebrate a decade of being in the music industry, Xtina decided to release an album called Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade Of Hits which was only available through Target in the United States.
Christina, like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and many other singers, carved out her own unique niche by using her vocal talent and bombshell appearance to get herself a fragrance contract. In the early 2000’s with Dana Classic Fragrances she launched two fragrances, but they were discontinued. In 2007 however, with Procter & Gamble, she got a new deal for a perfume collection and it was a success. Fragrances like ‘Christina Aguilera’, ‘Inspired’, ‘Royal Desire’, ‘Red Sin’ and ‘Unforgettable’ were packaged in a curvy, laced bottle and topped off with a charm or ribbon. The fragrances were seductive and hard to resist, just like Xtina. Christina told InStyle magazine that she always wants to seek out “looks that make me stand out!”, and her eye-popping hot-pink shadow with red lipstick surely hits it out of the park.
In 2010 Xtina’s ‘Bionic’ album was released, making this her sixth studio album. With a very futuristic, robotic sound the critics did not appreciate the musical style changes and lyrical content and words like “cringeworthy” were used to describe it. Bionic never had the chart impact or sales like her other albums and only made it to number three on the Billboard 200.
For her Bionic look, Xtina sported bright red lips with very natural makeup and a sleek platinum pulled hairdo. She told InStyle, “With every record, I put out, I make a drastic change. I like to try new things and not take myself too seriously.” Constantly reinventing herself, the beautiful everchanging Xtina has only just started to climb the style ladder.
Expanding herself even farther by branching off into an acting career for the movies, Christina shared the starring role with Cher in the 2010 film Burlesque. Even though it grossed $90 million dollars and received a nomination for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at 68th Golden Globe Awards, by critics it was given mixed reviews and was criticized for being "campy and clichéd" but they did praise Christina’s acting skills.
Christina sang and danced her pituddy off, contributing to eight of the films' soundtracks, while Cher only performed two. Her wardrobe and hairstyle changes in the movie suited her perfectly as there were many different looks for her throughout. During her “Burlesque” period, she returned to her roots, donning long, wavy platinum extensions and a rock hard post-baby body. Sadly, her personal life was not going as well as her professional one and she filed for a divorce after six years of marriage.
In 2011, Christina got the gig as one of the first ever coaches on the television show The Voice, which is a reality TV singing competition that has been on for fourteen seasons. The Voice fellow judge Adam Levine invited Christina to be featured on Maroon 5’s single “Moves Like Jagger” and it became a worldwide best-selling digital single selling 7 million copies.
On The Voice, Christina’s sultry waves changed colors almost as often as her wardrobe did. From the solid platinum look to the colorful purple-dipped tips, Christina was no stranger to colorful locks. At one point on the show, she even tripled up on the color by adding to her platinum and purple mane with layers of hot pink underneath.
In 2012, Christina released her seventh studio album ‘Lotus’ and claimed it to be like a "rebirth" of herself after having gone through some personal struggles during the era of ‘Bionic’. Talk about being overscheduled! Seriously, this woman never stops. Sadly, this album to date is her least commercially successful album of them all so it’s probably time to reinvent yourself once again Xtina. I must say, however, this is my favorite look of hers as she is simply stunning.
She was temporarily replaced by Shakira as a coach on The Voice because she wanted to promote her Lotus album but returned for season 5. Sporting a whole new look, David Babaii, her hairstylist said, ”She allows me to play with different styles and master the art of illusion” and this is so true of the beautiful chameleon we have grown to love.
With Lotus being such a bomb commercially, Christina had to revitalize her singing career and did this by collaborating with other artists like she had done before with Maroon 5. Throughout 2013 she worked with several different artists. One very successful single that Christina was featured on was Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment which was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
She sang with Mexican singer Alejandro Fernández for his album"Hoy Tengo Ganas de Ti" and it earned a diamond certification there. She then went on to sing a duet called "Say Something" with A Great Big World. It earned a six-time platinum certification from the RIAA and also won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Here is a little tidbit of information about hubby #2-to-be, Matthew Rutler. Christina was concurrently involved with him in a romantic way while she was still legally married to hubby #1. It took six months for a divorce settlement so I guess she just didn’t want to wait. She met Rutler on the set of Burlesque where he was an assistant. In 2011 they were also both arrested together for public intoxication in West Hollywood but no charges were ever filed. She does have a permanent arrest record though and her mugshot picture is not one of her better looks so it's good she got her act together. In 2014 she got engaged to Matthew, but they are not married yet almost 4 years later. They do have a baby girl together, Christina’s second child, Summer Rain Rutler - how cute is that name?
In 2015 Christina took her singing and acting career to the next level and showed off her skills on the television musical drama series Nashville where she played a fiery pop star singer Jade St. John, what a stretch. Jade wanted to go back to being a country artist which is what she started out as, but her label was putting pressure on her to continue to be a successful pop star.
Her character was quite daring and had a bold fashion style, again, not much of a stretch for the pop diva. Donning curly pink tresses that morphed into maroon and then brunette, Xtina posted lots of images of her stylish self on her Instagram. Wearing things like leather catsuits that hugged her curves, fans were extremely excited for her latest music and pre-ordered off iTunes.
In 2016 Spike TV came up with an idea to make a competition musical game show, kind of like ‘Name That Tune’ back in the day, called ‘Tracks’. The show’s premise was to have two teams of two, guess a song just by listening to a single vocal or instrumental track. They hired Christina and her fiancé, Matthew, as executive producers of the show. The show had no permanent host, but it did have surprise musical celebrity guests that performed the ‘tracks’ of others, or possibly their own. No surprise was Christina performing on the premiere back-to-back episodes. She was excited to do it and said, “Having finely tuned my ear for music over the years, I thought it would be fun to test other folks and see if they can identify a track — with a twist — since contestants will have to focus on a single component of a song.”
Long platinum crimped locks, bright red lips, lots of black and purple sparkle with a glitter ball screams only one thing - disco baby! Christina’s ‘Telepathy’ was recorded for the musical drama series put out by Netflix called The Get Down. It was about the rise of hip-hop that came after the downfall of disco. Of course, Xtina’s vocals were diva-like strong and music critics ate it up and praised her among the ranks of Mariah Carey. ‘Telepathy’ made its way to number one on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart becoming Christina’s ninth number-one song. She put out a really short self-produced music video for the disco-themed song as a thank you to her fans, and radio stations for playing the song and making it number one. She looks totally 70’s retro with her sparkling blouses, long lashes, glossy lips and the disco ball between her legs.