Halsey disclosed that she once considered sex work in order to make ends meet when she was a teenager going through homelessness in New York. During her speech at the Ending Youth Homelessness: A Benefit For My Friend’s Place in Los Angeles on Saturday, the "Without Me" singer used that revelation to show how different her experiences were at her age in comparison to that of her peers.
"When I was living in New York, I was a teenager. My friends were picking out decorations for their dorms, and I was debating on whether or not I should let a stranger inside of me so I could pay for my next meal," Halsey said, per E! Online.
"It wasn't because I did something bad. It wasn't because something was wrong with me, and it wasn't because my parents didn't love me—because they did very much," she added. "But a series of unfortunate circumstances led me to be in that position, and it can happen to absolutely anyone."
In a 2016 Rolling Stone interview, Halsey remembered the frightening reality that she faced after getting kicked out of her home by her parents when she dropped out of community college. "I remember one time I had $9 in my bank account," she said. "And bought a four-pack of Red Bull and used it to stay up overnight over the course of two or three days, because it was less dangerous to not sleep than it was to sleep somewhere random and maybe get raped or kidnapped."
Halsey's speech mentioned bringing her "house," which came in the form of a gray duffel bag, to her life-changing meeting with Capitol Music Group's Jeremy Vuernick. "When I met him, I had crazy hair, I had one demo in my pocket and I was carrying a gray duffel bag," she said. "Sat down in his office, at his cubicle, and he asked me, 'What's in the bag?' I looked him dead in the eyes and I said, 'This is my house.'"
"I need you guys to realize that and while it's very exiting that I am a record-selling, show-playing pop star, when I tell people that story, they go, 'Oh my gosh, you went from being homeless to being a pop star, that's amazing, we should help these people because we don't know what they could become,'" Halsey added. "Wrong. We shouldn't help we think because there's a chance that they could turn into a celebrity. We shouldn't help because they could really make something of themselves—because they are something right now."