Demi Lovato arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Demi Lovato arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Demi Lovato recently posed nude for Vanity Fair, but her goal wasn't titillation. Instead, she wanted to send a message to other women (and maybe to herself): "You can get to a place where you can overcome obstacles of body image issues. You can feel comfortable and confident in your skin."

She talks about her motivation for doing the shoot in a behind-the-scenes video (below) from the publication. In a related story, photographer Patrick Ecclesine says that Lovato had three rules for the photos: No makeup. No Clothes. No retouching.

The shoot was also, apparently, a bit spontaneous. "If there's one thing I've learned in the past day," she said, as her beloved great-grandfather had died the day before, "it's that life is too short." Then, "Let's do [the shoot] here, let's do it now."

The attitude corresponds with Lovato's new album, releasing October 16, which she says "finally represents who I truly am." The "totally raw" photo shoot idea came from asking the questions, "How do I embrace this new chapter in my life? How do I really walk the walk? What does it mean to be confident?"

Her answer: "It means letting go, being authentic, saying I don't give a f*** and this is who I am. I want to show the side of me that's real, that's liberated, that's free."

The Dallas-raised pop star has been open about her struggles with mental health problems before. In 2013 she told Cosmopolitan that she had been suicidal at the age of 7, before she was even on the children's show Barney & Friends. She's also talked openly about eating disorders, telling teenage girls, "It's very crucial that you get your feelings out -- but don't ever inflict harm on your own body because your body is so sacred. I wish I could tell every young girl with an eating disorder, or who has harmed herself in any way, that she's worthy of life and that her life has meaning. You can overcome and get through anything."

This week Lovato was on Capitol Hill as part of a two-day congressional visit about mental health. Sen. John Cornyn said of her, "Her courage of acknowledging that in public and then talking about her mental health struggles. as well as her addictions and her rehabilitation and recovery, was nothing short of inspirational."

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