And, he says, it also shows the candor she has with her fans, namedropping a '90s superstar and one of the greatest rock icons in history in the process.
"Demi is a very special, very unique artist for which there really isn't anybody that can compare. I think that it's very hard these days, in the era of the Internet and social media, for a person to hide too much who they are. We all know the struggles that Demi has faced and we all know the issues that surround her personal life," he explained. "So it's impossible not to apply that or project that onto her while she's performing and to project that onto her when she's singing in her video.
"After all," he continued, "how could anybody not feel anything extra when Kurt Cobain is lying down in a field of poppies in the 'Heart Shaped Box' video? Everyone knew the guy was a heroin addict at that point, and everybody knew that heroin is the closest you can gamble with your life before you lose it. And everyone read something into it at that time in a way that was much more powerful than the image you saw onscreen. So I would say that with all that in mind, Demi is very open about her personal life and very open about who she is as a person and the struggles that she's faced. And those are things people can project, or choose not to know anything about, when they're watching the video."
While her persona onscreen may, in some ways, pay homage to the Nirvana lead singer, on set, she was more reminiscent of one of the other divas Applebaum has worked with over the course of his lengthy and legendary career. "Rihanna's quiet and keeps to herself and Demi is also quiet," he explained. "And [she] keeps to herself. But when she walks into the room everyone notices and takes note and she's not very outgoing. She's much more quiet and reserved but people respect her and love her.
"I think this is a much more sophisticated Demi. She's become a lot more interested in fashion and making fashion statements and reflecting that in a way that's unique to her. But this is a more sophisticated, grown-up, more worldly Demi. And I think that translates. This is coming from a point-of-view of a person who has been through hard times, struggled has come out the other end, has triumphed, and now were kind of on to the next part of her career.
He added, "Demi Lovato's a hero for all those girls out there who are struggling with their body image, who are struggling with 'How can I be just like a regular looking girl but not be pretty in the face in a world where super models are known as pretty?' How do you find that beauty that's within yourself. How do you find that strength? Demi Lovato in a lot of ways is going to be the unsung hero for those girls out there."