The clip opens with the sound of a poignant piano as contestants at a beauty pageant primp and prim backstage. Bey rubs jelly on her teeth, squabbles with another girl over a hair dryer and — intercut with shots of her slouched around a living room surrounded by trophies — exits a bathroom stall, wiping her mouth as if she just made herself vomit.
After taking the stage as Miss 3rd Ward and belting out the song’s opening hook a cappella, Beyoncé goes through the intense, borderline violent motions of pageantry prep. She works out ceaselessly, pops diet pills, gets poked with a botox needle, sprayed with tanning lotion, endures a pestering coach and forces herself to throw up.
Outside the moments where she’s alone, a smile never leaves Bey’s face — even when a question about her aspirations causes an internal existential meltdown — and she continues to beam when she ultimately takes second place. But the shots of her bashing her trophy shelf prove way more cathartic than any pageant victory.
To help promote the video and its body-positive message, Beyoncé and Time are also asking fans to upload photos or videos to Instagram with the tag #WhatIsPretty. You can find out more details on the WhatIsPretty website as well.
This year’s Time 100 list features a handful of other prominent musicians including Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus and Carrie Underwood (their blurbs were penned by fellow stars as well, Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton and Brad Paisley, respectively).