Christina Aguilera, 41, sat down with Vogue to talk about the 12 fashion looks and iconic moments that defined her career. The half-Ecuadorian singer pointed to the release of her first Spanish album “Mi Reflejo” in 2000 as the moment in her career when she began to fully express herself. 

The Vogue interview is gold for Aguilera fans. From going through Aguilera’s most iconic looks like her Lady Marmalade era — who else remembers whispering the real meaning of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi” in school? Ah, memories — to her Old Hollywood-inspired fashion that came along with her game-changing album “Back To Basics.”

While we always go straight to Aguilera’s “Stripped” era when thinking about her rise to fame — chaps, and “hair bra” and all — her true start was decidedly much tamer, mostly because of pressure from music industry gatekeepers. As the singer explains in this interview, her 1999 debut album “Christina Aguilera” was her “introduction to the world,” but she “didn’t have any mobility to have a say yet.”

While she dreamed of being “very expressive and over the top” with the visuals of the album, at that time she felt pressured to keep it “plain” and “play it “safe.”

The release of her first Spanish album “Mi Reflejo” just one year later marked a change in the singer’s life and seemed to have empowered her to showcase her true identity. “I had just released ‘Mi Reflejo,’ my first Spanish-Latin album, I was starting to be able to step out of my shell a little bit,” she told Vogue.  

Aguilera described how that time in her life was all about experimenting with “colored streaks in the hair, peekaboo slits, and patches of cut-out clothing.” In short, more of the fashion choices that would go on to define her career for years to come.

The singer continued explaining that all this experimentation during her “Mi Reflejo” era was for her a time of starting to feel more comfortable expressing who she was and “having a little bit of fun and not feeling so boxed in.”

The “Genie In The Bottle” singer has spoken about the importance of “Mi Reflejo” in the past, tweeting about the album just last month. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, she reflected on the 22nd anniversary of “Mi Reflejo,” calling it a “special milestone.”

“Being able to celebrate my heritage and revisit singing in a beautiful language so close to my heart has meant so much to me,” she wrote.

The accompanying 30-second video showcases the singer talking about how the album “was such a beautiful experience and time in [her] life.” She described how music in Spanish “has always been a priority” for her, tying it to her recent Spanish album “Aguilera” just released this year.

There’s no doubt “Mi Reflejo” was a defining point in the vocalist’s life, and in her fashion, which she told Vogue has always been about going against the “rulebook.”

“I love expressing my sexuality, but I owe no one an explanation on what that means to me,” she said. “I wanted to be anti what the rulebook was and what a popstar should look like and sound like.”

Aguilera said her fearless fashion expressions meant she had to take “bullets” from conservative critics, but she realized “you’re either going to be a part of the problem, or you’re going to stand up against it and create your own story,” and we couldn’t agree more. Cheers to over two decades of creating a fashion and music legend!