Janet Jackson Covers Harper’s Bazaar – Oct 2009
Incredibly, US Harper’s Bazaar landed the first interview with Janet Jackson since the tragic death of her older brother Michael. Janet’s looking good on the cover and I can’t help but hope that she might be able to turn a colossal lemon into the sweetest lemonade. That is, can she flip the frenzy over her brother’s death is an genuine comeback? Is that selfish? I know it is – but I can’t help it! There has GOT to be a wealth of unpublished MJ music that she could record. Sigh…
The last time Janet saw Michael was on May 14, two days before her 43rd birthday. It was a family celebration, the Jackson kids were running around, and she and her big brother hung out, ate Thai food, and tormented each other. “We had so much fun that day,” she says, her soft voice almost inaudible. “We kept calling each other after and saying how great it was.”
Janet left soon after to start work on Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too. She was on set in Atlanta when she got the call that Michael had died. She immediately returned to L.A., plunging headlong into a private family grief served up to a ravenous public. Of course, one of the most moving images from the memorial service was of Michael’s daughter, Paris, who stepped up to the microphone and said, “Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine” before grabbing her aunt Janet for support. “I was really proud,” Janet recalls. “People said to me that Michael’s daughter speaking really gave them a sense of how he was as a father, in her words. Paris is incredibly smart; they are all so smart. She’s a sweet girl. The kids are doing well. They’re with all their cousins; that family love will keep them going.”
After the service, Janet and sisters La Toya and Rebbie went to speak to the fans. Janet, who said a brief and quiet thank-you, was greeted with thunderous applause. “I don’t remember that at all,” she says. “I really didn’t want to say anything. I left that night to go back to Atlanta to film.”
Work has always been a tonic for Janet. Today she is sitting in a bunkerlike recording studio in Hollywood, writing songs for a new album, due out next spring. Nickelodeon is on the TV (perhaps the only network not doing Michael 24/7), incense is burning, and she is trying to discourage her French bulldog, Bullwinkle, a birthday gift from brother Jermaine, from nibbling at her towering Azzedine Alaïa lizard sandals.
“I’ve been doing okay,” she says. “Work helps focus all of that energy on something that is of value to you.” She’s just back from vacation, a princely three days on a beach. “It was the first time I had to myself since Michael passed, the first time I could get away since all of that.”
Janet doesn’t like talking much, so it’s not hard to understand why people applaud when she opens her mouth. While she is the baby of the Jackson family, she is, in many ways, its nexus. “I have no clue why,” she says, “but maybe sometimes when there’s someone you don’t hear from, it’s the person you want to hear from the most.”
The article sneaks in a bit of fashion, too:
Janet’s smile is magnificent. “People have actually said that I should get it insured, but I never liked my smile until about six or seven years ago. I thought it was too wide, that it looked like the Joker! So sometimes I wouldn’t smile too wide and would just kind of grin.”
Even though Janet has her trademarks — that smile being one of them — her style is evolving. Currently on the curvier side, she is exploring her love for the 1940s: “I love shoulder pads, a nipped waist.” Today she’s in harem pants by Ellie Mae Byars of Mizzae, a denim jacket, and armfuls of black bracelets by Claudia Tate. “Since I was 16, I used to shop at Maxfield in L.A. I loved Thierry Mugler, Gaultier…” Now Janet is a fan of Roland Mouret and Alexander McQueen, and she sheepishly admits she just had a room built for her shoes: “Louboutin, YSL, Alaïa, and Giuseppe Zanotti.”
Read the rest of the article here.
Harper’s Bazaar’s October issue on stands Sept 22nd
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