Paris Jackson, 18-year-old daughter of Michael, has not yet architected a grand life plan. She does not have an album in the works or a modeling contract signed or a book deal inked or a television cameo confirmed. (Well, maybe she will after this interview.) Instead, keenly aware of the platform afforded her as the daughter of the most celebrated and successful musician of all time, Jackson is focused on developing a vehicle for her creativity and fighting for bleeding-heart causes like, most currently and pressingly, halting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Heritage aside, Jackson is compelling in her normality as a thoughtful teen with vast potential. Last January, she met with director Lee Daniels in Los Angeles, the day after her first Golden Globes, to talk about music and Michael.
LEE DANIELS So what does Paris Jackson do?
PARIS JACKSON Right now I’m doing the modeling thing.
LD Well, you got the eyes and the height.
PJ I’ve always wanted to try out acting, but maybe in a couple years. I really believe in activism and I want to do bigger things.
LD Do you believe that’s even possible in the world today?
PJ Yes. I think right now a lot of people are really, really angry. And there are two ways that things can go: it can go really bad, or we’ll see that the “man,” the government, is not doing what it’s supposed to do, and we’ll take it in our own hands. Millennials, people my age, we’re going to run the country in the next few years. We can make this country what we want it to be.
LD I guess my question to you is: is there time?
PJ I’m hoping that this year my generation will get to a point where we will rise up, not in a violent way, but start pushing for more liberalism. This happened with same-sex marriage. We pushed so hard for equality and it happened.
LD What is one cause you are extremely passionate about?
PJ I’m very against animal cruelty.
LD So does that mean fur is a no-go?
PJ Yeah, I don’t like real fur or real leather.
LD I have a fur hammock and I feel horrible about it.
PJ A fur hammock? [Laughs]
LD Please don’t make me get rid of it.
PJ No! See the thing is that I wouldn’t own it personally, but I’m not going to hate you for having that.
LD I know you have a tattoo in support of Standing Rock.
PJ Yes, it’s on my ankle. A member of the Sioux tribe, who is an activist and was protesting the pipeline, made the design.
LD Who is or was an artist, in any medium, who speaks to you?
PJ John Lennon. I have his face tattooed on my arm, and the lyrics of “Imagine” in his handwriting. It says, “Imagine all the peace.”
LD Tell me about your songwriting.
PJ I write music for myself. I use it as a way to get stuff out. It’s not something I see myself following career-wise. There are so many amazing artists in my family. If I were to do it as a career, it would change how I feel about music and I don’t want that to happen.
LD Is it therapeutic?
PJ Yeah, just listening to it, writing it, and playing it.
LD I can only write movies and stuff. The idea of making poetry is so beautiful to me. When and where do you write?
PJ I never plan it. Sometimes I’m in the car and I think of some lyrics and write it down and then maybe put a melody to it later.
LD Do you write alone?
PJ I’m in a band. We’re doing it for fun. My boyfriend’s the drummer and we have two others, a bassist and a backup vocalist.
LD What kind of music?
PJ Kind of like folk, like the Lumineers mixed with Johnny Cash.
LD Can you share a lyric?
PJ Most of my songs are just a bunch of metaphors. “Your ice cold words like bony fingers around my neck like a skeleton.”
LD Dark, girl. [Laughs] Is that folk? I mean, that’s sort of dark. I’m sort of scared where that’s going. It’s definitely, definitely deep.
PJ I could make it like a super hardcore heavy metal song, but the melody I have is more chill. Hey, my dad didn’t raise me listening to the Top 40.
LD If you could live and create art, music in any era—
PJ Probably the ’60s or the mid-’80s.
LD Mid-’80s was everything! But I’m curious as to why the ’60s?
PJ Earlier, when I mentioned people rising up and pushing toward equality, the ’60s was the time where even the artists were rising up and creating love instead of war. That’s what I want to do with my art. I want to do what they were trying to do in the ’60s.
LD You just posted on Instagram about your mother Debbie [Rowe]’s chemotherapy.
PJ She just finished. She only has radiation left.
LD So is she cancer-free?
PJ Tomorrow she’s getting marked for radiation, but I’m pretty sure that’s the last thing she has to do. And after that, she’ll be in remission and in two weeks her immune system will be strong enough for us to get matching tattoos.
LD What kind?
PJ She’s getting my zodiac sign, Aries, on the back of her neck and I’m getting her sign, Sagittarius, on the inside of my ear. I have seven piercings there for my father because that was his lucky number, and right here I’m going to get her sign so it’ll be a like they’re together.
LD Let me just say that I would not be here if it weren’t for your father. Because I don’t think I would have had the courage to be the artist that I am if I didn’t see him at a young age. If you could take a quality of your father’s, what would it be?
PJ Definitely his strength. He was the strongest person I know and tried to do everything with as much love and kindness as possible.
LD How does he inspire you?
PJ All of my inspiration, I would say 99 percent of my inspiration, comes from him, because he has always been my world. He is my roots.
Photograph Mario Sorrenti
Fashion Carine Roitfeld
Interview Lee Daniels
Makeup Kanako Takase
Manicure Mei KawajiriEND
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createdAt:Fri, 17 Mar 2017 19:25:55 +0000