we texted paris jackson about activism, feminism and trump
New phone who dis? Fresh from shooting her very first cover of i-D, teen dream Paris Jackson texted us about life on the other side of Neverland.
This article originally appeared in i-D's The Acting Up Issue, no. 349, Fall 2017.
For Paris Jackson, growing up was always going to be a little out of the ordinary. After all, she's the only daughter of Michael Jackson, the most famous musician in the world. Up until her father's tragic death in 2009, when she was just 11, Paris and her two brothers had lived a privileged - if sheltered and a little strange - existence. She grew up on Neverland, a 2,700 acre fantasy world of zoos and amusement parks. It was a little like a fairytale, but at some point, real life was going to barge in. After Michael's death things began to unravel. She was thrust into the glare of the media spotlight, and the pressures of sudden exposure effected her immensely. Articles about Paris's appearance - her pale skin, blonde hair and piercing blue eyes - led to mass speculation about her parentage, while online comments calling her fat or ugly caused her self-esteem to plummet. Puberty can be the most excruciating time in a girl's life; you're a slave to your hormones, you don't know who you are or, worse, who you'll turn out to be. Imagine going through that with the whole world watching.
While regular kids were in school, Paris was dealing with depression and addiction, a spiral that eventually culminated in a series of suicide attempts. After undergoing treatment in Utah - and reconnecting with her mother, Debbie Rowe - the 19-year-old has changed her entire outlook on life. So much more positive, Paris spends her time posting messages on Instagram about self-love and the importance of finding inner peace. Moving forwards, she wants to set an example to women around the world that perfection is a myth and that happiness is a work in progress. She's also taking some time to focus on her acting, and was recently crowned the face of Calvin Klein's autumn/winter 17 campaign. Fresh from shooting her very first cover for i-D, we texted the teen dream to find out how it's all going.
Hey Paris! Greetings n salutationssss.
How are ya? I am. How are you?
I'm good. Good :)
How was your weekend? What did you get up to? Not bad, got a lot of work done, reading, binge watched Scandal, the usual. You?
I went to a pagan wedding in the country, which was kind of crazy but a lot of fun. Ohh far out.
What kind of work were you doing on the weekend? I hear you've just had a meeting at the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. How did that go? What kind of causes are you most passionate about? I want to affect the fashion world and change the standards the media places on not just women but also men. I'm also heavy into pipeline shit right now, the environment is very important to me, and I want to do everything in my power to protect Mother Earth.
Yeah I was gonna ask about that, a lot of your Insta posts seem very spiritual and to do with self love, how do you keep a positive outlook in life? Being positive requires a lot of patience and inner strength, and most of my posts I think reflect that. I like to keep my follower peeps up to date with where I'm at on my healer's path and hopefully influence them in an enlightening way. "Woke" if you will.
I think body positivity is also a really important issue right now. As much as I champion diversity and love seeing beautiful women of all shapes and sizes, I sometimes find it hard to reconcile that with my own body image. I think all women struggle with it to a certain extent. Have you always felt comfortable in your skin growing up, or do you see it as work in progress? Unfortunately in the world we live in it's almost impossible to feel comfortable in your skin 24/7. Especially with what the media is constantly feeding us. I still have countless insecurities and fears, like everyone else I know. But we're getting there, slowly but surely. Which is a big reason I want to change this fashion / beauty stigma, so it's not as difficult for people around the world to feel beautiful just the way they are.
What does beauty mean to you? Beauty is not measured by numbers, or symmetry, or shapes, or sizes, or colours, or anything like that. Beauty, true beauty, should be measured by the soul, the character, integrity, intentions and mindset of a person, what comes out of their mouth. How they behave. Their heart.
I feel like the fashion industry is slowly starting to embrace diversity, why do you think this is happening now? Like, why are we talking more about body image? Ya the new generation is getting older. And that's what they want, what they are demanding. Change and honesty. Celebrating who they are, who their friends are, random people they meet. They're sick of reading lies and sick of unrealistic expectations in the media. The rest of the world, the racists, the homophobes, the sexists, they're getting outnumbered by people with open minds. So this world has no choice but to embrace every one else's beauty. Not just one idea of beauty. It's such a broad thing, "beauty." You can't put into just one template.
I think it's all comes down to changing the representation of women and beauty and embracing diversity in the mainstream… Of course. That's ma goallll.
How are you gonna go about doing that? Definitely to talk about it and spread the word, but also to set an example I guess. I'm not symmetrical, I'm not a size zero, I eat hella burgers and endless amounts of pizza. I can't fit into a runway sample size of designer clothes, I have scars and stretch marks and acne and I have cellulite. I'm human. Not a dress-up doll. The idea that we all have to fit one idea of beauty is outrageous and ridiculous because "perfection" is just an opinion.
Totally. What do you think is the hardest part of being a woman? Double standards definitely suck, being sexualised also isn't cool. When you're in the public eye and people write stuff about you, they're usually not as lenient with judgment as they are with men. Oh, not to mention having a president that doesn't respect you because you have a vagina. Men are hella dope, I definitely don't think women are superior. We just all deserve to be treated with respect and equality. Feels me?
I mean Trump is just an asshole. He's hurting a lot of people but he's also waking us up so… On behalf of the people that are starting a revolution, we def gotta thank him for the motivation.
I think when it comes to modern day feminism ppl get confused about what it means -- they either think it's a dirty word and don't associate with it or they take it to the extreme and push for superiority. That's not feminism though. Feminism asks for equality, not to be superior.
Exactly. It's just ignorance and fear of difference. It's all bullshit. There are plenty of cases where anti-men people use the word feminism as an excuse to validate their own hatred, in which case I understand the negative stigma around the word. But that's like saying all Christians are KKK members. Not all members of a group are extremists ya know. Whether it be religious or political or whatever
Totally. What do you think the bravest thing you can do as a young person? To stay educated, enlightened, and to stay true to yourself while facing everything that comes along with that head on.
V well put, you speak - well type - really eloquently have you ever thought about getting into writing? Well thank you love! I like writing it's definitely a fun outlet and a good way to practice and expand my vocabulary, but probably wouldn't get into it professionally.
What about your acting how's that going atm? What are you working on right now that most excites you? It's a surprise :)
Exciting! Aside from work and activism, what kind of things are you interested in? What are your creative outlets? Staying home with my dog pretty much all the time if I'm not working, reading is a great way to pass the time, hooked on all these new alien tv shows I've found, camping when I get the chance. That's about all I do lol.
Sounds pretty dreamy! Mellow life is a good life.
Ok last question, what are your hopes and dreams for the future? What changes do you want to see and where do you hope you will end up? My goal is enlightenment. I may not achieve it in this lifetime but I'd like to get a few steps closer to it. I hope to leave a positive impact on every person I meet along the way. I just wanna be happy.
Ahhh amazing! Paris thank you so much for chatting to me you've been a dream! Right back at ya!! <3
Text Tish Weinstock
Photography Willy Vanderperre
Styling Olivier Rizzo
Hair Anthony Turner at Streeters. Make-up Lynsey Alexander at Streeters. Nail technician Marisa Carmichael at Lowe & Co. Lighting technician Romain Dubus. Photography assistance Colin Smith and Fred Mitchel. Digital operator Henri Coutant. On-set retouching Stephane Virlogeux. Styling assistance Niccolo Torelli, Eugenia Gamero, Emily Moiseve and Derik Johnson. Wardrobe co-ordinator Leonel Becerra. Hair assistance Simon Khan and Drew Schaefering. Studio manager Charlotte Arts. Production Simon Malvindi and Hye Young Shim at Red Hook Labs. Productions co-ordinators Kevin Warner and Francis McKenzie. Production assistance Austin Kearns, Alex Woods and William Mathieu. Casting director Ashley Brokaw.