For a name as renown as Paris Jackson‘s, it’s ironic that very little is known about the actual person.
Thrust into the spotlight as the daughter of the most famous name in recent memory, Michael Jackson, the world’s knowledge of her is limited.
Indeed, during her 18 years, she’s spent her childhood in a mask, was the grieving daddy’s girl at the King of Pop’s funeral, and in 2013 was the teen who attempted suicide.
Now in a markedly better place, Paris is an aspiring model; one who is beginning to embrace a spotlight that she inherited rather than chased.
In a startlingly honest interview with Rolling Stone, she addresses a lengthy list of topics – including, but not limited to, her DNA, growing up at Neverland, her relationship with mother Debbie Rowe, her attempts at ending her life, and her drummer boyfriend. She also muses on her 50 plus tattoos, many of which are dedicated to her dad and one of which is of his late rival Prince.
It’s a long, yet riveting read. Check out the most resonating excerpts below…
On Losing Her Father:
“They always say, ‘Time heals’ but it really doesn’t. You just get used to it. I live life with the mentality of ‘OK, I lost the only thing that has ever been important to me.’ So going forward, anything bad that happens can’t be nearly as bad as what happened before. So I can handle it. I feel him with me all the time.”
On Having Several Tattoos In Honor Of MJ:
“He’s brought me nothing but joy. So why not have constant reminders of joy?”
On Her 2013 Suicide Attempt:
“It was just self-hatred. [I had] low self-esteem, thinking that I couldn’t do anything right, not thinking I was worthy of living anymore.”
[Jackson added that she had been self-harming, cutting herself, managing to conceal it from her family. Some of her tattoos now cover the scars, as well as what she says are track marks from drug use. Before that, she had already attempted suicide “multiple times,” she says, with an incongruous laugh. “It was just once that it became public.”]
On Hanging With The Wrong Crowd At School
“[They were] a lot of older people doing a lot of crazy things. I was doing a lot of things that 13-, 14-, 15-year-olds shouldn’t do. I tried to grow up too fast, and I wasn’t really that nice of a person.”
On Facing Cyberbullying:
“The whole freedom-of-speech thing is great. But I don’t think that our Founding Fathers predicted social media when they created all of these amendments and stuff.”
On Being Sexually Assaulted By A Stranger At Age 14:
“I don’t wanna give too many details. But it was not a good experience at all, and it was really hard for me, and, at the time, I didn’t tell anybody.”
On Being In A Better Place:
“I’m a completely different person. I was crazy. I was actually crazy. I was going through a lot of, like, teen angst. And I was also dealing with my depression and my anxiety without any help.”
On 26-Year-Old Rock Drummer Boyfriend Michael Snoody:
“I never met anyone before who made me feel the way music makes me feel”
On Modelling & Her Looks:
“Plenty of people think I’m ugly, and plenty of people don’t. But there’s a moment when I’m modeling where I forget about my self-esteem issues and focus on what the photographer’s telling me – and I feel pretty. And in that sense, it’s selfish.”
On Not Knowing Her Dad Was “Michael Jackson” Growing Up:
“I just thought his name was Dad, Daddy,” she says. “We didn’t really know who he was. But he was our world. And we were his world.”
On Life At Neverland:
“We actually had a pretty normal life. Like, we had school every single day, and we had to be good. And if we were good, every other weekend or so, we could choose whether we were gonna go to the movie theater or see the animals or whatever. But if you were on bad behavior, then you wouldn’t get to go do all those things.”
On MJ Schooling Her On Music:
“My dad worked with Van Halen, so I got into Van Halen. He worked with Slash, so I got into Guns N’ Roses. He introduced me to Tchaikovsky and Debussy, Earth, Wind and Fire, the Temptations, Tupac, Run-DMC.”
On MJ’s Tolerance:
“My dad raised me in a very open-minded house. I was eight years old, in love with this female on the cover of a magazine. Instead of yelling at me, like most homophobic parents, he was making fun of me, like, ‘Oh, you got yourself a girlfriend.’
On MJ Schooling Her On Race:
“His number-one focus for us, besides loving us, was education. And he wasn’t like, ‘Oh, yeah, mighty Columbus came to this land!’ He was like, ‘No. He fucking slaughtered the natives.’ He did have kind of a potty mouth. He cussed like a sailor. But he was also “very shy.”
On Believing MJ Is Her Biological Father & Being Black:
“He is my father. He will always be my father. He never wasn’t, and he never will not be. People that knew him really well say they see him in me, that it’s almost scary.
I consider myself black. [Dad] would look me in the eyes and he’d point his finger at me and he’d be like, ‘You’re black. Be proud of your roots.’ And I’d be like, ‘OK, he’s my dad, why would he lie to me?’ So I just believe what he told me. ‘Cause, to my knowledge, he’s never lied to me.”
Most people that don’t know me call me white. I’ve got light skin and, especially since I’ve had my hair blond, I look like I was born in Finland or something.
[She points out that it’s far from unheard of for mixed-race kids to look like her – accurately noting that her complexion and eye color are similar to the TV actor Wentworth Miller’s, who has a black dad and a white mom.]
On Her Mother Debbie Rowe:
“When I was really, really young, my mom didn’t exist. [Until I realized] a man can’t birth a child. [At age 10 or so, I asked my older brother] “we gotta have a mom, right?”
[I then asked dad] and he’s like, ‘Yeah.’ And I was like, ‘What’s her name?’ And he’s just like, ‘Debbie.’ And I was like, ‘OK, well, I know the name.'”
[After her father’s death, she started researching her mom online, and they got together when Paris was 13. They were again in touch after her suicide attempt and more recently after Rowe completed chemo as part of her breast cancer fight ]
I’ve had a lot of mother figures (my grandmother and nannies etc), but by the time my mom came into my life, it wasn’t a ‘mommy’ thing. It’s more of an adult relationship.
[I see myself in her] We’re both very stubborn.”
On The Ill-Fated ‘This Is It’ Shows:
“[Dad] kind of hyped it up to us. He was like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna live in London for a year.’ We were super-excited – we already had a house out there we were gonna live in.”
[He was exhausted, though]. I’d tell him, ‘Let’s take a nap, because he looked tired. We’d be in school, meaning downstairs in the living room, and we’d see dust falling from the ceiling and hear stomping sounds because he was rehearsing upstairs.”
On Being Convinced Her Dad Was Murdered:
“Absolutely. Because it’s obvious. All arrows point to that. It sounds like a total conspiracy theory and it sounds like bullshit, but all real fans and everybody in the family knows it. It was a setup. It was bullshit.”
Chiming in on the feature, Paris’ older brother Prince Michael said of his sister:
“Basically, as a person, she is who my dad is. The only thing that’s different would be her age and her gender.”
[She is like him ]in all of her strengths, and almost all of her weaknesses as well. She’s very passionate. She is very emotional to the point where she can let emotion cloud her judgment.”
Paris, of course, has a lot of life left to live. But, for a family so private, it was interesting seeing behind the veil. And in a way that didn’t feel harmful or over-exposing.
We wish her the best.