A new album, a new life
Twice married, Janet Jackson talks about her music and film career, her bad luck with men and her goals
With her new album All For You, which follows last year's hit single Doesn't Really Matter, the newly single Janet Jackson couldn't be happier -- as evidenced by the lighter, upbeat sound on the new album.
ON ALL YOUR ALBUMS YOU'RE VERY OPEN ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. DO YOU FEEL VULNERABLE HAVING YOUR EMOTIONS OUT THERE FOR PEOPLE TO SCRUTINIZE?
I guess, but you know, it's my life. I think there's such a thing as privacy and keeping things to yourself. But yes, it is a very vulnerable state to be in.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT THE SINGLE ALL FOR YOU IS ABOUT? DID YOU HAVE ANYONE PARTICULAR IN MIND WHEN YOU WERE WRITING IT?
When I was writing it, I saw myself sitting in a club, 'cause that's where it always happens. You know, someone's staring at you and it's a physical attraction and you just wish they would approach you. And you get this feeling that they want to, but there's this fear. And the only thing I could truly chalk it up to is intimidation, because I've been told that so many times.
I IMAGINE GUYS MUST BE TOO INTIMIDATED TO APPROACH YOU.
Every guy that I've ever gone out with, I've always asked them out, I've always approached them. There have been times when guys have asked me out, and it's always the wrong guy, so you just wish the right guy would ask you out. Or the one that you're hoping will ask you, doesn't ask you.
HOW IS SINGLE LIFE TREATING YOU?
Great! I never dated before. Working since I was a kid, I mean there was really never any time, and then with my mother being a Jehovah's Witness, you weren't supposed to date unless you were thinking about getting married. That's just the way it was within the religion, so I never really did the dating thing, and anyone that I did wind up seeing, I wound up marrying, which was only two guys. [Laughs.]
ARE YOU WITH ANYONE AT THE MOMENT?
No, just dating.
THE NUTTY PROFESSOR WAS A HUGE SUCCESS. ANYTHING ELSE LINED UP AS FAR AS ACTING IS CONCERNED?
As of right now, no. It's just the album and touring, so that's gonna take a good year or so of my life. After that, I would love to do another film.
CAN YOU COMPARE THE MOVIE AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRIES? DO YOU THINK ONE'S LESS SEXIST THAN THE OTHER?
Oh, God. That's pretty tough. I think maybe, maybe the music might be a little bit better. It's easier to get your music to cross over to the adult contemporary, mainstream kind of area, but with films, it seems like you see all the older guys getting these roles with these younger women, and you don't see that with female actresses.
WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF ACTING THAT YOU DON'T GET OUT OF MUSIC?
Music is more about my life and what's going on with me at the moment or things that have happened in my past. With acting, you totally are out of yourself; you become a completely different character and you can go anyplace you want.
DOES IT CONCERN YOU THAT THE CHARTS ARE SO INUNDATED WITH 'N SYNC, BRITNEY SPEARS AND THE WHOLE TEEN GENRE?
No, actually, some of the guys from 'N Sync and Backstreet are friends. I think there's enough room for all of us, even though we're all trying to grab that same spot, which is the No. 1 spot on the charts.
IF BRITNEY AND CHRISTINA AGUILERA ASKED YOU TO DO A DUET BUT YOU COULD ONLY CHOOSE ONE, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
Oh God, if I had to answer honestly, it would probably be Britney, because she reminds me more of myself than Christina does.
YOU'VE BEEN VOTED THE WORLD'S SEXIEST WOMAN IN MANY MAGAZINES THE WORLD ROUND. WHO DO YOU THINK THE SEXIEST MAN IS?
Well, see, that's hard. I think Benicio Del Toro is sexy, but see, I'm very attracted to acting, and when actors capture me in a certain way, oh, it's just, I'm butter in their hands.
HAVE YOU BEEN PUT OFF BY MARRIAGE NOW?
Uh, geez, it doesn't seem like marriage is for me, huh? It was my second go around. I'm gonna give Elizabeth Taylor a run for her money any minute, I feel. [Laughs.]
WHAT'S THE BEST AND WORST THING ABOUT BEING SINGLE?
Oh, God, you would ask me this question. The best thing about being single. I guess, oh, God, I feel so badly in saying so but just having fun when you want with who you want at any given time you want, I suppose. I hope that doesn't sound too badly. Plus maybe pigging out on chocolate at four at the morning if I want to. And also having your space, not to say that I wasn't given my space whenever I needed it before, but having your space at those times when you truly need it, and not having to say, "I need my space right now." You know, it's just like, ahhh, I just need some peace and quiet, I'm gonna go back to my place, be by myself, put on Jill Scott, just relax. The worst thing about being single is on those days when you just feel like you're gonna cry 'cause you want some so badly and there's nobody around.
YOU'VE ACHIEVED SO MANY PROFESSIONAL GOALS, WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL GOALS?
Well, you know I never thought I was going to have children. Now I'm starting to think about it a little bit, so that might be something that at some point I will do in my life. Will I be married when that happens? I don't know. I'm opposed to being a single parent though. There's a lot that I want to do -- continue acting, possibly produce films.
LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS?
None. I wouldn't change a thing because I've learned from everything that has happened, both positive and negative.