Janet Jackson, Living JoyfullyMay 23, 2012
The persona that is Janet Jackson is nothing like Janet Jackson, real and in the flesh. In person, she is sweet and soft-spoken and, at 5-foot-4, has a vulnerability that might seem at odds with her other identity, as the five-time Grammy Award-winning artist who has sold more than 100 million records. And that dichotomy is perfectly okay with her: If you want to know her, just listen to your iPod. “My songs are normally about what’s going on in my life at the moment. I don’t need to keep a diary,” Jackson says.
Photo: Jackson (center) hugs a new friend during a visit to Cotlands, a nonprofit children’s organization in South Africa that provides help for kids coping with HIV/AIDS and nutrition issues.
Love, body image, and life itself are just a few of her themes, as is her ongoing war with her waistline. She is almost as famous for her shifting silhouette as is the queen of yo-yo dieting, Oprah Winfrey—particularly when faced with hard times. And these past few years have had very hard times indeed, notably the 2009 death of her beloved brother Michael.
Why You Shouldn’t Be a Diet Perfectionist
Prevention talked to 46-year-old Jackson about her recent weight loss, widely touted in her new ads for Nutrisystem. Her work has paid off: Within 2 months of Jackson signing on as a spokeswoman, first-time orders were up by their highest percentage in 4 years. Read on for highlights from our interview with Janet Jackson, and pick up the July issue on newsstands now!
On her public weight losses and gains:
“I think people really connect with the idea of someone who’s gained and lost weight in this very public way, and also someone who’s an emotional eater. Chocolate, cake, caramel apples—there aren’t many things I don’t love.”
How her friends keep her healthy:
“Knowing I have these problems with body image, I ask my friends and family to tell me when I’ve lost too much too. Because I will continue to pick on myself, like all women do, and say, You need to [lose] more here, more there.”
The health scares she’s managed to avoid:
“Health was always a concern. When I gained weight in 2005, my nutritionist was very worried. I was close to having diabetes. Even when I lost it [and] then gained quite a bit back, there was always the thought of heart disease.”
Her workout regimen:
“I don’t like to work out, and I get bored easily. Tony Martinez [her trainer] is great. He comes up with something new all the time. There are times when I don’t want to run on the beach, but he knows I love sports, so he’ll bring a football—or I’m just like a dog with a tennis ball. When I’m getting ready for a tour, I’ll work out with the dancers. He’ll put us in teams, and we’ll do all sorts of drills and races.”
On being a role model for her niece Paris (Michael’s 14-year-old daughter, who has already landed her first film role in Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys):
“We’ve spoken about the fact that you’re only a child once. I think there’s a time for everything, and now is not the time [to act in films]. I told her I thought she should enjoy being a kid, possibly go to college—or not—but wait till she turns 18. She’s a very tough, smart girl. But it’s a cutthroat industry. I wouldn’t want my child to do it.”
How she feels about herself today:
“I honestly don’t even know what size I am. Now it’s about looking in the mirror and saying, I feel good. I feel healthy.”
Read more: Prevention.com