Four years ago, I had the rare opportunity to interview Paris Jackson at the Jackson family home in Los Angeles. Now, as she attends the 157th Emirates Melbourne Cup, it's wonderful to witness the girl I met then grow into a beautiful and poised young woman.
It makes me recall that special moment when she sat cross-legged in her bedroom adorned with pictures of her dad Michael Jackson. I wasn’t meant to interview her that day, but she decided not to talk to the journalist present and for whatever reason, perhaps because I’m a mum, asked for me instead. The reason I was there in the first place was because I had helped set up the interview for the Mail On Sunday’s debut issue of Event magazine.
We spent the next two days together and even enjoyed a memorable lunch with Michael’s devoted mother Kathryn Jackson. Before Paris did what was her first cover shoot (with LA photographer Brian Bowen Smith), she told me of her wish for her father’s billion dollar legacy to be used to restore his Neverland estate for sick children to enjoy.
This, she said, was what he would have wanted. Not surprisingly, the story made headlines and TV news bulletins around the world.
She also spoke movingly of her father’s attempts to give his family an ordinary childhood and explained that’s why he concealed their identities. On tour, she said that they did fun things together. This included turning hotel bedrooms into home cinemas with a portable projector and a bed sheet.
“He was an incredible father,” she said. “He didn’t want anyone to see what we looked like. That way we could have what he didn’t, which was a normal childhood.”
Today, Paris will visit the Myer Marquee and the 1 Oliver Street Marquee in the famous Birdcage .of the VRC’s Flemington racecourse.
While we will update pictures of Paris later today, let’s do a quick recap of her career.
Paris, 19, began to pursue her career earlier this year and has already landed her first Vogue Australia. The IMG-signed model has also graced the covers of Rolling Stone, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, CR Fashion Book and i-D, collaborating with top photographers including Patrick Demarchelier, Willy Vanderperre, David LaChapelle, Mario Sorrenti, Jean-Paul Goude, Jean-Baptiste Mondino and Hedi Slimane.
Through Paris’ work with esteemed fashion editor Carine Roitfeld (Founder of CR Fashion Book) she was introduced to the award-winning director and producer Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler), who, at the time, was working on the final episodes of the first season of his musical-drama series Star (Fox).
Daniels became so enamoured by Paris’ unique beauty, charm and talent that he wrote a guest appearance into the series for her.
She will reprise her role for a short arc in Season 2.
Paris’ next acting project will see her work with Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Joel Edgerton and David Oyelowo in the feature film Gringo (Amazon Studios & STX), premiering 9 March 2018.
She is also a passionate humanitarian and activist, choosing to use her fame to highlight causes, including HIV/AIDS and global warming.
She was recently appointed an Ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) and is passionate about continuing her godmother’s legacy of ridding the stigma and finding a cure for the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
On her first trip to Melbourne, Paris said: “It’s always been a dream of mine to visit Australia. It’s one of the most beautiful places that I’ve seen pictures of, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic to tune in and connect to one of the most high frequency and gorgeous regions on the planet. I wasn’t familiar with the Melbourne Cup Carnival before the opportunity came up to attend this year, but once it was brought to my attention, I asked my Aussie friends about it and heard so many incredible things!
“They say it’s ‘the race that stops a nation’, and I’m eager to experience this tradition for myself! I’m working with an Australian designer to come up with an outfit that will fit with the traditional fashions of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, while still incorporating my own personal style.
For more on Michael Jackson, check out our stories on 9 celebrity’s surprising favourite flowers, here.
Hero picture of Paris Jackson by Getty Pictures.