In a new interview with BET.com, Janet talks about how she stays healthy, her age and and how she makes the bed when her housekeeper isn’t on duty. Read ths interview in full below:
While Ciara was still sipping on Similac, Janet Jackson was ruling the world with her Rhythm Nation. Now two decades deep in the game, some say the 41-year-old icon is past her prime. But slow down with the wheelchair and walking stick – Jackson’s not ready to pack up her dancing shoes just yet. Her tenth studio album, Discipline, hits stores today and with Ne-Yo, The-Dream and Stargate producing along with boyfriend Jermaine Dupri, Jackson obviously ain’t ready to give it up yet. And why should she? Looking good and still stretching the limits of video, Janet remains on top. She talked to BET.com recently about where she’s been and where’s she’s headed.
BET.com: After all these years, what’s different now about releasing a CD? Do you still get excited about it?
Janet Jackson: Yeah, I’m very excited about it. One big difference is that I’m with a new company, Island, and the other would be just being able to sit back and enjoy it in a different way and I think that has to do with being older. My family is always telling me to enjoy it. Enjoy the space that you’re in; just getting older and realizing what’s really important and just being wiser and being able to allow myself to sit back and still work and enjoy the moment.
Do you do anything to combat age now that you’re older? Are you taking more herbs or doing any holistic therapies or anything like that?
No, I don’t. We’ve always taken ginseng and wheat grass and royal jelly. We’ve taken that from the beginning, so all of that’s the same. Just being a dancer, you start to feel that wear and tear on your body. When I did “Pleasure Principle” they couldn’t get the pads right away and so all that stuff I did on my knees. I had to dance on my knees in rehearsal, so you start to feel your knees. Now, I have a torn meniscus in both knees. I’ve seen doctors in Europe [but] I don’t know if I want to do surgery. I have a high tolerance for pain so I live with it. It doesn’t have to do with age right now.
You’ve always been honest about your age. Do you regret that?
I did have a choice, but that’s the way my family kind of grew up. My mother never cared.We never lied about our ages. A lot of people in this business lied about their age. We look younger than our ages anyway. As a people, there’s a great deal of pride to be taken in that. Its really how you feel inside. Age is just a number. I’m real quick to tell how old my sisters are! (laughs).
Speaking of sisters, you’re an auntie. How do you work that out with all your nieces and nephews?
You know what — I think I suck as an aunt! I get calls: ‘Auntie Janet we miss you’ and I love the fact that my nieces and nephews are adults now with children of their own. But someone said that they considered me the cool aunt. That’s because they talk to me and I don’t tell. They have someone in the family to go to and get advice from and I won’t even start telling you about that. My brothers and sisters would probably kill me for the advice I give.
How many nieces and nephews do you have? It must be rough on you during holidays and birthdays.
Omigod, 20 something 27, 28 something like that. I only get presents for the kids and what I really like doing is getting a gift card. I’d rather for them to go get something they really want.
Do you choose your album title because of what it took for you to have a career with this kind of longevity?
Exactly, that’s it. It has a lot of different feelings for me and that spoke to me. Out of all the songs it does take a great deal of discipline and focus to have the kind of career that I have at such a young age. It’s what I saw from my brothers and after seeing them successful at the age of 2-years-old, I realized that’s where that hard work got you.
I think I’ve pretty much got the discipline under control but I think one of the toughest things for me was my yo-yo’ing with weight and that had a great deal to do with what was going on in my life. And that’s why I’m writing a book about that. My nutritionist talked me into it and its really from my soul – my journey of weight gain and loss and being an emotional eater. It turns into a great deal of discipline in that area of my life. It’s much easier to maintain than to keep doing it [dieting] over and over. It’s the people you have around you. You have to have a great support team.
I thought you were going to say something like your closets are messy and that’s where you lack discipline.
Are you kidding? My mother wouldn’t have a messy closet or a messy room. I still make the bed up when the housekeeper is off. Jermaine has never made a bed up before in his life. (laughs) We were in a hotel and when I told him we had to make the bed when we were leaving, he was like ‘I’ve never made a bed up in my life. Are you serious?’ I said, ‘Well this is a perfect time to learn.’ He did a good job but he’ll probably never do it again. I wish I had a camera!
What have you learned from Jermaine both personally and professionally?
People consider me a pop artist and I’ve always done things or music or songs on albums that the black community has enjoyed — “I Get Lonely” “Anytime, Any Place” “That’s the Way Love Goes,” because of my last name and my family. But also, Jermaine has helped to widen that spectrum for myself with the music that we’ve created and having a number one song with Nelly.
I get lessons on a daily basis from Jermaine. One of the things about our relationship is that is a 50/50 relationship. When one of us needs the floor, the other listens and vice versa. I’ve learned more about the industry than I knew before. He’s very, very smart. I find that very attractive. I love being around people that I can learn from and hopefully you’re giving them something in return. That’s what makes it work in any relationship — friendship, whatever it is.
Do you have girlfriends?
Yes, it’s very important. I don’t have a lot of friends. Girls can be messy at times. We can be a mess, so I’m real picky about the friends that I have. I have some from school, some from junior high school, some from my early to mid 20’s and none of them are in the business. I consider the dancers my friends as well. We work together a lot. We’re on the road for 12 months at a time. It’s important to have that family atmosphere.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?
Honestly, I don’t know but I think it’s that I don’t have a sense of humor. I’ve heard that before.
You seem to be in a really good place.
I am. I’m happy with the way things have turned out either good or bad, because it’s made me who am I am today.
So at this point, what do you know for sure?