Janet Jackson Talks Body Positivity, Lizzo, Super Bowl Wardrobe Malfunction, and More

Famed artist Janet Jackson is talking body positivity, reverence for the singer/songwriter Lizzo and so much more in a new interview.

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Unlike in her day, Jackson notes in a new interview with Allure Magazine, when most or all of the female pop stars had to be as thin as possible, today, the Grammy Award-winning artist sees that things have changed—and she’s happy for it.

These ladies, Jackson says, are “comfortable in their skin, in their size, in being full-figured and I love that, as opposed to back in the day. You had to always be thin and always look a certain way. And now it’s all accepted and it is all beautiful and I absolutely love that.”

Jackson specifically cited Lizzo, the 33-year-old fabulous full-figured and ubiquitous pop star who tore up the charts with her 2019 album, Cuz I Love You. (Lizzo recently called Jackson the Queen of Pop.)

Remembering her signature looks and style, Jackson says she didn’t play up more feminine traits. Perhaps because they seemed fraught to her at the time.

“I was never a girly girl. I was always a tomboy,” Jackson said. “So it was always about pants, suits, even as an early teenager. I remember when my brothers got their star on the Walk of Fame and other awards they got, and I look back on pictures and I always had on a suit with a tie, a bow tie, or suspenders. Always loving black and never wanting to expose any part of my body, I felt most comfortable to cover it up to here.”

Jackson also touched on the infamous album cover for her LP Janet, in which she posed topless with only hands covering her chest (the hands of her then-husband Rene Elizondo). The singer noted that was a difficult moment for her.

“Embracing me,” Jackson said to the outlet, “and trying to learn to love me for me, my body, all of that. Trying to feel comfortable in embracing that. Throwing myself in the lion’s den. Just going for it, wanting to do something different.

“It took a lot of work, a lot of work. It was something very tough, very difficult,” she added. “But I’m glad I walked through it. I’m really glad I got in. It was a way of accepting and loving, accepting yourself and your body.”

Unlike many people in her position, Janet said she does not do plastic surgery to look young these days.

“Everyone would always want to stay young and this and that but it’s inevitable. I mean, we’re all going to get there,” she explained. “There’s another road. It’s a little bit of zhuzh. I don’t know when my day is coming, but at some point, it’s going to come and I can choose which path I want to take. I do hope I age gracefully. It’s either a little bit of zhuzh or gracefully.”

Jackson, who has a new documentary out (the second about her, but the only one she’s helped produce), talked about one of the biggest subjects in her past: the Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” with Justin Timberlake.

It’s still a hard topic to discuss, she says.

“It’s tough for me to talk about that time,” said Jackson, adding, “Whether I want to be part of that conversation or not, I am part of that conversation. I think it’s important. Not just for me, but for women. So I think it’s important that conversation has been had. You know what I mean? And things have changed obviously since then for the better.”

Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images

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