Last week I was invited for dinner with the wonderful Janet Jackson as she flew into London to promote her new Lionsgate movie with Tyler Perry – Why Did I get Married Too?
First thing you realise with Janet is she’s incredibly shy and takes a while to warm up in social situations. But once she’s had a nice fruity cocktail she was on form. Charming, relaxed and very personable. She wants to know what you do, where you come from and what you do for a living. It was pretty much a dream come true to meet her. Here’s what we nattered about….
How are you coping with being the death of your brother Michael?
It’s getting easier to deal with by the day but it has been the hardest few months of my life. Having my family around has gotten me through all of this. I guess working on the film made it easier too.
We’ve all become so much closer from losing him. I really do rely on my brothers a lot these days. The kids are doing great now too and that’s a great thing. I’d be lying if I said I was doing OK and I’m back to normal – it’s still is a struggle. The love from his fans all across the world does help things along.
Do you actually manage to have a private life?
I like the fact I mange to keep a lot of my life private from the public eye. Everyone thinks I’m single but I’m not. I’m seeing somebody special and its great right now. They are making me incredibly happy.
And what about working out – you’re in fabulous shape these days.
Getting in the gym doesn’t get easier – and anyone who says they enjoy it is lying. I don’t believe them. I hate working out. I’m in the gym for my next film role right now. It’s called For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Ranbow is Enuf. I can’t do anything like yoga or those bending classes – they don’t agree with me. I need to do cardio and work hard.
Being in a gym has never been an enjoyable experience – especially when people are looking at you in photos and talking about what you look like.
And what about the music – juggling all your work must be quite a task?
I hope to tour soon and get back out there with my music. I’m constantly writing and working on new tracks but I don’t know whether I’ll have a new album soon – I’m working on the films right now.
So you’ve slimmed down and chopped your hair off.
I slimmed down and did the hair for my next film if I’m honest. I like the short hair and it’s not the first time I’ve had it this short. So it’s nothing new for me. I had it like this with Michael when we picked up an award for Scream. So it’s like revisiting an old style.
How do you chill and relax when you’re at home?
I love watching movies and doing normal things at home. I’ve seen Avatar five times and I’m very normal away from the public eye. I can’t wait to see Sex and the City and see what they do with that. I don’t know which girl I’m most like at all. But I hope it’s just as good as the first.
And what have you managed to get up to in London?
I’ve spent the days running around Chelsea and the Kings Road, been out on Bond Street and Sloane Street shopping and I’ve been getting to grips with London. I feel naturally very at home here. So it’s been lovely. I’d love to come back here and tour – I’ve always had such a great reception from people here. I try to go out without being recognised – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t wear disguises though.
Other guests at the exclusive event included T4 host Jameela Jamil, Capital’s Margherita Taylor, Claudia Winkleman, Noel Clarke and Radio One DJ Nihal.