Q Magazine, Nov 2006
What are you up to?
I’m crazy busy and I’m pregnant!
Is #2 easier?
Oh yeah, oh my god, I think I sheltered myself with too much fear last time. Fear can kill you. I think going through that and everything else, I’m completely fearless.
What stage are you at?
Not really. All I want is ice, that’s all I want to do is eat ice.
Do you get Q?
Yes, I have some in my office right now. I think it’s supposed to be like the new, cool Rolling Stone. Like it’s so much cooler than Rolling Stone, so thank you guys for having me on the cover, I’m excited.
Do you actually read it?
I used to read it. I think now, it’s starting to get a bit more exposed, now, so sure…
What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen in Q?
There was something you did on Bono one time… Am I wrong? I thought that was kinda cool. A lot of his quotes are kind of quirky. He’s cool.
What were you doing 20 years ago?
What? I was four years old! I was probably at home in Louisiana eating popsicles. Aw…
How old were you when you bought your first album?
Probably when I was 12 or 13. I remember when CD’s came out, because we used to only have tape cassettes, and if you had a CD you were really cool. I went over to my neighbour’s house and they had like 9 million CDs and I thought they were just so incredibly rich or something. My first CD was, I think, Michael Jackson.
Oh my God! I don’t know…
Let’s see, that was 12 years ago so 1994… Was that Bad? No, that was way past Bad…
Mmm… I don’t know. I can’t remember which one.
Did you ever have vinyl?
Vinyl? Uh-uh, no. I had tapes, though.
What about your first album on tape?
Yeah, Debbie Gibson, and Tiffany and Vanilla Ice…. And you remember that song, “Do the locomotion with me… You got to swing your hips now. Come on baby. Jump up!” I remember that one. That was awesome. We all made up dances to that. Didn’t Kylie Minogue do that? She did do that! That’s so weird! Uh-uh! She looks so good now.
Who’s your favourite artist of the last 20 years.
Oh goodness… I don’t know if I have a favourite. I love Shania Twain, she always has good music, I love her husband Mutt Lange, I did a song with him once. But like as far as performers and stuff goes, I love Prince. Him and Beyonce did a great performance which was kinda cool. Who do you think has been good?
I don’t know, there’s been so many. I think U2 have really moved with the times.
Yeah, they have. Bono’s awesome, he’s really cool. Sting’s always good right? But he kinda disappeared for a little bit, which is good when they disappear for a bit. Is U2 always out there like that?
They seem to be.
They do don’t they? How do they do that?
Oh my God, Red Bull! You’re funny.
Is there a song over the last 20 years that you wish you wrote?
Oh there’s so many. You know that song Breathe? It goes “2 am da-na da-da-da?” Something like that? It’s a slow song. It’s about people judging her because she’s pregnant with a baby. And she’s like you know, they’re all hypocrites, we’re all here for the very same reason. Her words are like genius and she wrote the song. I don’t think it’s a true story, but it’s a really cool song – it’s real pretty and really well written. But I can’t remember her name [ed. it’s Anna Nalick].
And your all-time favourite song – your anthem – one song you can always count on.
I like Kiss by Prince. And I love Sinead O Connor, Nothing Compares to You.
Two Prince songs.
Oh, that’s a Prince song! Uh-uh! I didn’t know that. Oh my God. I love Prince!
Sounds like he’s your favourite artist of the last 20 years doesn’t it?
Yeah, uh-huh, Prince. He’s awesome.
What about a song that you really like that’s not cool, but you really like it anyway?
I like Baby Got Back – “I like Big Butts and I cannot lie, Some folks can’t deny…” I love that song. It’s so stupid and wrong but I love it. When you got your girlfriends with you and you start screaming that song out loud, you know – life’s OK!
That schoolgirl dress in the Baby One More Time video – whose idea was that?
It was my idea, because we had to come up with a concept for the video and everything, so we decided to go with the school thing. It was a fun video to make. I was kinda scared at first because I thought people would think it was too young and too teenybop and stuff. But I think the song was so cool it didn’t matter. That’s probably my favourite video.
Was it weird being a sex symbol so young?
I was like 16 years old then. Yeah, but you know what, a lot of people throw those connotations out there, like it was trying to be all sexual and stuff, but in actuality – this is going to sound weird – I walk around my house naked. I’ve always been very comfortable being nude. Since I was a little girl. And it’s not something I was trying to be sexual or anything, it’s just a safe feeling for me to be nude. I don’t feel like I have anything to hide. So when the song came out and we did the cover of Rolling Stone, there were all these things that came out – I can see how a person on the outside could judge a young girl. I don’t know… I do what feels comfortable and people can perceive it however they want.
But when they do specials on me they always say, she’s always trying to push that or whatever, but they did that to Shania Twain too, when she started showing her belly and people were like ‘Oh my God, she’s a mom and she’s a woman and she’s showing her belly’. But you know there are people too out there who are empowered by that, it’s empowering for some women because I think some women aren’t comfortable with themselves, they may take the judgement to the extreme the other way, and I always think you should look at it with great light. You know, shed light on it, like it’s an inspiring thing – you understand what I’m saying? – instead of like a negative thing.
You mean Shania Twain, or images of you?
I mean just general images of women. Yeah.
There was a lot of controversy in the early days of your career.
Some people in magazines, and I see it on TV shows in the states, they say like silly things like she’s trying to be too sexual and you know, not appropriate and stuff like that. Which I think is kinda silly. Because you know, we’re from the South and it’s hot down there, we don’t like to wear clothes!
There was a thing about the uniform… Are uniforms sexy?
Yeah, I think I like any type of uniforms… I think police officers uniforms are sexy. I don’t know, you can use your imagination. I think it’s fun.
Do police officers win? I suppose firemen are covered in all that stuff.
[laughs] Maybe a girl in a souped up cute police officer’s outfit would be cute. But you’re right – fireman have too much stuff on them.
There’s that power thing as well, with police. She’s in charge.
Yeah, that’s kinda cool. Maybe in my next video I’ll be a police officer. And I could be shooting all the paparazzi! That’s a great idea! I love it!
Everyone was obsessed with your virginity back then.
It’s so weird now, looking back on it. At the time, seriously, I was kinda oblivious to it. I mean, like I think about my virginity – you know what I mean? All that American sweetheart and the virginity thing, yeah, it was kinda silly.
You did say at the time that girls should save themselves for marriage.
Yeah, when people put you on the spot like that, you’ve got to say something. It’s not something you’re going to talk about with your family. And of course you’re not going to tell the world. So when I did actually do it, it was like – well, do I make a press conference about having sex? I mean, it’s really none of anybody’s business. So when it does come out, it’s kind of a weird situation.
I think the cat’s out of the bag by now.
You think? I think they all know by now.
Was it a game back then?
I didn’t even think of it like that. I was asked that in press conferences, but it wasn’t something I obsessed over. I thought it was kind of silly that they would even ask the question.
Did you always tell the truth about it?
Oh at first I was telling the truth, but then later, after I did, and my boyfriend told everybody, then I guess the cat’s out of the bag then…
The high point of your career.
Really, my performances and being able to travel and go to MTV Europe and perform at those big events. That was so much fun. And being able to be with all the other artists who do what you love to do. It’s really cool. I mean, I love the recording process, but the whole traveling thing, I think it’s fun, you know.
Was there a particular period, year, that stood out?
Probably the MTV Europe awards. That was awesome. I won like I think 4 awards that night, and all my VMA performances in the States, they were awesome.
How long before you’re out performing again?
Next year may be a kind of crazy year for me. It’s been four years since I’ve performed, but next year I’m going to try and get it on again. So we’ll see…
With your little kids?
I know, with my boo-boos…
What about kissing Madonna? That was a huge pop moment.
That was kind of crazy. That was Madonna’s idea for the whole wedding thing, and she got me obsessed with marrying somebody after that.
Have you kissed her since?
Oh no! God no!
Wasn’t it the start of something beautiful?
No! Oh my God!
Your proudest achievement?
My baby, definitely.
Your most memorable phone call?
Other than this one, obviously.
Ha! Probably the call when I got the Mickey Mouse Club. I was like 13 years old… I will never forget that. They called the house and told me I got it. I was so excited.
What about the lowpoint of your career – the hardest part to get through, the bit you wish never happened?
No, I know this sounds cheesy – everything that has happened, I’ve learned from it and it’s made me a lot stronger. It happened for a reason basically. For me to do something differently. So I don’t really regret anything. You have to mistakes sometimes to learn some stuff.
What were the mistakes you’re talking about?
The biggest mistake I’ve made in my life is probably listening to other people. Because as a child, you don’t really listen to other people – you listen to yourself right, all the time. That inner voice, you know… And I think there’s been times when I’ve been manipulated, but you just have to learn from that and be strong and not let people take advantage of you.
So many things. Oh yeah… A bunch of things. But it’s cool, though. That won’t happen any more. I don’t want to give you an example!
What’s been the best bit of gossip you’ve read about yourself?
Oh God, they’ll just say anything to sell their magazines and newspapers. You’d think that stuff like that would be illegal, but it’s not, so they get away with it. But I think the universe has a really great way of working out cause and effect. And I think they end up getting theirs, so in the end it always works out.
I love that word.
So the best piece of gossip you’ve heard about yourself…
That I’m an alien. That I’m not from here, really. Overseas did that one time. Just a bunch of silly stuff.
What kind of alien?
I don’t know, they just said I was an alien and I don’t know it’s weird. I was like ‘ok…’ You just have to laugh at it.
If you could have another go at your career, what would you do differently?
Probably not worry about the petty stuff you know… I don’t know, as a girl you do that sometimes, it’s your nature to worry about stupid stuff, to let things bother you that much. To be completely like a superwoman and not let things affect you so much. And be unaffected, I think that would be really cool. In general, I am kinda unaffected. There are probably some certain situations that I wouldn’t let get to me. There’s just little bitty things sometimes… Like if you have a bad phone conversation with your mom or your dad.
Your best and worst haircut that you’ve had.
Oh gosh, there was one time before an AMA performance when I coloured my hair and I accidentally coloured it purple. It was really really bad. I was hosting the whole show and my hair was purple. It took someone all day to do my hair over. I thought I could colour it myself, but if you put dark over blonde, no, you need to go to the salon.
And your best haircut?
My baby’s crying, I’ve got to go now.