Paris Jackson doesn't need to be famous. As the daughter of the late icon Michael Jackson, she could live out her days in quiet solitude, far from the bustle of stardom. But she hasn't — in fact, this year feels like the year of Paris Jackson. From attending the Met Ball to maybe possibly representing Calvin Klein to earning her first role in a movie, the 19-year-old is having a moment in the spotlight. The teen star opened up in a cover story for Teen Vogue about why, well, she's opening up.
"I honestly used to have no motivation whatsoever to be in the public eye; it scared me," Jackson admitted in the text message interview. "But after a long time of thinking, I started to really see the kind of impact I already have on people, how I was born with a platform, and I didn’t want to waste it."
Jackson has always been a person of public interest. She's the daughter of one of the great musicians of all time; there's a heaping amount of curiosity that will follow here wherever she goes. But she didn't really frequent our feeds until early 2016, when stories about the minutiae of her life started to go viral. She got tattoos and documented the process on Instagram. She vacation seflie'd. She debuted a blue pixie cut at prom. Meanwhile, the public was fascinated — today, she has more than a million followers on Instagram.
But Jackson became more than just a social media star — the teenager quickly stepped into the role of activist, posting about the pressures of social media and speaking candidly about the connection between mental health and online bullying. This is the goal, according to her most recent interview. All of her fame-related activities are an effort to expand her platform.
"So many people right now are so focused on what kind of shoes this person has, the designer purse they carry, what car they drive, [or] whether they wear the same outfit more than once. I want to use my platform for something other than that. I want to actually make a difference," Jackson told Teen Vogue. "So everything that I’m doing — the acting, the modelling — it’s all just to grow my platform so I can use my voice for things that matter." Fame isn't the goal; influence is.
As for her activist tentpoles, the California native cares about animals, the environment, and, most specifically, what's happening in Venezuela. (Due to a rapidly shrinking economy, the Latin American country is facing a series of crises — The New York Times compared the state of the country to that of a state engaged in civil war.)
"I’m glad you’re using your position in this world for good," Teen Vogue told the star.
Her response: "It’s my only purpose on this earth, I think."