How are you?
I’m crazy busy and I’m pregnant!
Is baby number two easier?
Oh yeah, oh my God, I think I sheltered myself with fear last time. Fear can kill you.
Not really. All I want is ice. That’s all I want to do – 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,” 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, 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?
That was probably when I was 12 or 13. I can remember when CDs first started becoming really popular, 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, nine 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…
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 and her husband, Mutt Lange. I did a song with him once (“Don’t Let Me Be The Last To Know”). But, like, as far as performers and stuff goes, I love Prince. Him and Beyonce did a great performance at the 2004 Grammy Awards, which was kinda cool.
Which track do you wish you’d written?
Oh, there’s so many. You know that song, “Breathe”? It goes, “2am 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 same reason. Her words are, like, genius and she wrote the song. It’s a really cool song – it’s real pretty and really well written. But I can’t remember her name. [Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2am),” a US hit in 2005]
And your all-time favourite song?
I like “Kiss” by Prince. And I love Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
Two Prince songs.
Oh, that’s a Prince song? Uh-uh! I didn’t know that! Oh my God, I love Prince!
What about a song that’s not at all cool, but you really like it anyway?
I like Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” – “I like big butts and I cannot lie/You other brothers can’t deny…” I really love that song. It’s so stupid and wrong but I love it. When you’ve got your girlfriends with you and you start screaming out that song loud, you know – life’s OK!
Whose idea was that school uniform in the “…Baby One More Time” video?
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. I wsa kinda scared at first, because I thought people would think it was too young and too teenybop and stuff.
Was it weird being a sex symbol so young?
I was, like, 17 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 like 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.
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.
Are police officers’ uniforms the best? I suppose firemen are covered in all that equipment…
[Laughs] Maybe a girl in a souped-up police officer’s outfit would be cute. But you’re right – firemen 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 give 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.
What’s been your high point of the last 20 years?
Really, my performances and being able to travel and go to MTV Europe and perform at those big events. That was so much fun. I mean, I love the recording process, but the whole travelling thing, I think it’s fun, you know.
How long before you’re out performing again?
Next year may be kind of a crazy year for me. It’s been two 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 kinda 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!
And the low point of your career? What’s been the hardest to get through, the bit you wish never happened?
No, I know this sounds cheesy, but 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 make 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 have to learn from that and be strong and not let people take advantage of you.
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 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. So 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 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 mum or your dad.
What’s been your best and worst haircut?
Oh gosh, there was this 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 cover. 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!