Welcome to another installment of Notorious Celebrity Interviews and Notorious Celebrity Photoshoots.
With all the attention that Britney Spears's conservatorship hearing has been getting, I thought we should revisit her most infamous interview and photoshoot: Rolling Stone, April 1999. You really can't talk about Britney's career without mentioning this notorious cover story.
Britney Spears: Teen Queen
By Stephen Daly
- This is the very first line of the story:
Britney Spears extends a honeyed thigh across the length of the sofa, keeping one foot on the floor as she does so... The BABY PHAT logo of Spears’ pink T-shirt is distended by her ample chest and her silky white shorts cling snugly to her hips.
- Britney sounds like a sweetheart:
Britney Spears is well-regarded in [her hometown of] Kentwood, a close-knit community of 2,600... “Pretty much everybody here likes her,” says Kentwood High student Lucas Thornton, 17...“Remember that opening scene in Clueless with all the cliques? That’s what it was like,” says Spears, who made friends with cheerleaders and burnouts alike.
- She was surprisingly active in many of the concepts for her career, including the video for "Baby One More Time":
Jive had hired on video director Joseph Khan, whose concept reached the storyboard stage be-fore Spears spoke up. “They had this really bizarre video idea, this animated Power Ranger-y thing,” she explains. “I said, ‘This is not right. If you want me to reach four-year-olds, then OK, but if you want me to reach my age group …’ So I had this idea where we’re in school and bored out of our minds, and we have Catholic uniforms on. And I said, ‘Why don’t we have knee-highs and tie the shirts up to give it a little attitude?’ — so it wouldn’t be boring and cheesy.” The seventeen-year-old won the day, and the rest is chart history.
- Spears, likely instructed by her publicists, plays coy about the sexy "Baby One More Time" video outfit.
“All I did was tie up my shirt!... I’m wearing a sports bra under it. Sure, I’m wearing thigh-highs, but kids wear those — it’s the style. Have you seen MTV — all those in thongs?”
- She already had several stalkers, though the paparazzi weren't as bad:
A more serious threat comes from fans who have figured out where Spears lives. Alone in the house one night, she hid from a prowler lurking at the window; her mother surprised another as he was hailing to her through a locked bedroom window.
- There is also some eerie foreshadowing of how her family would come to exploit her for money in the future.
Her mom, Lynne, a second-grade teacher, sits on the carpet in the wood-paneled living room, fluffing and folding the laundry. If it weren’t for the diamond-laden tennis bracelet that Britney just bought her, you’d think her daughter was a vacationing college kid and not a pop sensation with an eleventh-grade education.
Jeff Fenster, Jive Records’ senior vice president of A&R, who signed Spears, insists that “Her parents were not pushing her at all.”
- In fact, all the writer's commentary about her now rings eerie:
But for all the fan-mag prose that greeted Spears’ explosive marketplace entry, we know precious little about her beyond an image that hints at several stereotypes. Is Spears bubblegum jailbait, jaded crossover diva or malleable Stepford teen? Who knows? Whether by design or not, the queen of America’s new Teen Age is a distinctly modern anomaly: the anonymous superstar.
- But eeriest of all is when the writer speculates about the future for Spears and how her options may become limited, forcing her to stick with pop music:
There would seem to be a finite number of available story lines for Spears. She could find gainful employment in stage musicals, as did Debbie Gibson, or even denounce pop altogether and reincarnate herself like a vengeful Alanis Morissette. Then there’s Tiffany, the teen-pop sensation whose name is now synonymous with anonymous.
- In a ~scandal~, she admitted to drinking wine with her mom while under the age of 21:
“I know how to drink,” says Britney. “Me and my mom will have a glass of wine together, and that’s fine. Kids are gonna drink, and the more you say, ‘Don’t do it,’ the more they’re gonna want to do it.” She has, she confesses, never been inebriated. “I stop before that happens. I just sit there and go all quiet, because I hate to lose control.”
- The catalyst for Britney fighting her conservatorship is allegedly that she wants to get married to her boyfriend, Sam Asgari. Instead, her father wants to force her to keep working against her will. There is one more sentence of this interview that might be the most heartbreakingly ironic of all:
Right now, she says, she prefers to concentrate on her work rather than romance. “I have,” she says, “no feelings at all.”
It's a good time for reflection on this, since Britney is now nearly 40 and fighting for her freedom and the newest pop it-girl, 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo, is posing in sexy schoolgirl skirts and thigh-highs reminiscent of Britney's first era.
Which Britney song/s most accurately describe her situation?
Notorious photoshoots with The Beckhams, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Notorious interviews with Tom Hiddleston, 5 Seconds of Summer, Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, M.I.A., Chris Evans, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet, Beyoncé, Channing Tatum, Cara Delevingne, Johnny Depp, Miles Teller, and Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
Mods, the original article is very long, so this is just an excerpt