Earlier this week I was preoccupied by how Beyoncé has redefined what an “interview” with her really means. An “exclusive” interview with Beyoncé (for ELLE) means that the writer, a family friend, is given the opportunity to observe Beyoncé at a photo shoot. And then present her with a series of (likely pre-approved) questions (that might even have been written by her) that she will answer without follow-up. This, apparently, is what constitutes a “conversation” with Beyoncé. And I’m not mad about it. Because this is all part of what it means to study Beyoncé, how Beyoncé has made herself worth studying, analysing. Beyoncé is not going to make it easy. She’s not going to give you the answers. She’s decided that she is living history, meant to be researched and analysed and learned.
You know who’s not a mystery though? You know who will give you the answers?
Jennifer Lawrence. She’s on the cover of the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar to promote X-Men: Apocalypse and, as usual, she knows how to give and what to give: just enough so that it’s an entertaining, dishy read and not tinged with reluctance (Jesse Eisenberg) and not so much that you’re like, OK, are you a reality show star now? (Kaley Cuoco), and with exactly the right tone so that it feels spontaneous, without calculation (Taylor Swift).
So she’ll tell you about that time she and Emma Stone went to Adele and she got drunk and Emma’s the kind of friend who will rub your back when the tequila’s coming up. She’ll reveal that Woody Harrelson slept over that night and cut his foot on some broken glass. She’ll make the word “frisson” even dirtier than it already is and hint about a flirtation but will also confirm that she hasn’t had sex in a while. But she’ll also note that her parents don’t want her to be politically opinionated because they don’t want people being mean to her on Facebook and admit that she can see why people are intimidated by her even though she insists they shouldn’t be. And after all of that, none of what you read feels compromising – to either the reader or the subject. In fact, both walk away from the experience with a sense of equal exchange. Which, really, is what amounts to a perfect interview.
Click here to read it.