Paris Jackson’s name might mean something different to everyone, but one similarity across the board is that the daughter of pop prince Michael Jackson has become much more recognizable in recent months. Paris has taken to the spotlight over the past year—and the spotlight has taken to her—as she’s made appearances at events like the recent MTV Movie and TV Awards and the Met Gala. Now, in her Teen Vogue cover story, Paris is revealing what inspired her to become more vocal and visible, and more of an activist. Spoiler: Those things are all related.
It was recognizing her reach that prompted Paris to reenter the public eye. “I honestly used to have no motivation whatsoever to be in the public eye; it scared me,” she tells Teen Vogue in the music issue. “I’ve seen what it can do to people, [and] plenty get hurt. 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.”
She added that “there are so many people who work their entire lives to create a platform and mine was just handed to me…. Why not use it for something important? 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. So everything that I’m doing—the acting, the modeling—it’s all just to grow my platform so I can use my voice for things that matter.”
Currently, that includes Venezuela, which, at the moment, is suffering from a near-civil war with political unrest, food shortages, and violence, The New York Times reports. “What’s happening in Venezuela has been heavy on my mind recently, mostly because of the how the citizens are really, really struggling right now,” Paris says. “Do you know how much most of them get paid, like, hourly? It’s outrageous, not to mention [many of them] can barely afford food, and when they can, there’s hardly any food for them to buy.”
Her advice to those who want to help? “We have to stay educated, stay informed, and use our voices. Change can’t happen with ignorance. If we stay quiet, it’s easier for the Man to ignore us. We have to push the government to listen. I think right now social media is a good place to start, to create a movement.”
Read Paris’ full cover story in Teen Vogue’s music issue, which hits newsstands May 23.