Q: You've been public property essentially since you've been about 10 months old.
A: Eleven months, please!
Q: Do you ever wonder what it might have been like to lead a sort of normal life?
A: Not really because in my mind I have led a normal life. But I've had all these little extra benefits. I haven't missed any amount of school for any work. I have always had friends that were my own age. I never lived in the middle of a film industry. My father lives on Long Island, and when I go there, there are six kids and I'm Brookie, their sister. I'm stuck with braiding my little sister's hair and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Q: Do a lot of people act differently toward you because of who you are?
A: I'm a good judge of people. If I like someone, I like them for what they are and I can feel how they are reacting toward me. If you find their questions are totally geared toward the business end of your life, who you have met or with whom you've worked, you feel it. It's a fine line, but I could be talking to two different people and with one person I'd feel like I'm talking on their level as a friend and with another person I'm all of a sudden brought farther apart from them.
Q: Don't you find that some of your contemporaries -- given the fact that you've been a star since you were 10 -- are somewhat reluctant to approach you?
A: I found that my first year at Princeton. People did not rush up to me and bombard me with questions or ask me for anything. Everybody avoided me; no one talked to me. They wanted to not pay any attention to me because they thought that I get paid attention to everywhere and these people wanted to be different and not make me appear special at all.
Q: Were you lonely?
A: Very much so. I was home every minute I could possibly get home. I called home on the average of five times a day. It wasn't that I didn't have dates. That's not really what stuck out. It was just that people in general -- girls and boys -- were not approaching me. I would be talking to people and they would realize that they were talking to me and thought maybe they were trying to monopolize my time too much. And they would leave. And I'd say, "Wait, no. Monopolize my time! Please!" I can remember talking with groups of people in a courtyard and having them all leave. I did a great deal of studying.
I went into Princeton thinking I was just going to completely fail. Then when I excelled it made me feel very satisfied for myself in general and then because of the possibility that someone would say, "Oh sure, she's not going to be that bright." I felt like saying, "Just look at my report card."
Q: A lot of people actually think you're stupid because you're pretty. I'm not saying that I do.
A: Gee thanks! No, no. That's a misconception. I feel very secure with how I am intellect-wise. But I can understand the misconception because a great number of models and actors and actresses do not get the education. They go straight into their work. Work starts at a young age and it's very easy to not go to school. I could have very feasibly not gone to college and had a pretty secure career. No problem. I can't say that I outwardly tried to prove everybody wrong but I feel glad to know that I can prove that generalization wrong.
Q: Have you gotten any Cs? What would you do if you got one?
A: I'd probably cry. Average doesn't sound good to me.
Q: Do you ever worry? Such a perfectionist at the age of 20 and so compulsive, do you ever worry that that's going to lead to a very troublesome, neurotic adult? Do you have an analyst? That's very popular in your circles.
A: No. I don't do things just because they're popular. I do them because I want to. I feel very stable. If you've proven to yourself that you can do something, anything less just doesn't seem right. That's what I have to come to terms with. I recognize it and I deal with it and I have so many other forms of relief that I don't keep anything pent up inside of me. I exercise a great deal, I have many animals and I love spending time with my friends and going to movies. Because I started work at such a young age I was able to always make a distinction between work and school. They very, very rarely blend. My friends always come with me to work so they mix in that sense but mywork is never brought into school.
Q: But isn't it a problem when you jet off to go be by Michael Jackson's side in California during the school year?
A: I never miss any school and people like Michael Jackson aren't movie stars to me. I've grown up with these people just like I grew up with (my friend) Lisa. She's my best friend and I don't look at them any differently. When Michael and I are together we don't talk about movie stars or work or anything, we talk about normal, regular things. I'm not starstruck. I don't put him in a different position than I do any of my other friends.
Q: A lot of well-known people tend to associate with other well-known people because they understand the pressure or the recognition factor.
A: There's a great deal you don't have to explain. Michael or anybody, they know what it feels like to be asked for your autograph or to be followed or to photographed. A lot of the time people that I just meet for the first time think it's fun or funny. They don't feel what you're feeling when you're being followed by a group or when you can feel a crowd start to become riled up. They think it's exciting.
Q: Do you ever go to the lengths of disguising yourself?
A: I tried once. I put sunglasses on and a hat and I had this scarf wrapped around me. All that was showing was my nose and my lips. Two people walked by me and one said, "Yes it's her. I can tell by her mouth." Then another walked by me and said, "You know, Brooke, you look awfully silly that way." I gave that up. You look rather dumb if you're disguising yourself and everybody's recognizing you.
Q: Do you think a lot of people are just jealous of you?
A: I would be jealous of me if I wasn't me. Not jealous in the sense of wanting to take it away from me but I like my life and to me it's portrayed in a nice way. If I were to look at someone who has been able to go to a good school and still managed to work and what I've read about her relationship with her family, I like my life the way I see it so I can understand people. Maybe it's not jealousy; maybe it's envy more than anything.
Q: You've also been very closely guarded, closely isolated. Aren't you worried that your relationship with your mother might be somewhat unnatural? That you might be too dependent. What are you going to do when your mother isn't around anymore?
A: I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow let alone what I'm going to do 20 years from now. I'll still be exercising probably. You once said, you were about 16 or 17 at the time, that "men have been looking at me all my life." Doesn't that make you feel a little bit uncomfortable.
Q: I'd be uncomfortable if I felt that I couldn't handle it but my girlfriends and I talk about it and it's being a female and being young.
A: But your girlfriends aren't the fantasies of about 20 million guys. But we all feel uncomfortable about it in that sense. I also feel protected and pretty strong about myself so I don't feel I would ever get into a situation that I would have to worry about. It's kind of a reality. We look at males a great deal. There are movie stars that we just all swoon over! Mel Gibson, Tom Selleck.
Q: You said when you were 13 or so, that you grew up early,
A: I matured in certain areas more, yeah.
Q: You played a role when your mother was drinking? What sort of things would you have to do?
A: The roles do reverse because alcohol deteriorates a person in many ways, Not only physically, but mentally, in their attitude. In the earlier years of the problem, I would have to make sure my mom got home and make sure my mom was okay, and make sure I had the keys to the house. I cleaned up after my mom messed up something or threw something, I was always cleaning. Or if I found a bottle or something, I would throw it away or hide it. You do that instinctively because you want to make the situation look like it's not a problem. Then it gets to be too much to deal with and you start to resent your parents because they are not being your parents any more. You don't want to have to take care of them, you want to be taken care of. So you have to do something about it. By assuming that role, in stating what you want to be changed in a relationship, you are already assuming a more adult role. And that's what I did. I made the plans, had the tickets, packed a bag and said, go away, I want you to be my mom again and you're not my mom right now.
Q: How does a 13-year-old find the wherewithal to do all that sort of stuff.
A: You realize that you can't live the way you are living and you're old enough to just hate what's happening in your life and you want something changed.
Q: What did you do?
A: I found an agency that counselled people. And I said, I need help and this is my aunt and she wants to know if she can do anything and they said, well, this is the situation. I called my mom and I said, now, this is what I want you to do. But in a sense, it had to be a next of kin that would talk her through the situation.
Q: Were you scared?
A: Sure, you get scared, not because of violence or anything, because my mom would never be outwardly abusive. You become scared of the change in personality and then you become scared because you feel like you're losing something.
Q: What sort of things would she say?
A: She'd say I was a brat or I was spoiled. Everything is wrong no matter what it is. If I would move the cup over here, (she'd say) "Why would you have to move that cup over there? You're stupid to do that." That's where it becomes scary because you're not scared of the fact that you moved the cup, but here's a person that you've respected and you look up to, being totally irrational.
Q: A lot of people see you as essentially, rightly or wrongly, as a creation of your mother. She planned your career, she propelled it. Do you think that's true?
A: She has shaped my career. I look up to her and trust her. And I like her. I trust her judgment. I resent being called a puppet because if you look at a puppet without the person who is operating it, it's nothing. It's lifeless and stupid. I feel strong enough to stand on my own two feet, but I will always accept her input. When people say, "Your mother pushes you into everything." What does that make me? A nonentity, who's unintelligent, who just does what I'm told to do.
Q: Doesn't that bother you that people perceive you that way?
A: I can't be responsible for what everybody thinks. It would bother me if people close to me thought that, but people are going to think what they want, in general, unless they get to know me.
Q: You did some things that maybe in retrospect, like Madonna or Vanessa Williams, you might regret. Some of them included posing for nude photographs when you were 10. Did you regret it?
A: No. If you are not ashamed of anything, then I don't think there is anything wrong with it. As far as Madonna's concerned, she feels not at all ashamed. And that's fine. That's her body and she can do with it what she wants. I wouldn't do that now, but I was 9. When you are 9 -- I used to, excuse the expression, go to the bathroom with the door open and talk to people. It's the kind of thing you don't care about. One of my little sisters is 10 and she goes and takes baths and showers and she's not at all ashamed. There's a difference. I don't think it really can be compared.
Q: Do you think that one of your appealing factors is that you are very seductive but you give an aura of innocence.
A: That's the way people perceive me. I don't think I do this at all intentionally. What I find attractive in females is a strength of character. I don't think anybody's attractive as a female (if) they're pretty but they're weak.
Q: A lot of women think the emphasis on physical attractiveness is very degrading.
A: I think its degrading if you have nothing to back it up with.