From masks to model: Paris Jackson's transformation over the years

From masks to model: Paris Jackson's transformation over the years

Make no mistake about it, Paris Jackson is a force to be reckoned with. In just the first few months of 2017, Michael Jackson's daughter has graced the covers of Rolling Stone and Harper's Bazaar, scored an acting gig with Lee Daniels, presented an award at the Grammys and launched a career as a model.

After a couple of real speed bumps in her personal life, she's now well on her way to establishing her own identity in Hollywood. It's hard to believe the ubiquitous Paris is still just a teenager. With her 19th birthday coming up on April 3, 2017, keep reading to see how Paris has transformed over the years...

Paris Jackson -- seen here with dad Michael Jackson about three weeks before his death in 2009 -- has always been fiercely loyal to her father, often speaking about him glowingly and posting about him on social media. "Growing up, I was treated as the favorite because I was the only girl," she told Harper's Bazaar's April 2017 issue. "I was the princess; I was perfect in my dad's eyes." Sadly, Paris reportedly witnessed her father's death.

She looks like a natural in front of the camera now, but Paris spent 11 years covering her face in public, as did her two brothers, Prince, 20, and 15-year-old Bigi (the name Prince Michael "Blanket" Jackson II reportedly goes by now). After Michael Jackson's death, his children no longer tried to conceal their identities. But there was a reason that Michael covered up his children's faces with masks early on. In 2011, Paris told Ellen DeGeneres,

"I'm like, 'This is stupid, why am I wearing a mask?' But I kind of realized the older I got, he only tried to protect us and he'd explain that to us too." His theory was that his kids could have a normal childhood if no one knew who they were... I do have a regular childhood. I mean, I'm treated the same. When I came to [my new school] they didn't know who I was. I was like, 'Yes, I have a chance to be normal.'"

The world got its first close look at Paris Jackson at her father's public memorial at the Staples Center on July 7, 2009, 12 days after his death. Toward the end of the memorial, the Jackson family gathered on stage and Paris, at the tender age of 11, spontaneously decided to say a few words. "Ever since I was born," she said, "Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine, and I just wanted to say I love him so much." A sobbing Paris was then cradled by her aunt, Janet Jackson. The moment was moving in every way.

Growing up, Paris Jackson has said that she basically only socialized with her brothers, Prince and Blanket, her dad and other grownups. "[The] only interactions I'd ever had were with family members or other adults," she told Harper's Bazaar, adding she "didn't have social skills. I had to force myself to learn so fast." Older brother Prince, whom she calls her best friend, said Paris is very similar to Michael Jackson. "Basically, as a person, she is who my dad is," he said. "The only thing that's different would be her age and her gender." Paris is similar to Michael, he said, "in all of her strengths, and almost all of her weaknesses as well. She's very passionate. She is very emotional to the point where she can let emotion cloud her judgment."

After Michael Jackson died, his children became fixtures at events that honored their father, where they often joined their grandmother, aunts and uncles. Since no one foresaw the King of Pop's untimely death, there were questions surrounding who would take care of Prince, Paris and Blanket. Would it be a member of the Jackson family or maybe even Debbie Rowe, Prince and Paris's biological mom? Eventually, in 2012 -- after living under the guardianship of Michael's mother, Katherine Jackson -- Michael's nephew TJ Jackson (the youngest son of Tito Jackson) was appointed as the kids' co-guardian.

Despite her wealthy Hollywood upbringing, Paris Jackson was hurting deep inside when she entered her teens. In 2013, tabloid headlines screamed that Paris had attempted suicide by taking 20 Motrin pills and slitting her wrists. "[I attempted suicide] multiple times," Paris admitted to Rolling Stone in 2017. "It was just once that it became public." She said her suicidal thoughts started after her dad died. After her last suicide attempt, she was sent to a therapeutic school in Utah. "It was great for me," she said. "I'm a completely different person. I was crazy. I was actually crazy. I was going through a lot of, like, teen angst. And I was also dealing with my depression and my anxiety without any help." She's also claimed she was sexually assaulted by a "complete stranger" when she was 14 years old.

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