March 10, 2009
She was your elected idol, but she wanted to be a rock hero. How will Kelly Clarkson put the whole My December Thing behind her? By upgrading right to superstar.
Kelly Clarkson pees in the shower. (“Anybody who says they don’t is lying,” she adds, in her scrubby Texas twang.) At her house outside Fort Worth, she enjoys walking around naked. (“I’m the kinda person who just doesn’t like clothes.”) When she blows her nose, she checks the tissue to see what color snot her sinuses disburden. (“I mean, if you have a cold, you have to check, to see how sick you are.”)
These are among the unexpected revelations gleaned from two hours watching Clarkson charm Australian radio and magazine reporters in a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel—before she sits down with Blender for several more hours. (“This is nothing,” she scoffs. “I’ve done 19 in one day.”) That whole time, she punts on just two questions (which we’ll get back to), in part because accessibility, she knows, is the essence of her appeal. “The thing with me, and my audience in particular is, people look at me like a sister or a daughter,” she says. “It’s not like people look at me as unattainable, some kind of star like that. People love the ‘real’ factor that’s involved, I think.”
The “‘real’ factor” is enhanced by her claim to be an open book—“I’ll talk about anything!”—and, even more, her declaration that “I do not lie. Ever. I will tell my girlfriend if she looks fat in her jeans.” After a hoot at her own joke, Clarkson turns serious; her brown eyes, a tad too big for her small face, entice you like a Walt Disney woodland creature, and at the same time they freeze you like headlights: “When you don’t make yourself clear or heard, that’s where trouble starts. And that’s something I learned as a child. No one is going to know what you feel unless you tell them.”
On these last sentences, strikingly, her accent disappears.