Model Diaries with Paula Abdul
What has been keeping you busy these days?
I’m grateful that I had time to take a few breaks, and I’ve gotten to spend some much-needed time with my family and friends. Of course, my schedule quickly changed so I’ve been taking several creative meetings. I’m looking forward to more television appearances and exciting opportunities to perform!
Are you working on any exciting projects you can share?
Absolutely! Directing and producing television is something I’ve always been determined to do! It was so exhilarating to create my show at the Flamingo during my Las Vegas residency. I really got to get creative and play with a lot of fun, new ideas and the audience really loved it! Given the great response I had during my residency, I’m fired up about some exciting new projects where I have an opportunity to direct and produce!
What is your most memorable moment in your career so far?
I’m grateful and blessed to have had so many wonderful moments during my career. One of the most recent is having a Las Vegas Residency at the Flamingo Hotel since it has always been one of my biggest dreams…and it finally came true! Every performance during my residency was a true career highlight for me. During my show there was an electric, glitzy, Vegas-style number we performed that I really looked forward to every night. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it. Not to mention that I’m still basking in the glow of having performed in LAS VEGAS, the Entertainment Capital of the World! I am still in awe of the fact that people who come to my show have traveled from so many places to see me, and I couldn’t wait to see them!
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Permission to Dance by BTS
What are the top 3 songs on your playlist at the moment?
“Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa
“One by One” by Diplo
“On” by BTS
What was your favorite part about being the head choreographer for the Lakers?
My favorite part was being able to transform how cheerleaders are perceived–to get rid of the pom-poms and to make us more of a dance team!
In what ways do you believe that role shaped your career?
So many opportunities came from my role as a Laker Girl. One of the most memorable was when the Jacksons snuck in to see me do a rendition of the Michael Jackson “Beat It” video! They approached me, said that they loved what I’d done, and asked me to choreograph their “Victory Tour!”
I got started with the Laker Girls as a dancer and stayed as a choreographer all the way through my first No. 1 single. It was such an honor and a pivotal moment to come back the year after that and sell out three nights at The Forum.
How did you begin your singing career?
My singing career began in my parents’ living room, between the TV set and the coffee table! Some of my fondest memories are performing for my family. It was so natural to me put on shows for them…I thought everyone did that! Dancing, singing…I loved entertaining my family and how happy they looked. The fact that they were enjoying it made me love it even more. I also performed for Michael Bolton. He was my babysitter at the time! I just loved dancing & singing so much; I always wanted to share it.
What was your first thought when you were discovered by the Jackson’s?
First thought: “YOU guys snuck in to see ME dance? Shouldn’t it be the other way around???”
You can imagine how shocked I was when the Jacksons snuck in to see me do a rendition of the Michael Jackson “Beat It” video! They approached me, said that they loved what I’d done, and asked me to choreograph their “Victory Tour!”
What was your most memorable performance or concert moment?
My 2019 Billboard Music Awards performance is such a special memory because at that point, I hadn’t performed on an awards show since I opened for the American Music Awards 29 years before!!! I’m still excited and thrilled about that entire evening. My performance was truly a labor of love, enthusiasm and energized rehearsals!
What was your favorite part of working on American Idol?
My favorite part of working on American Idol was knowing in my gut that this show was going to change lives. I had the opportunity to witness it up close. I’d be able to stand at the gateway to the American Dream and watch daring, passionate, blossoming singers make the ultimate entrance. Finally, the American Dream had the spotlight and it had our undivided attention—EVERYONE was watching. I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.
It was also incredible to watch people open themselves up to genres they normally wouldn’t even consider. Not to mention the fact that on American Idol, an artist didn’t need to have a song playing on the radio to be heard! It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to have been a part of television history. I feel blessed to have
played a role in giving some truly awesome singers a start–artists who otherwise may not have had an opportunity to be seen. That in itself is humbling. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
My first job was as a dancing tampon!!!!
How do you find ways to balance your personal life and career?
I find balance by making time to slow down and to PAUSE. I set it as a “can’t reschedule” appointment in my calendar. That way, it’s still me in charge of my schedule and not the other way around. Even if it’s just for just five minutes – no matter how rushed and uncomfortable it might feel – I give myself a moment! I’ll meditate, call a friend or a family member to say “Hi!” or take my dogs for a walk. Life is about savoring the present and sharing experiences, not about getting from one appointment to the next in record time! I don’t even want to think about what my life would be like if I didn’t stop at some point during my day to connect with myself, or with my friends and family! It’s grounding. It keeps me calm, fills my heart and energizes me in a peaceful way.
What are three items you cannot live without?
Sunscreen–I never leave the house without sunscreen. MAC LipGlass in “Prrr,” and any Serge Lutens blush.
Staple piece in your wardrobe?
My black YSL bag. It’s such a classic and I feel so feminine carrying it.
If you could raid anyone’s closet, who would it be?
What is your favorite Fall trend?
I like the bright, micro-minis and dresses!
Who is your biggest role model?
My sister, Wendy. She’s a breast cancer survivor and an example of living and persevering in the face of adversity. Life doesn’t stop when people get sick, and my beautiful, precious sister took it all in stride. She is radiant. She’s the inspiration for my Avon “Check Yourself” video.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is to always be grateful. I’ve learned from my career that if you walk in gratitude miracles can happen. I am so grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I’ve had, and am still having, in my life. That includes reinvention. I’ve always kept an open mind when it comes to who I am as an artist.
I am grateful for all the areas of my creativity, and I give myself permission to express and challenge myself creatively. That’s what has allowed me to continue to reinvent myself. Although dance is my first love, I’ve never seen myself as solely being a dancer. I think that’s the gift of every artist and creative person.
What does the perfect day off look like to you?
A perfect day off would include me sleeping in! I’d definitely meditate, stretch, and have a fried egg sandwich and a green tea latte. Of course at some point, I’d definitely dance and play with my dogs. I’d probably spend the rest of the day at a barbecue with friends and family (I’d bring the salmon!)
Romantic Comedy or Thriller?
Thriller! The more plot twists the better!
Singing or Dancing?
Can’t I have both?
I’ll choose dancing, since it’s my first passion.
What would you like to say to your fans?
Get a HUGE vision and stay in touch with it! Don’t just dream big, dream ENORMOUS! I always want people to ACTIVELY pursue their dreams, no matter what their age, height, weight, gender, nationality or sexual orientation!
What do you love most about Modeliste magazine?
I love your fashion features! It’s always exciting to see all the new trends of the season, and I usually go straight to “Labels We Love” to get a more in-depth look.