That's right, I talked to a celebrity's mom! I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes on the phone with Pattie Mallette, Justin Bieber's mom. I'll admit it was a little weird for me, more because it was me asking her questions. I haven't done an interview since I worked on the college newspaper!
It was really fun to hear her perspective on her son, too. The only time we really hear from celebrity parents is in a negative sense - court battles, drinking problems, etc. So it's so nice to hear about a mom who has worked hard in her own life (check out her new book about her struggles to overcome child abuse, a suicide attempt, and how she came to know God). Pattie's foundation, Round 2, is in its start-up stages but is planning big things for this coming year. Round 2 is based upon the premise that if you get knocked down in the first round of life, there's always Round 2. It's focus is on helping others overcome abuse, suicide attempts, poverty, teenage pregnancy, etc. Sounds like a really great way that Pattie is paying it forward.
The first thing I asked Pattie about was what faith she brought Justin up in. She said that she brought him up in the Christian faith, taking him to church every weekend. She homeschooled him for about three years, teaching him Bible verses and trying to instill that faith in her. Pattie said her faith came about when she was 17 years old, recovering in the hospital from an attempted suicide. She said that was when she had a tremendous experience with God. I can't wait to read her book to learn more about that!
We talked about Justin's work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He was selected as Ambassador of the Year for helping to make so many wishes come true. Pattie said that's what makes her most proud of her son - seeing him use his influence in a positive way and making good character choices. That's something I think most of us mothers really want from our children! She said he just got back a few weeks ago from Guatemala. She was telling me just about how much he loves children; he even gave someone the shoes off of his feet while visiting there. He also visited the Philippines within the last week it sounded like. Now, that place has my heart! He got to put on a little show but really wished he'd had more time to spend with the children. I hope he gets the opportunity to go back (me too) to do just that.
I asked her about how it is to watch him make choices, whether she cringes sometimes at the things he chooses. She said that with adult children (Justin is 19 which you probably all know but I had to ask her. I am way out of the loop here.), you really have to let them make their own choices, hoping you're still a voice in their ear. I think that will be one of the hardest mothering choices I make is letting my children grow on their own.
She told me that singing is probably his biggest talent but the dancing is something he has to work a little harder at, although in his new film, Believe, he makes it look pretty effortless. I had the opportunity to watch Believe as a screener which was really neat, even not knowing a lot about Justin. It showed him playing the drums, which Pattie told me he's been playing since he was 2. She said he really has a talent for instruments and picks up on them pretty easily. That's awesome! I played flute for several years growing up, so I know it's difficult to just pick up on instruments!
Believe shows so many images of girls just freaking out, screaming over Justin Bieber books, tickets, standing in line to see him. How much his fans love him is outrageous. Pattie said she finds this both funny and endearing. Funny in the sense that she doesn't get it (me either) because she never was like this over artists growing up. I loved NSync as much as the next girl but never screamed over them. I also never got tickets to them...ha! Pattie talked about how seriously Justin takes his influence over these young girls (and guys, I'm sure) and how he really appreciates them. That's something that really comes out in Believe. There's a part where they give away tickets or upgrade tickets to one of his shows - it's hilarious to see these girls' reactions. It's awesome and so generous of him and his team.
I asked how Justin takes the pressure of tabloid rumors. When I first told my husband about this interview, he was skeptic because all we've ever heard about this boy is about his partying and such. But Pattie said Justin really tries to not pay attention to the rumors about him. He knows he's a role model but has to learn and grow on his own. Such wise words from a mom, I think. So I don't really know what Justin's like and I know Believe is an edited piece of work, but it really seems like he cares about his fans and does make good choices, like with his charity work (not just Make-a-Wish but Pencils of Promise and others, too). I think charity work will help temper him to where he will make wiser choices and stay grounded during his rise of fame.
One of my last questions for Pattie was whether he has the longevity to become like the Beatles, something alluded to in the movie. She said he has the drive and determination to be a career artist. He's very competitive with himself and pins himself the underdog quite often, so that he has the chance to rise and overcome. She said she personally believes he'll be around for a long time since he loves to write, he loves his work, he loves his fans.
And his fans apparently love him. I had such a wonderful time talking to Pattie and really watching Believe. I didn't think I'd like the movie about an artists I don't really listen to (I don't listen to a lot of music in general but especially popular music because of some of the dirtier lyrics put out there on the radio) but it was really neat to see behind the scenes, the lyric writing and brainstorming, picking the back-up dancers and directors, the fun and the work, the practices, the silly videos, the heart warming videos of his fan Avalonna (whose name I'm probably not spelling correctly, my apologies) who was a little girl from the Make-a-Wish Foundation who was so in love with him, she held a pretend wedding while in the hospital and insisted on being called Mrs. Bieber. I think that his humanity really showed this film all over but especially in his relationship with this little girl.
Thank you, Pattie, for talking with me on the phone. It was a real treat and I'm just thankful that you have instilled Christianity in your son who is such an influence on this world. I pray he makes good choices, thinking about how his choices affect others.
You can follow Pattie on Twitter. Believe, the film, comes out Christmas Day!
Disclaimer: I received a screening of the film, Believe, in order to have talking points with Pattie. Others may have differing opinions, but these written are my own.