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‘Jackie Kennedy Was The First Woman In History To Touch The President’s Brain’: 5 Questions With Lana Del Rey

Since 2011, Lana Del Rey has captivated audiences worldwide with her trademark style of gloom-and-glamour pop. Having just released her fifth album, Lust For Life, to critical acclaim, the enigmatic pop star recently sat down with us to discuss her success as a musician and the philosophy behind her art.

1. Your new album finds you in a happier, more contented place in life. What sparked that change for you?

First, I started working an hour of self-care time into my daily schedule. Then I cut carbs out of my diet and started exercising more. And since 2011, I was serving as the CEO of RadioShack, but the company recently declared bankruptcy, so now I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

2. You portrayed Jackie Kennedy in a depiction of the JFK assassination in your video for “National Anthem.” What would you say to critics who felt that that was insensitive?

I think it’s sad, because they really misunderstood what I was going for. To me, Jackie Kennedy is a feminist icon because she became the first woman in history to touch the president’s brain. Did you know that when Abraham Lincoln was shot, they let all the men in the theater touch his brain, but not a single woman? Jackie O changed all of that, and she really opened a lot of doors.

3. Before you became a singer you wanted to become a poet. Do you still write poetry?

I do, and I actually have a 27-page poem being published in Paintball Magazine next month. It’s called “Ouch: The Sting Of The Ball,” and it’s all about the history of the sport of paintball, some of my favorite paintball guns, the types of balls I choose for different conditions, some scenarios I like to run, and why I choose not to wear goggles when I play. It was hard rhyming every line with “paintball” for 27 pages, but the end result was worth it.

4. Your musical aesthetic is heavily influenced by the 1950s. What about that era is attractive to you?

In the ’50s, escalators didn’t have any safety features at all, so if you fell and your hair got caught in them, the skin was getting ripped off your entire body. People didn’t complain. It was a fact of life at that time: Either take the stairs or risk losing your skin. Yet people still chose to ride escalators anyway. There’s something really tragically beautiful about that to me. People stepping onto an escalator and risking it all, day after day, to avoid climbing the stairs. People would never risk getting their skin torn off to avoid stairs today. It was such a different world back then.

5. Lust For Life features a guest appearance from your hero, Stevie Nicks. What was it like working with such a legend?

It was fine.