Punk and Pink

The outspoken pop star sits down and smoothes back her blond sculpted hair, playing incessantly with a cigarette pack. Her clothes are LA skate-hobo, her body strong and sinewy.

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Published: Wed 7 Jun 2006, 11:39 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:42 PM

When she speaks, a chocolate-rasp, it's extraordinary, with a manner that is all at once playful, reflective and sardonic. ­

At 26, Pink has built a singing career that has generated 20 million album sales, with the oft-described 'bad-girl Britney' widely credited with making teen-pop go punk. However, Pink has always stood for more than just music, dragging behind her a past of druggy delinquency and sexual androgyny and, more recently, hitting the headlines with 'Stupid Girls', a scathing attack on fluffy airhead culture. ­

Ask what the biggest misconception is about her, and she will say 'That I'm this very serious, bitter, angry, scary, feminist girl. I don't think so. I just want to go home and play in my garden.'­

Pink was born Alecia Beth Moore in Doylestown, Philadelphia, in 1979 to what she describes as 'the normal average fucked-up dysfunctional family'. Her parents, Jim and Judy, divorced when she was nine. By the time she was 13, Pink had become something of a poster girl for teen rebellion — smoking, drinking, getting tattoos and piercings, and experimenting with all kinds of drugs, including heroin. Around this time her mother decided she couldn't cope any more and sent Pink to live with her father, a politically active Vietnam veteran.­­

But that wasn't enough to keep her away from self-destructive behaviour. Pink's new single, the plaintive 'Who Knew' deals with the friends she lost to drug overdoses. She's always said it was music that helped her break free - wasn't it enough that people around her died? 'No, because I was so young. You don't think about mortality, you have nothing to lose at that point.'­­

Wasn't she once voted Most Influential Role Model for Teenage Girls? 'Really? I had no idea,' Pink shakes her head in amused disbelief. 'I've always been honest about who I am and what I believe in. For those reasons, all those positive reasons, absolutely. But I wouldn't suggest that people take the roads I have. I'm not this perfect person who wants to set an example to the world. Hell, no,' she cackles wryly. 'Not even close.'­

These days there's stability of sorts with new husband Carey Hart (a US motocross star). They married in Costa Rica in January and have an unconventional union. 'Carey,' says Pink. 'I believe him, I believe in him. We've been together a long time, five years, but we're both always on tour. One day I'm sure we'll feel married but right now...' She lets the thought go with a shrug.­

She waves away the furore about refusing to kiss Madonna, insisting she was joking ('people never seem to know when I'm being sarcastic'). Because of all this many have presumed that Pink is (at least) bisexual, which doesn't bother her in the least. 'Of course not. Most of my friends are lesbians. When I first appeared people couldn't figure out whether I was gay, straight, black, white or whatever, and I loved that. I loved the fact it scares people.'­­­

Recently the papers have been full of stories about Pink, a spokesperson for Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), writing to the British royal family. The first time was when Prince William wanted her to perform at his 21st birthday party. She wrote to him saying she couldn't until he'd explained why he went hunting. This time, in advance of her appearance at the Prince's Trust concert, she wrote to the Queen asking why the bearskins of the Buckingham Palace guards couldn't be synthetic. ­

Ask what inspired this one-sided pen-pal relationship with the royals and Pink shrugs. 'I have a platform and people are listening, so why not throw in a few educational tools.'­

Openly political, yet appealing to the mainstream, Pink is a one-off in American pop. On I'm Not Dead she delivers another missive, an 'open letter', this time to George Bush, an acoustic number called 'Dear Mr President', denouncing US involvement in Iraq. Does she feel it's her duty to be political? 'For me personally, yes, but not as a musician,' she says. 'When I write songs like 'Dear Mr President', nothing matters except I'm doing what I want to do.'­­

She doesn't seem afraid to use her sexuality. 'I'm a very sexual being,' she says. 'I don't think there's anything wrong with being, acting, dressing or talking sexy if you're doing it for your own pleasure. And not just giving it away.' Would she like to be super-skinny? 'Absolutely, why not? But I'm not willing to hurt myself to do it. I'd rather be strong than skinny, nourished than starving.'­­

Moments later the punk-pop rebel is telling me that the constant scent of controversy that hangs around her might once have come from mischief but now comes from passion. 'I was always insecure but I was also very opinionated. You know, balls to the wall, full speed ahead! My thing was to prove people wrong, and that brought me to some great opportunities. But everything I say and do is seriously what I believe. Set me on fire, string me up, but I'm not going to shut up and I'm not going to sit down either.'

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