There are a lot of things about Janet Jackson and her distinctly styled music videos that even her most dedicated fans don’t know. Did you know that her dramatic false eyelashes in the “What’s It Gonna Be?!” video were made from rooster feathers? Or that her sculptural red hair from “Together Again” was shaped by hand with wire? Or how about this: Janet herself doesn’t know what those letters and numbers on the T-shirt from “The Pleasure Principle” video mean.
These facts all came straight from Janet’s mouth as she broke down some of her most iconic music video looks just for Allure — and that’s nowhere near the end of it. She also shared stories from the sets of “Scream,” “Rhythm Nation,” “If,” and “I Get Lonely,” all of which inspired widespread beauty trends for years to come — and still are.
You can stop right here to watch Janet talk through each video herself (with a brand-new haircut, we might add) or you can keep scrolling to learn more of our favorite incredible facts from behind the scenes of her most iconic works.
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Of all of these videos, “Scream,” a Michael Jackson video featuring Janet, is without a doubt the most fascinating. For one, the video cost $7 million, all of which come directly from Michael’s pocket — it’s still to this day the most expensive music video of all time. A no-holds-barred budget calls for impeccable makeup artistry, which is where the legendary, late makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin comes in. He achieved Janet’s video makeup by taking inspiration from Japanese culture, specifically, anime.
The “Rhythm Nation” video, wardrobe, and beauty looks, on the other hand, drew inspiration from Blade Runner and the 1966 movie Fahrenheit 451. “We actually shot the elevator scene in the same place [where Blade Runner was shot,]” Janet reveals in the video. “It was a lot of long hours; there were times when we were shooting 21 hours just in one night.”
The detail put into each and every one of Janet’s videos never goes unnoticed by her fans, and we’re very much included in that. Breaking barriers has always been her…