“Beautiful,” Bullied and “Burlesque” – our interview with Christina Aguilera

AE: In the movie, you
think your love interest is gay. How good is your personal gaydar?
I think it’s
improved. I remember I did have an ex-boyfriend that left me for a gay man at
one point in my life. (Laughs.)

Aguilera and co-star Cam Gigandet in a scene from Burlesque

AE: If you could go
back to the person starting your career — either as a musician or in the Mickey
Mouse Club — and give her one piece of advice, what would it be?
It’s hard to
speak about it because it’s a growing process and it’s really about feeling
comfortable in your own skin, and that takes time. I would probably just tell
her things are going to get better if you keep on the path that you are. Stay
focused, keep working hard because honestly, without my hard work, you have
nothing. Hard work in this business is everything. I wouldn’t advise her to do
anything differently — even mistakes that I might have made or any failures I
might have had over the years aren’t because they’re all lessons. I’m very
proud of my body of work. I would tell her don’t change a thing, keep your head
held high and keep working hard.

The young Aguilera (center right) with her New Mickey Mouse Club castmates

AE: As the film’s
music producer, what happened that there was no duet between you and Cher?
It was talked
about but we had so many musical numbers. Alan Cumming also had a musical
number — that wasn’t seen in the movie, maybe it’ll be a bonus feature (on the
DVD). We already had so much music. Cher’s ballad came late in the game, too,
so it was hard for everyone to agree on a song (to get into the movie).

AE: What do you have
planned for after "Burlesque"?
I would like
to record another album. Leaving the movie, I really felt I was a changed woman
— I am a changed woman. I’m in a very introspective place right now and I
really am into putting my heart out on paper. The last record I made was a
little more playful in nature: I’d just had my son and I wanted to experiment
with electronica sounds and now I want to get back to my roots.

AE: How comfortable
did you find yourself when you were writing the songs for this character and
not for Christina?
It was a
little out of body just because I wanted to write from (Ali’s) point of view
and make sure it was about her and not myself. We do share some of the same
issues and it was a little easy for me to find comfort with it because, say the
ballad "Bound to You," it’s all about feeling vulnerable and a little
scared and fearful to love for the first time. Ali didn’t grow up with a
father, I didn’t grow up with a father. There’s issues there. There’s
vulnerability but there’s also a fearlessness quality to it where she’s going
to charge forward and go for it. I admire that about Ali but I definitely could
relate a little. That’s where that came from, finding those points that make
her tick in order to make it believable in the movie. Then, in
"Express," it’s a very sensually charged number about feeling
empowered as a woman and your confidence in sensuality. That’s an easy place
for me to go, too, in my own work. Feeling comfortable in your body and in your
own skin and exuding that in an exhibitionist way on stage is a very inspiring
thing for women. The "Burlesque" finale, I wanted everyone to leave
the theater wanting to dance out of the aisles. I wanted to leave it on a high
note and get everyone be inspired to burlesque as well.

opens nationwide Nov. 24.

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