Q&A with C.J.: Jordin Sparks on the fly is still a charmer

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 17, 2012 - 11:34 PM

Jordin Sparks' entourage was rather eye-catching as she rolled through the Twin Cities to promote the remake of the movie "Sparkle."

WCCO-TV anchor Angela Davis tweeted: "I want my future 12-person entourage to be like Jordin Sparks'. Include a person just to hold my dog ..." WCCO-TV Web producer Sara Boyd Pelissero wrote on Twitter, "Jordin Sparks has a huge entourage. Including a woman holding a dog. #awesome."

For sure, my video of Sparks at Fox 9 captured a cast of eight, including that memorable dog handler. Either everybody didn't come or I missed some members of the entourage when Sparks swept into the green room, where she understandably had a desire to be alone before her appearance.

Sparks spoke to me after I shared a few questions with her PR woman Victoria Varela. Varela was complimentary about my questions, noting that they were unlike the ones that Sparks has to field over and over again. In the end, she allowed me to do a walk-and-talk video with Sparks. (She couldn't sit down and give you three minutes? one of my Fox 9 friends remarked later.) I pretended I was TMZ and walked backward down the hallway, guided by Varela to make sure I didn't run into anything.

"Sparkle" was tragically Whitney Houston's last performance, so I asked Sparks whether Houston was cognizant of her own fine acting skills, which could have supported a second career after Whitney destroyed her vocal gift. I had time for that and a couple of questions about her personal life, and that's all. Sparks was running late when she arrived at Fox 9, and since I'm nowhere near as important as TV people to someone whose career was born on television, I wasn't expecting much consideration. I did, however, think that Varela would get me brief answers to some follow-up questions I submitted via e-mail. "We are boarding a flight to LA now. Not a minute to spare right now. xo," wrote Varela in her final communication Wednesday. I wonder if the gatekeeper even told Sparks the softballs I wanted answered.

As you will see on the video, Sparks in person was incredibly engaging. At the end of our brief aerobic interview she complimented what I was wearing and further sought my participation in a particular social convention by politely asking, "Can I shake your hand?"

That leaves me with the impression that Sparks has pretty good manners. But I sure hope the cost of that entourage didn't come out of Sparks' pocket.

Q Did Whitney Houston have any appreciation for what a good actor she could have been?

A I think she did. She delivered in every performance she's ever had. And she did that in this movie as well. She was incredible. She knew it was going to be her moment. She was so excited, but at the same time, she really wanted to give us all a moment as well. And I think she really did that.

Q I know you're dating Jason Derulo right now, but I have a gut instinct that someday when Larry Fitzgerald Jr. settles down you're going to marry him.

A Nooo, that's not going to work! Jason is actually the love of my life. But Larry is a good friend. I was there the day he signed his extension contract [with the NFL's Cardinals; Fitzgerald is a Minnesotan]. I wish him all the best; but he's a very, very good friend of mine.

Q Your dad's the former NFLer, Phillippi Sparks. Do you worry about his knees and other health problems that retired NFL players have?

A Yes, of course I do. I worried about that while he was playing. But now that there [are] all these studies about what can happen and mental things and brain [injuries] and memory loss, I do get very worried about him. But I saw him last week, or I think a week and a half ago, and I get to see him this week because he's going to the premiere with me. But he's doing really well. He does have some aches and pains every once in a while. But for the most part he's good.

Q I know James Rutherford, world's cutest Minneapolis-based PR guy.

A Really! You do? That's crazy. You tell him I said 'Hi.'

Interviews are edited for clarity. C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9.

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