Justin Bieber is on the cover of GQ’s March issue, and the interview inside is beautifully, delightfully unsurprising.
Biebs was interviewed by Caity Weaver, a former Gawker staffer, and informed her that while he has spent the past year “acknowledging” past mistakes, his hit single “Sorry” was not, as interviews with Bieber have implied previously, an apology to his fans.
“People ran with that—that I was, like, apologizing with the song and stuff. It really had nothing to do with that.”
It wasn’t meant to be an apology?
“No. It was about a girl.”
Relatedly, we learn that Bieber is, like some of his other contemporaries, extremely difficult to have a conversation with:
A linguist would say he violates backchannel norms. That is, he withholds those subtle signs—short verbal cues like “mmm-hmm,” “right,” and “yeah”; quick head nods—that indicate an engaged listener and that encourage the speaker to continue.
Whatever the reason, it is unsettling. It’s unsettling to share a personal story, or ask a long-winded question, and be met with Justin Bieber’s silent, cool-eyed stare the entire time you’re talking. Justin Bieber makes eye contact like a person who has been told that eye contact is very, very important.
That feels very, very right.
We also discover that Justin Bieber has a close and personal relationship with the Devil (“Bieber tells me that dwelling on negativity is ‘exactly what the Devil wants. He wants us to not be happy. He wants us to, you know, not live the life that we can truly live.’”), that he doesn’t know how many cars he has or really anything about them (“He declares that the Ferrari looks ‘almost like Lightning McQueen,’ which I assume must be a reference to a menacing manual-transmission two-seater driven around hairpin turns by Steve McQueen in a movie from the ‘60s, until I look it up and discover it’s the name of the car from Cars.”), and that he takes the Monkey Crisis of 2013 quite seriously:
“Honestly, everyone told me not to bring the monkey. Everybody.”
He says this with such gravity that I burst out laughing. Bieber does not.
“Everyone told me not to bring the monkey. I was like, ‘It’s gonna be fine, guys!’ It was”—he shuts his eyes—“the farthest thing from fine.”
Bieber’s statement on his recent drunken romp atop an ancient Mayan site is truly stirring:
“But I realized, you know what, obviously it looked bad, and it was disrespectful, because I was in their sacred area, showing my ass and stuff. But it was all in good fun. My boys—we do this wherever we are. It’s like a last-second thing: They go to take a picture, and I just turn [around]…but yeah, you know, clarifying that, you know, to the Mayan people or whatever, whoever was…felt any disrespect, I’m truly sorry for that. I never meant to disrespect anybody.”
As is this section on Hailey Baldwin—Bieber later calls her “someone I really love”—who the writer finds sitting alone, doing nothing, on the bed in Bieber’s hotel room. Just waiting.
When we enter, Hailey is wearing a black crop top and tight black pants, sitting on a pristinely made bed. She is doing nothing—no TV, no book, no phone, no computer, no music, no oil paints, nothing. She is pretty and polite and 19 and asks me, “What’s up?”
Read the full GQ article here.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via GQ.