I made my way up two flights of escalators at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove and hit a wall of heat. Handfuls of cameramen, publicists, and journalists—not to mention a horde of fans gripping hardcover copies of Starting Over—hovered in the “book-signing” corner of the bookstore last Wednesday in anticipation of the arrival of the woman-of-the-hour: La Toya Jackson.
She entered the room in a snow white suit with sparkly silver Louboutins and the nail polish to match. For half-an-hour she spoke to the media with grace while her close family and friends hovered behind her battling the 100-degree temperature in the room.
The resemblance between La Toya and her late brother, Michael, was obvious, and conversations relating to her new book and the timing of its release (just 5 days before the anniversary of his death) buzzed around the room.
According to La Toya, Starting Over represents her efforts to change her life, including escaping her abusive marriage and moving forward after her brother’s passing. “It is never too late to start over,” she said. She’s also using the book to set some records straight. “There were so many misconceptions,” she said, referring to the Jackson family’s reputation. La Toya also did Celebrity Apprentice to help people get to know the real her and to bring awareness to Michael’s favorite charity, AIDS Project Los Angeles.
Although Michael’s children, Prince Michael, Paris, and Prince Michael II (Blanket) did not make an appearance as expected, La Toya had other friends and family members at the event for support. “My family? Oh, they love the book,” she said, “My mother thought it was so good and my family is very happy that I am able to finally tell my story.”
Photograph by Taylor Norman