Justin Timberlake
Photo by Jeff Vespa

Justin Timberlake: “Be in the moment”

Short Profile

Name: Justin Randall Timberlake
DOB: 31 January 1981
Place of Birth: Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Occupation: Musician, Actor

Mr. Timberlake, have you had your quarter-life crisis yet?

Quarter life crises are so last generation. (Laughs) I’ve never thought about it, but I can tell you that this year of my life has been the most different. I feel like I’ve learned so much every year since I turned 25. I feel like that was a turning point for me.


I just made this conscious decision to appreciate what I do have and not wanting what I don’t have. That way I feel like you’re able to pack in more memories. I feel like each year of my life since I turned 25 I’ve had so many more memories.

You certainly made a lot of memories before then too…

… I don’t remember anything before 25. (Laughs)

People are freaking out about their age earlier and earlier these days, some even starting Botox in their twenties.

(Laughs) I’m just trying to imagine Botox at 25.

I’ve heard it’s very normal in Hollywood.

It is. From my understanding, they do it so that when they get older it doesn’t look like such a shift. It’s more so that in the future they can hide that they had plastic surgery. They’ll start doing Botox early so that their skin stays tight until they’re 35 and then they’re 40 and then you never question when their skin looks older and then all of a sudden it looks completely different. It’s so that they can hide it more.

For some people it’s as normal as brushing your teeth.

Well, dental hygiene... I think that’s different.

Of course it is.

That’s like taking a bath, that’s not paying somebody for Botox.

Maybe it has to do with the wish for immortality. How important is that in your work, that it might last long after you’re dead?

I think the only way to achieve something that’s classic is to be in the moment. You don’t sit around and think, “Oh, I hope this is remembered forever!” You just have to be honest and I think that requires being in the moment. I don’t think you can worry about what is going to happen with something after that. I think the only thing that you can do is be honest and let the chips fall where they may.

"At the end of the day, we’re just actors and musicians and I don’t think we’re saving the world."

When did you learn that?

Playing concerts and touring is very much about creating a moment. I think making music is about being in the moment as well. Being in the moment to me is more about when you don’t have to analyze what it is that you’re doing, when it just feels right. I think you find the same moments in acting, when you don’t have to go back and think about it. You don’t have to ask as many questions when you know what you felt when you were in the moment portraying that character.

Is that why a lot of people don’t enjoy watching themselves on screen?

Yeah, because then all of a sudden you’ll start judging it yourself and that’s not why you did it. To me, that’s not what any type of art is. I find it interesting that art gets judged, that some sort of price gets put on it. Honestly, there are a lot of similarities to that part of the industry and the way we classify people by how wealthy they are. How struggling can you be as an actor? How real can your music make me feel? I don’t know… My last album wasn’t real at all.

And that doesn’t bother you?

I’m not trying to compare myself to someone who’s as brilliant as John Lennon so please don’t write this like that…

I can’t make any promises.

If you do I’ll come find you. And stab you. (Laughs) But I never felt more vindicated than when I watched the movie Imagine and there’s this moment where a guy shows up on Lennon’s doorstep and says, “You wrote that song to me.” And Lennon is like… his reaction made me laugh. He’s like, [with mock English accent] “No, man. I take words and put them together. They don’t mean anything to me. I didn’t write that song to you… Now do you want something to eat?” When you take the pressure off of it… at the end of the day, we’re just actors and musicians and I don’t think we’re saving the world.