Paris Jackson made her first ever appearance at the Melbourne Cup yesterday, though her decision to attend wasn't without its controversy.
Paris was forced to defend herself for "refusing" to wear a custom dress, which never existed in the first place according to a statement from her publicist. She was criticised by some publications for "leaving the event early," as though there is a problem with when she chooses to do so. She was also accused of being a "diva" because she didn't want to discuss her late father, or her adolescent life. A reasonable request considering she was not on a talk show about her personal life, but rather at a race-day event as a guest.
Instead of accepting that the 19-year-old was there to work, publications have villainised her for not behaving exactly how they wanted... and those are just some of the nasty stories floating around. It's safe to say Paris's first Melbourne Cup was marked by tabloid mayhem and, all the while, she was going through an emotional time.
A quick glance at her Instagram account would reveal that the young star was battling high emotions yesterday due to personal loss. Ahead of her appearance at the event, she shared a throwback photo with a group of friends on social media, revealing one of her close companions, Devin Freeman, had recently passed away.
"What a special person you were. Thank you for being there for me when i was going through shit with school, boys, life. you really always did know what to say to make me feel better, even when it was sometimes through a simple text message," she wrote. "Helping me sneak away from school to get chipotle n helping me with acting class work when you had your own shit to deal with. you were one of the kindest and most genuine kids i knew. and not to mention a hell of a great taste in country music.. i miss our hikes in malibu and our tickle wars. you were one of the good ones devin. you'll be greatly missed, by everyone that met and knew you. i know life wasn't easy on you, and you didn't deserve half the hell this trip was.. i hope you're now filled with an abundance of love and light and all of the good feelings a soul could ever experience."
The star also tweeted about losing a friend on November 5th, writing: "why the f*** do people keep dying?"
We're sending love to the young star as she copes with this tragic loss, and commend her on her professionalism despite going through this heartbreaking time.
It's worth noting that even if she wasn't going through such a huge ordeal right now, there is no reasonable excuse for her treatment in these offensive headlines. Being labelled as "Wacko Jacko 2.0" for enjoying her time in Australia as best she could, is precisely why she would have wanted to avoid discussion of her personal life.
Paris took time to single out this one headline, in fact, writing on Twitter "I couldn't care less what they call me tbh but adding the "2.0" is their way of dragging my father into it and that I will not stand for."
We hope Paris is able to find some enjoyment in her time in Australia, despite the absurd backlash to her Melbourne Cup appearance.
This article originally appeared on InStyle Australia.