By Lanford Beard
Updated December 15, 2011 at 10:56 PM EST

Paris Jackson appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show today to promote her first role in an upcoming film, Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys. Explaining that she took the role in the adaptation of Dennis H. Christen’s fantasy story because of it’s eco-friendly, philanthropic message (50 percent of profits will go to schools), Jackson said, “I know my dad always wanted to heal the world, and so I think it would be great to follow in his footsteps.” Jackson also discussed her memories of her father, including some of his more controversial parenting decisions. See what else she had to say below.

It was the first solo television appearance for the nervous 13-year-old, who conducted herself with poise as she joked around with DeGeneres. Though many people couldn’t imagine that she has an average life, she insisted, “I do have a normal childhood. I’m treated the same. When I came to [my school] Buckley, they didn’t know who I was, [and] I’m, like, ‘Yes! I’ve got a chance to be normal!'” In addition to the softball team, she joined the basketball and volleyball teams, and she plays on the same flag football team with — and in the same position as — her older brother Prince.

Jackson said she was inspired to take up acting at a young age when she saw her dad in Moonwalker and thought, “Wow, I want to be just like him!” They would do improv games with Prince and Blanket, where Paris learned she could cry on demand — a skill she deployed strategically from that moment on.

She said she didn’t realize the extent of her father’s fame until recently. “When I was really little, I didn’t know that [he was such a big deal],” she said. “I knew, like, ‘Yeah, he has a few songs out,’ but I just figured everyone did that.” Today, she’s a huge music fan, singing and teaching herself piano. She lists Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Coldplay among her favorite acts but saves the most space for her dad: “I know all of his songs by heart — 99 percent of my brain is his music.”

About one of her dad’s quirkier habits — making his children wear Mardi Gras masks in public, she recalled, “Yeah, [as a kid] I was like, ‘This is stupid, why am I wearing a mask?’ But I kind of realized the older I got, like, he only tried to protect us.”

What did you think, PopWatchers? Did you see the interview? What do you think of Paris and her remarkable ability to be an average 13-year-old girl in the midst of the last two years?

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