PHOTOS: Beyoncé Talks About Evolution As She Covers Harper’s Magazine

American singer and actress, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has appeared as the cover star of the Harper’s Bazaar September Icons Issue and she bares it all about her private and public life.

The soon to be 40-year-old multiple award winner in her interview with the American monthly women’s fashion magazine, discussed her childhood, career and family.

When asked about how each decades of her life has shaped her career, the superstar and mother of three disclosed that she was an introvert and most people never knew she could sing.

She went on to disclose that by the time she was seven, she was already competing at singing and dancing competitions, and three years later, she had recorded at least 50 to 60 songs in the studio.

“The first decade of my life was dedicated to dreaming. Because I was an introvert, I didn’t speak very much as a child. I spent a lot of time in my head building my imagination. I am now grateful for those shy years of silence,” Beyonce told the magazine.

“…I started taking voice lessons from an opera singer at nine. By 10 I had already recorded at least 50 or 60 songs in the recording studio. This was before Pro Tools, when you recorded to tape.

She also said her teenage years was all about the pressure to being a young black woman who needed to succeed and break stereotypes surrounding her kind. 

“…My teenage years were about the grind… No one in my school knew that I could sing because I barely spoke. My energy went into Destiny’s Child and the dream of us getting a record deal and becoming musicians. If something wasn’t helping me reach my goal, I decided to invest no time in it. I didn’t feel like I had time to “kiki” or hang out. I sacrificed a lot of things and ran from any possible distraction… I was the most careful, professional teenager and I grew up fast. I felt as a young Black woman that I couldn’t mess up. I felt the pressure from the outside and their eyes watching for me to trip or fail. I couldn’t let my family down after all the sacrifices they made for me and the girls. That meant I was the most careful, professional teenager and I grew up fast. I wanted to break all of the stereotypes of the Black superstar, whether falling victim to drugs or alcohol or the absurd misconception that Black women were angry. I knew I was given this amazing opportunity and felt like I had one shot. I refused to mess it up, but I had to give up a lot.”

Beyoncé further explained that her 20’s were about building a strong foundation for her career and establishing her legacy. She credited this decade for her independence as she established Parkwood Entertainment company at age 27, to cater for her career needs when she could not find other companies were capable of doing so.

Beyoncé said she focused more on her family in her 30’s and made her life more than her career. She also noted she did a lot of “digging deeper” by branching into philanthropy by establishing the BeyGOOD foundation.

“…My 30s were about digging deeper. In 2013, I started BeyGOOD to share the mentality that we could all do something to help others, something my parents instilled in me from a young age—to inspire others to be kind, to be charitable, and to be good. We focused on many areas of need, including hurricane relief, education with scholarships to colleges and universities in the U.S., a fellowship program in South Africa, women’s rights, support of minority businesses, assisting families with housing needs, water crises, pediatric health care, and pandemic relief.”

When asked how she processes the changing world of celebrity culture and protect her inner self, the billionaire wife explained that it is easy to lose oneself in the entertainment industry, so she chose to preserve herself by deciding what to share with the world.

“We live in a world with few boundaries and a lot of access. There are so many internet therapists, comment critics, and experts with no expertise. Our reality can be warped because it’s based on a personalized algorithm. It shows us whatever truths we are searching for, and that’s dangerous. We can create our own false reality when we’re not fed a balance of what’s truly going on in the world. It’s easy to forget that there’s still so much to discover outside of our phones. I’m grateful I have the ability to choose what I want to share. One day I decided I wanted to be like Sade and Prince. I wanted the focus to be on my music, because if my art isn’t strong enough or meaningful enough to keep people interested and inspired, then I’m in the wrong business. My music, my films, my art, my message—that should be enough.”

Speaking about how she has been able to set and maintain boundaries in her career and personal life, Beyonce said: “Throughout my career, I’ve been intentional about setting boundaries between my stage persona and my personal life. My family and friends often forget the side of me that is the beast in stilettos until they are watching me perform. It can be easy to lose yourself very quickly in this industry.

“It takes your spirit and light, then spits you out. I’ve seen it countless times, not only with celebrities but also producers, directors, executives, etc. It’s not for everyone. Before I started, I decided that I’d only pursue this career if my self-worth was dependent on more than celebrity success. I’ve surrounded myself with honest people who I admire, who have their own lives and dreams and are not dependent on me. People I can grow and learn from and vice versa. In this business, so much of your life does not belong to you unless you fight for it. I’ve fought to protect my sanity and my privacy because the quality of my life depended on it. A lot of who I am is reserved for the people I love and trust. Those who don’t know me and have never met me might interpret that as being closed off. Trust, the reason those folks don’t see certain things about me is because my Virgo ass does not want them to see it….It’s not because it doesn’t exist!”

The singer also revealed and got candid about her struggles with insomnia and diet as well as the effect of COVID-19 lockdown.

“I think like many women, I have felt the pressure of being the backbone of my family and my company and didn’t realize how much that takes a toll on my mental and physical well-being. I have not always made myself a priority. I’ve personally struggled with insomnia from touring for more than half of my life. Years of wear and tear on my muscles from dancing in heels. The stress on my hair and skin, from sprays and dyes to the heat of a curling iron and wearing heavy makeup while sweating on stage. I’ve picked up many secrets and techniques over the years to look my best for every show. But I know that to give the best of me, I have to take care of myself and listen to my body.

“In the past, I spent too much time on diets, with the misconception that self-care meant exercising and being overly conscious of my body. My health, the way I feel when I wake up in the morning, my peace of mind, the number of times I smile, what I’m feeding my mind and my body—those are the things that I’ve been focusing on. Mental health is self-care too. I’m learning to break the cycle of poor health and neglect, focusing my energy on my body and taking note of the subtle signs that it gives me. Your body tells you everything you need to know, but I’ve had to learn to listen. It’s a process to change habits and look past the bag of chips and the chaos everywhere!

“During quarantine, I went from overindulgences to creating positive rituals drawing from past generations and putting my own spin on things. I discovered CBD on my last tour, and I’ve experienced its benefits for soreness and inflammation. It helped with my restless nights and the agitation that comes from not being able to fall asleep. I found healing properties in honey that benefit me and my children. And now I’m building a hemp and a honey farm. I’ve even got hives on my roof! And I’m so happy that my daughters will have the example of those rituals from me. One of my most satisfying moments as a mom is when I found Blue one day soaking in the bath with her eyes closed, using blends I created and taking time for herself to decompress and be at peace. I have so much to share…and there’s more to come soon!

Queen Bey was dressed in several designer outfits styled by Samira Nasr and Marni Senofonte.

Deborah Adegoke

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