This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JULY 09: Beyoncé attends the premiere of Disney’s “The Lion King” at Dolby Theatre on July 09, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Beyoncé is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar’s September 2021 issue. In the feature, the usually-private superstar shares some of the lessons she’s learned over the last four decades, as she approaches her 40th birthday this September. And while she rarely gives interviews these days, Bey shared some intimate details about her journey of transformation, as well as insights into self-care, mental health and her hopes for the future.
For the shoot, the Texas native was draped in pieces from her new Ivy Park Rodeo collection, which debuts on August 19. Featuring monogrammed denim, chaps, and cowhide, the collection pays homage to the Houston rodeo and the important, but often overlooked, history of the Black American cowboy.
A new Beyoncé interview drop is almost as exciting as a surprise album. In both cases, we’re all hanging on every word. Here are some of the most thought-provoking and inspiring passages from the feature.
On growth and letting go of the past:
As a child entertainer, Beyoncé was exposed from a young age to many of the life lessons that most people only encounter in adulthood. And as she reflects on the different versions of herself throughout the years, it’s clear through her quotes in Harper’s that the most important iteration of Beyoncé is the one standing before her today.
“I’ve spent so many years trying to better myself and improve whatever I’ve done that I’m at a point where I no longer need to compete with myself. I have no interest in searching backwards. The past is the past. I feel many aspects of that younger, less evolved Beyoncé could never f*** with the woman I am today. Haaa!”
On celebrity culture and protecting her inner self:
Beyoncé is one of the most hyper-visible entertainers on the planet, and has had her UN-fair share of public scrutiny and commentary from strangers. And that visibility is something she has been acutely aware of since her days in Destiny’s Child.
“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 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.”
So, she decided that in order to protect her peace, she wanted the focus of her public persona to be on her art and her message.
“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!” (She may not share a whole lot, but nobody said Queen Bey doesn’t have jokes!)
Beyoncé also reflected on how years of touring, performing and feeling pressure to be the backbone of her family and businesses have all taken a toll on her. Now, she’s taking a new path forward to prioritizing her mental and physical wellbeing.
“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.”
She also shared how proud she is to have passed on this culture of self-care and self-protection to her children after “generational trauma.”
“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.”
On her hopes for the future:
For Beyoncé, this next decade will hopefully be full of fun, freedom and exploration beyond the commitments that she has made to her career her whole life.
“I want to show that you can have fun and have purpose, be respectful and speak your mind. You can be both elegant and a provocateur. You can be curvy and still be a fashion icon. I wish this freedom for every person. I have paid my dues and followed every rule for decades, so now I can break the rules that need to be broken. My wish for the future is to continue to do everything everyone thinks I can’t do.”
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