As she enters her 40th year of life on Sept. 4, Beyoncé, who is unequivocally a solidified icon, is reflecting on both her personal and professional personas.
The singer, who has been in the limelight for over two decades, said her decision to keep her personal life separate from her professional persona shouldn’t be confused for being “closed off,” HuffPost reported.
“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 proclaimed.
“I’m grateful I have the ability to choose what I want to share,” she said, adding that “one day I decided I wanted to be like Sade and Prince.”
The singer said she often dreamt of creating art that was meaningful enough to capture audiences, rather than fans seeking more from her personal life.
She emphasized the separation of the two, saying that sometimes her loved ones “often forget the side of me that is the beast in stilettos until they are watching me perform.”
The mother of three also discussed the tenacity of her career, crediting her childhood dreams as the source of her reality.
“The first decade of my life was dedicated to dreaming. Because I was an introvert, I didn’t speak very much as a child,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in her latest interview. “I spent a lot of time in my head building my imagination. I am now grateful for those shy years of silence. Being shy taught me empathy and gave me the ability to connect and relate to people. I’m no longer shy, but I’m not sure I would dream as big as I dream today if it were not for those awkward years in my head.”
Despite having a reserved and introverted disposition, the “Naughty Girl” singer’s personality gleamed onstage, a place where she said she felt “safe.”
“I was competing in dance and singing competitions at age seven. When I was on the stage, I felt safe. I was often the only Black girl, and it was then that I started to realize I had to dance and sing twice as hard,” she said. “I had to have stage presence, wit, and charm if I wanted to win.”
As a teenager, the Texas native recalls working hard and sacrificing “a lot” with her girl group, Destiny’s Child, to make their dreams come to fruition. She felt pressure as a young, Black woman to not mess up her one chance at becoming a superstar, while also navigating through the expectations of others.
“My teenage years were about the grind. I grew up hearing this particular scripture from James 2:17, ‘Faith without work is dead.’ Vision and intention weren’t enough; I had to put in the work. I committed to always being a student and always being open to growth,” the 28-time Grammy winner shared.
“My energy went into Destiny’s Child and the dream of us getting a record deal and becoming musicians,” she added. “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.”
In her 20’s, the singer said she learned a lot about her professionalism and her independence, ultimately creating successful management and entertainment company Parkwood Entertainment.
“I pulled together these young visionaries and independent thinkers to collaborate with. I wanted strong women to be in key roles throughout my company, when most of the industry was still male dominated,” she shared. “I wanted collaborators who had not been jaded by the corporate world and wouldn’t be afraid to rock with me when I came up with unconventional ideas, a team that would challenge me but wouldn’t be conditioned to say you’re not supposed to do something.”
She also mentioned the pivotal moments in her career, like when an agency told her that her photos wouldn’t sell if they were in black and white, based on an unsubstantiated survey from her fans. That’s when she took disparaging critiques and turned them into art.
“It triggered me when I was told, ‘These studies show…’ I was so exhausted and annoyed with these formulaic corporate companies that I based my whole next project off of black and white photography, including the videos for “Single Ladies” and “If I Were a Boy” and all of the artwork by Peter Lindbergh for I Am…Sasha Fierce, which ended up being my biggest commercial success to date,” she said. “I try to keep the human feeling and spirit and emotion in my decision-making.”
As for her 30’s, the superstar said it was all about “digging deeper.” She took more time for herself and her family, and eventually created BeyGOOD, a charity program that provides domestic and international support for things like hurricane relief, a fellowship program in South Africa, women’s rights, support of minority businesses, housing needs, water crises, pediatric health care and pandemic relief.
Now, she says her groundbreaking efforts have allowed her to reach a place where she no longer feels the need to outdo herself.
“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,” the 39-year-old said. “I feel many aspects of that younger, less evolved Beyoncé could never f**k with the woman I am today. Haaa!”
In her next decade of life, the Ivy Park founder said that she wants it to be about “celebration, joy, and giving and receiving love.”
“I’ve done so much in 40 years that I just want to enjoy my life. It’s hard going against the grain, but being a small part of some of the overdue shifts happening in the world feels very rewarding. I want to continue to work to dismantle systemic imbalances. I want to continue to turn these industries upside down,” she said.
“I plan to create businesses outside of music,” she added. “I have learned that I have to keep on dreaming. One of my favorite quotes is from the inventor Charles Kettering. It goes ‘Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.'”