Houston’s pop culture icon, Beyoncé, is making a splash appearing on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. The women’s fashion magazine, published by Hearst, has unveiled multiple versions of the cover of its September “Icon Issue” ahead of the singer’s 40th birthday.
Harper’s first Black editor-in-chief, Samira Nasr, styled the pop culture sensation, while photographer Campbell Addy, a 2020 Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, captured Beyoncé Knowles-Carter looking glorious — as she does.
Always at the pinnacle of fashion, Queen Bey sports IVY PARK x adidas, luxe brands including Gucci and Givenchy, and stunning jewels from Tiffany & Co. (She and her husband JAY-Z have just been named as the new faces of the brand.) For the main cover shot, Bey donned a Stetson cowboy hat and black fringed gloves.
In a surprisingly candid interview, the music icon reminisces on her childhood growing up in Houston’s Third Ward, why she’s at a point in her life where she no longer needs to compete with herself, and how writing “Bootylicious” was the start of using whatever life handed her to empower others who were struggling with the same body issues she had at 19.
Locals will love how the Queen reps H-Town. Her upcoming IVY PARK collection was partly inspired by her early days of attending the Houston Rodeo. She speaks on the diversity the annual event brings to the city from the performances to of course, the fried Snickers and turkey legs.
“This collection is a mixture of my childhood growing up in Texas and a bit of American history,” she tells the magazine.
Inspired by the American Black cowboy, she put her own flair to the upcoming IVY PARK x adidas collection with monogrammed denim, chaps, and cowhide. She also notes that kids’ clothing will also be added to this drop, calling it a “natural progression” to introduce a selection of children’s sizes.
Candid and real, Beyoncé shares life lessons for every Houstonian. Here are the key takeaways:
Strength in solitude yields success
Beyoncé shares that her first decade of life was spent dreaming and building her imagination — alone.
“I am now grateful for those shy years of silence,” she says. 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.”
In her teenage years, she notes it was all about the grind. She was dedicated to getting a record deal for Destiny’s Child — arguably one of the best recording female groups of all time. “If something wasn’t helping me reach my goal, I decided to invest no time in it.”
She felt the pressure as a young Black woman and didn’t want anyone to see her 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.”
Forget the numbers game — stay human
In 2010, Beyoncé launched Parkwood Entertainment — the “multipurpose badass conglomerate” that is part creative agency, record label, production company, and management company.
“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 recalls.
The singer remembers an analytics meeting where research and surveys told her her fans didn’t care for black-and-white visuals. Triggered, she based her next projects off black-and-white photography, including videos for “Single Ladies” and “If I Were a Boy” and Peter Lindbergh’s work for I Am...Sasha Fierce.
“I try to keep the human feeling and spirit and emotion in my decision-making.”
The past is the past
The Houston native shares the importance of helping others to make a positive difference and she aims to change perceptions so her three kids, Blue Ivy, nine, and twins, Rumi and Sir, four, can be “seen, celebrated, and valued.”
She notes: “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.”
Protect your inner self
Born in 1981, Beyoncé’s childhood consisted of at-home recording equipment like video cameras and stereo systems. In today’s digital landscape, Beyoncé reminds that we live in a world with few boundaries and a lot of access.
“Our reality can be warped because it’s based on a personalized algorithm,” she says. “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.”
She continues, “it’s easy to forget that there’s still so much to discover outside of our phones.”
Boundaries are good
With over two decades in the spotlight, Beyoncé has a clear path when it comes to setting boundaries, stating she’s been “intentional” about her stage persona and personal life.
“I’ve fought to protect my sanity and my privacy because the quality of my life depended on it.”
While some are quick to judge that she’s reserved or closed off, she jokes that “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!”
Self-first is okay
As far as taking care of her mental, emotional, and physical well-being, she says she hasn’t always made herself a priority. And while she’s picked up several tips and tricks over the years of dancing in heels, wearing heavy makeup on stage, heat damage on her hair, she knows that in order to give it her all, she has to take care of herself and listen to her 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,” she says/
From discovering CBD on her last tour to learning about the healing properties in honey that are not only beneficial to her but also her children, Beyoncé shares that she’s building a hemp and honey farm.
“And I’m so happy that my daughters will have the example of those rituals from me.”
Forty is the new amazing
Queen Bey is now boasts the most Grammys (28) by any women. She now wants her 40s to be about “celebrating, joy, and giving and receiving love.”
She adds: “I want to give all the love I have to the people who love me back.”
Her plan is to enjoy time with her husband and children, to travel without working, and to explore things about her she hasn’t had time to discover.
She wants to continue to dismantle systemic imbalances and turn industries upside down — and be both elegant and a provocateur. She will own being curvy and still be a fashion icon. She wishes for 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.”