After more than two decades in the spotlight, Beyoncé has become much more than a pop icon. She’s a cultural force who has routinely defied expectations and transformed the way we understand the power of art to change how we see ourselves and each other. But at 40, she feels like she’s just scratched the surface.
INTRODUCTION BY KAITLYN GREENIDGE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY CAMPBELL ADDY. STYLING BY SAMIRA NASR AND MARNI SENOFONTE.
How do you process the changing world of celebrity culture and protect your inner self?
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 personalised 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.
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!
How did your upbringing influence your art and business?
My mother has always been my Queen and still is. She has always been so strong and is filled with humanity. She worked 18 hours a day with calloused hands and swollen feet. No matter how tired she was, she was always professional, loving, and nurturing. I try to handle my work and run my company in the same way.
My father constantly encouraged me to write my own songs and create my own vision. He is the reason I wrote and produced at such a young age. I remember when I started hearing people criticize me after I had put on some weight. I was 19. None of the sample clothes fit me. I was feeling a bit insecure from hearing some of the comments, and I woke up one day and refused to feel sorry for myself, so I wrote “Bootylicious.” It was the beginning of me using whatever life handed me and turning it into something empowering to other women and men who were struggling with the same thing.
I have paid my dues and followed every rule for decades, so now I can break the rules that need to be broken.
Fashion can often help to empower us too. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new IVY PARK collection?
This collection is a mixture of my childhood growing up in Texas and a bit of American history. I grew up going to the Houston rodeo every year. It was this amazing diverse and multicultural experience where there was something for every member of the family, including great performances, Houston-style fried Snickers, and fried turkey legs. One of my inspirations came from the overlooked history of the American Black cowboy. Many of them were originally called cowhands, who experienced great discrimination and were often forced to work with the worst, most temperamental horses. They took their talents and formed the Soul Circuit. Through time, these Black rodeos showcased incredible performers and helped us reclaim our place in western history and culture. We were inspired by the culture and swag of the Houston rodeo. We combined classic elements with the athletic wear of IVY PARK x adidas, adding our own spin, monogrammed denim, chaps, and cowhide.
I’m excited that IVY PARK x adidas will now feature kids’ clothing with this drop. On our family vacations, we love to coordinate our outfits. My kids are usually on set with me for shoots, and we’d find ourselves putting them in extra-extra-smalls so we could match. So, it is a natural progression for IVY PARK to introduce a selection of key silhouettes in children’s sizing.