Beyoncé Knowles: an Everlasting Star
By Dimitri Ehrlich
LAC: You grew up in a pretty conservative household, but in recent years your sexuality has definitely become more central to your public persona. Do you still need your alter ego—Sasha Fierce—to allow you to explore the more untamed aspects of your sexuality?
BK: I still have the values I grew up with. The reason I maintain my sanity and I’m still the same person is because of those values. When I’m performing, I’m able to be whoever I want to be on stage. I have my alter ego, Sasha—and it’s kind of like a character but I leave it on the stage, and I don’t walk around being over-the-top in real life. It’s just a part of my artistic expression.
LAC: Why have you been so secretive about your relationship with Jay-Z?
BK: This is my first relationship. I’m very private and, of course, I don’t talk about it, but I’m very, very happy, that’s all I’ll say. We were together for a really long time before we got married; we were in no rush. We don’t have a normal relationship because of our careers. But celebrity or not, you go through the exact same things. We’re not perfect, it’s just natural for people to start rumors and try to break things up. You can try to defend it, but it’s difficult when you read things and people are always asking. You have to have a very strong relationship, way stronger than people who aren’t being scrutinized.
LAC: You’ve managed to become one of the most visible women in the world, but also someone almost nobody really knows. Do you take pride in remaining hidden?
BK: I think that it’s wonderful to be around for so long and still have some mystery. I’ve always wanted to be known for my music and songs and for the work I’ve done in movies and for being a hardworking person, and I like that people don’t know everything about me. It makes me feel a little normal, because most people are like that. You meet them and you know as much as they let you know, and the people they love know every little detail. I feel like that’s important just so I can feel a little bit of normalcy in my life.
LAC: Between your role as Etta James and your recent single, “If I Were a Boy,” you really seem to be expanding the Beyoncé brand. What made you want to sing “If I Were a Boy,” which takes a gender-flipping perspective?
BK: I didn’t write it, but that song is so perfect. It’s so refreshing. It’s definitely something that will last forever. I felt like I was singing for every woman in the world. I feel like I’m an artist who says a lot of the things in my music that women want to say or need to hear. Fans always tell me, “You got me through this argument with my boyfriend,” or, “Because of you I was strong enough to stick it through.”
LAC: So if you sing songs to help women get through break-ups, who does that for you?
BK: [Laughs] Well, fortunately I haven’t had any break-ups!
Photographs by Tony Duran/Creative 24 • Styling by Kithe Brewster @ KitheBrewsterInc.com Fashion assistance by Kay Ingram • Makeup by Francesca Tolot for CloutierAgency.com Hair by Kimberly Kimble using Kimble Hair Care Systems for MargaretMaldonado.com • Manicure by Lisa Logan