When she revealed her pregnancy at the VMA’s, Beyonce made headlines without saying a single word. Now, the pop superstar tells her side of the story, from fashion to music to how she balances work and family. See the photos from the fashion shoot and watch a behind-the-scenes video from the set.
Beyoncé's Baby Love
By Elisa Lipsky-Karasz
Typically, when a celebrity announces a pregnancy, a team of publicists and managers is consulted, deals are struck, and photos are carefully leaked. But all it took for Beyoncé to reveal her baby news was a little belly rub at the MTV Video Music Awards this past August—a move that nearly caused the Twittersphere to implode, with tweets about it going out at 8,868 per second, a record for the social-networking site.
That's not to say that it wasn't a carefully planned maneuver: "I put a lot of thought into how I wanted to unveil it. It was important to me that I was able to do it myself," Beyoncé explains. The orange Lanvin caftan she wore for the big moment was the last of an epic near-70 gowns she considered. "I was extremely nervous. It was the toughest red carpet I ever did.
"I didn't want a crazy picture or gossip story to break the news," she continues, "so I decided to say nothing and proudly show my baby bump. I felt it was more powerful to see the love and enthusiasm as opposed to saying anything."
That love and enthusiasm were fully in evidence as Beyoncé hit New York Fashion Week in September with her little sister, Solange. Forget the clothes on display, "Babyoncé" was in the house—front and center under a belted gold sequined wrap dress. After causing a flash mob of fans at J. Crew, the Beyoncé caravan made its way to the front rows of Vera Wang and Rodarte.
"This morning, I woke up and I was like, 'Really? A fashion show?' But I wanted to spend time with my sister," Beyoncé says afterward. She is glowing from head to toe following a vacation in Venice with her husband, Jay-Z, to celebrate her 30th birthday—all golden skin, honey-blonde-streaked hair, and a bright smile glossed a tawny hue.
She is reveling in the chance to seek out pieces to complement her new figure and is even at work on a maternity collection to add to the House of Deréon line she produces with her mother, Tina Knowles. "All I see now are clothes that are flattering on a pregnant woman," she says. "It's been so exciting for me! I love figuring out designs that still make me feel edgy and sexy while pregnant. Flowy fabrics are always flattering," she says, "but I still rock my stilettos.
"I've had so much fun with fashion over the months," she adds. "I have been pregnant through every event I've done, from the Billboard Awards to Glastonbury."
It helps that her toned curves are still perfectly intact. No Empire waists here: Her maternity wear so far has featured a skin-revealing bodysuit made of metallic string that she wore to the Billboard Music Awards and a gold sequined jacket over the tiniest of black briefs that she rocked at the Glastonbury festival. She's not slowing down her dance moves either, or her trademark hair whipping, which never seems to disturb a strand. "I'm not sure it looks perfect after two hours on stage," she says, laughing, "but the fans I use to keep cool also do double duty for my hair."
Famous since her teen years, Beyoncé has morphed into a full-fledged fashion icon who gives designers starry eyes. Long gone are the days when showrooms wouldn't lend to the young Destiny's Child singer from Houston; now she visits Azzedine Alaïa himself in his Paris atelier and poaches from his archive. (He listens to her music every day and can even dance the steps to her "Single Ladies" routine.)
"Her music is invigorating; it really brightens my mood and fires my imagination," Alaïa says. "Beyoncé is a beautiful, elegant woman who is also a wonderful dancer. And her voice is sublime. Just like her husband, Jay-Z, Beyoncé has real talent. They are both the kind of truly great artist who will be remembered by history. Their child will be lucky to have such talented parents."
"She doesn't have the body of a typical model, but she inspires the designers," says her creative director, Jenke-Ahmed Tailly, a stylist who has been working with her for nearly a year and makes mood boards for every new look. "Givenchy is made for Beyoncé," gushes Riccardo Tisci, who designed a couture gown seen in the video for "Run the World [Girls]," the first single from Beyoncé's latest album, 4. "I cannot wait for her to give birth for two reasons," he continues. "First, because I love her and Jay-Z—they are so happy together—and second, because I want to have goose bumps when I see her back in Givenchy."
"Beyoncé is a force," adds Tom Ford, for whom she modeled in his celeb-packed Spring 2011 show, a major salvo in her high-fashion assault. "She radiates positive energy. That is what true stars do. You feel it when you are around her, you feel it when you see her perform, you feel it when she sings, and you feel it when she looks you in the eyes and smiles."
As for her current fashion inspirations, Beyoncé says, "I love Kate Moss. I think she has great style. And I always admire Victoria Beckham and Gisele [Bündchen]. Their style is modern but always classic." Her longtime stylist Ty Hunter helps her put together ensembles even for her days off, and she and her team are considering hiring hot street-style photographer Tommy Ton to shoot behind the scenes. She's also an online shopping junkie. "I spend too much money shopping on the Internet!" she moans.
She and close friend Gwyneth Paltrow could probably talk fashion all day, but "our best times have been when we are just sitting around in sweatpants, having a glass of wine, chatting about life," Paltrow says. "B is wise beyond her years. She has taught me the value of speaking your mind. She is clear and honest and true to herself while being respectful. She will be an incredible mother because she is so full of love and she knows who she is."
Beyoncé has already had plenty of practice with Paltrow's children, Moses and Apple, and Solange's son, Daniel Julez. "With my kids she is easy and fun," Paltrow says. "They know that she is interested in them, and they can tell when a grown-up is faking." She's even taken Daniel, now seven years old, on a weeklong trip to Paris alone. "It was so cute. He was so happy," says Solange. "She took him to Disneyland and to toy stores and carnival rides. She did the whole entire experience with him; she's so incredibly patient. She's going to be a phenomenal mother, there's no question about it."
Family comes first for Beyoncé, who, despite 18-hour work days, still squeezes in manicure trips with her sister. "She has always—since I was a baby—been such a nurturer and caretaker and so protective of me," says Solange. Beyoncé agrees: "If you want to see the Third Ward Texas come out in me, disrespect my sister, and I will go completely crazy on you." She's only kind of kidding.
Like everything that Beyoncé undertakes—from her fragrances to her starring role in Clint Eastwood's upcoming remake of A Star Is Born—this next step into motherhood has been deliberately thought out. "It was important to me that I gave myself time to focus on becoming the woman I want to be, building my empire, my relationship, and my self-worth, before I became a mother," she says. "Now God has blessed us with the ultimate."
She and Jay-Z are a deeply committed and extremely private couple, just as happy grabbing pizza in Brooklyn as they are yachting around the Mediterranean. "We have been together since I was 20 years old," she says. "We took our time and developed an unbreakable friendship before we got married. I admire his ability to inspire others. To me, Jay represents the American dream. Jay's music has helped define our generation. All that he has overcome and worked to achieve gives millions hope that they can become whatever they want to be. I respect him so much; he is a great man and a great artist."
In a rare moment of candor about their relationship, she continues: "We focused three years on our marriage and found that it brought us an even stronger bond and connection. But like anything great and successful in your life, marriage takes hard work and sacrifice. It has to be something both you and your husband deeply want. The best thing about marriage is the amount of growth you have because you can no longer hide from your fears and insecurities. There's someone right there calling you out on your flaws and building you up when you need the support. If you are with the right person, it brings out the best version of you."
Beyoncé, like her hit single, is ready to run the world. "I am finally at the stage in my life where I am not so concerned with other people's opinions about my life decisions," she says. "It is so liberating to really know what I want, what truly makes me happy, what I will not tolerate. I have learned that it is no one else's job to take care of me but me." And soon she'll be taking care of a little B too.
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