First and foremost, can we just take a minute to appreciate the major beauty moments iconic magazines like Vogue have been serving up lately? (If you need a refresher, just take a look at Rihanna's barely there brows via British Vogue.) Stateside, however, it's a different music mogul taking the stage as the publication's cover star, and it's not just the September issue's epic beauty look (ahem, five pounds of florals) that has us agape in admiration.
In a raw, intimately executed, essay-style cover feature, Beyoncé shares an ode to her post-pregnancy body in addition to countless other components (think legacy, opportunity, freedom, journey, etc.) that have intricately woven together over the years to compose the career and life she embodies full-scale today—a life that's far from uncomplicated and tidy, but beautifully scarred all the same.
"There are many shades on every journey. Nothing is black or white. I've been through hell and back, and I'm grateful for every scar," the singer poignantly reveals. "I have experienced betrayals and heartbreaks in many forms. I have had disappointments in business partnerships as well as personal ones, and they all left me feeling neglected, lost, and vulnerable.
"Through it all, I have learned to laugh and cry and grow. I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful."
Additionally, in a world currently saturated in carefully articulated tuning, editing, and appearance-driven opportunity, Beyoncé's stance on body image and nurturing a newfound relationship and acceptance feels refreshing if not 100% necessary amid the fabrication so rampant in today's beauty culture. We recommend heading to Vogue to pore over the feature in its spirit-lifting entirety, but for an appetizer, keep scrolling for some of our favorite quotes from the singer—and her breathtaking beauty shots.
"After the birth of my first child, I believed in the things society said about how my body should look. I put pressure on myself to lose all the baby weight in three months, and scheduled a small tour to assure I would do it. Looking back, that was crazy.
"I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies' health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU. I was in survival mode and did not grasp it all until months later."
"During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be. After six months, I started preparing for Coachella. I became vegan temporarily, gave up coffee, alcohol, and all fruit drinks. But I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves. My kids and husband did, too.
"I think it's important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies. That's why I stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup for this shoot."
"To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I'm in no rush to get rid of it. I think it's real. Whenever I'm ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be."
Next up: Check out Rihanna's amazing British Vogue cover.