She’s had success as a singer, songwriter, businesswoman and actor. She’s sold more than 118 million records as a solo entertainer and another 60 million during her tenure with Destiny’s Child. And when all of her recording acts are considered, she’s received 79 Grammy nominations and won 28 of the prestigious awards.
By any metric, Beyoncé isn’t just a star — she’s an icon.
But unlike some others in the entertainment industry, the 39-year-old’s fame isn’t boosted by frequent interviews, promotional appearances or tell-all glimpses of her private life on social media. On the contrary, Beyoncé has a reputation for loving her privacy and only speaking out on her own terms, which is exactly how she broached the topic in a September cover feature for Harper’s Bazaar.
“We live in a world with few boundaries and a lot of access,” Beyoncé explained in the piece. “There are so many internet therapists, comment critics, and experts with no expertise. Our reality can be warped because it’s based on a personalized 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.”
And she exercises that ability like only a person with one-name fame can do.
“One day I decided I wanted to be like Sade and Prince,” she continued. “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,” Beyoncé noted, adding that the boundaries go both ways. “My family and friends often forget the side of me that is the beast in stilettos until they are watching me perform."
She wouldn't have it any other way.
"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.”
And while that’s proven true, she thinks that many people still misunderstand her need to keep things separate and reserved, believing instead that her manner is simply closed off — which couldn’t be further from the truth.
“In this business, so much of your life does not belong to you unless you fight for it,” Beyoncé clarified. “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!”