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    Beyoncé Got Real About The Sacrifices She Made To Build A Successful Career, And Pressure She Felt To Avoid Failure As A Young Black Woman

    "I felt the pressure from the outside and their eyes watching for me to trip or fail."

    To call Beyoncé a legend is, at this point, essentially a statement of fact.

    Beyoncé accepts an award for Best R&B Performance at the Grammy Awards in 2021
    Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

    The musician, actor, director, producer, and businesswoman has achieved so much over the course of a career spanning multiple decades — from iconic albums to prestigious awards, and too many pop cultural moments to keep track of without an itemized list.

    Beyoncé performs onstage at the City of Hope Spirit of Life Gala in Santa Monica, California, in 2018
    Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for City of Hope

    In 2020, she appeared on TIME's list of 100 women who defined the last century.

    Becoming one of our era's most influential people required years of concentrated effort and dedication, and Beyoncé reflected on the sacrifices she made while pursuing her dreams, especially as an adolescent, in a new interview for Harper's Bazaar's September cover issue.

    Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams perform onstage as Destiny's Child in 2000
    Jo Hale / Redferns via Getty Images

    Here's Beyoncé performing alongside Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, as Destiny's Child, in 2000. Beyoncé was still a teenager at the time.

    "My teenage years were about the grind," she recalled during the interview, citing a scripture passage — "Faith without work is dead" — that motivated her.

    Beyoncé is photographed for the cover of Harper's Bazaar's September 2021 issue
    Campbell Addy for Harper's Bazaar, Styling by Samira Nasr and Marni Senofonte / Via harpersbazaar.com

    "Vision and intention weren't enough; I had to put in the work," Beyoncé said. "I committed to always being a student and always being open to growth...My energy went into Destiny's Child and the dream of us getting a record deal and becoming musicians. If something wasn't helping me reach my goal, I decided to invest no time in it."

    Michelle Williams, Beyoncé Knowles, and Kelly Rowland are photographed as Destiny's Child at an event in 2001
    Rob Verhorst / Redferns via Getty Images

    While she understood that realizing her goals demanded total focus, Beyoncé explained that she felt additional pressure to succeed as a Black woman in music. "I didn't feel like I had time to 'kiki' or hang out. I sacrificed a lot of things and ran from any possible distraction," she said. "I felt as a young Black woman that I couldn't mess up. I felt the pressure from the outside and their eyes watching for me to trip or fail."

    Beyoncé claps onstage during the world premiere of Disney's The Lion King in Los Angeles in 2019
    Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney

    "I couldn't let my family down after all the sacrifices they made for me and the girls," she added. "That meant I was the most careful, professional teenager and I grew up fast. I wanted to break all of the stereotypes of the Black superstar, whether falling victim to drugs or alcohol or the absurd misconception that Black women were angry. I knew I was given this amazing opportunity and felt like I had one shot. I refused to mess it up, but I had to give up a lot."

    Being a young woman in the spotlight was challenging for numerous reasons, but Beyoncé took criticism in stride. Recounting the body-shaming she experienced at the beginning of her career, Beyoncé said, "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."

    Beyoncé is photographed at the European premiere of Disney's The Lion King in 2019
    Ian West - Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

    "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,'" she continued, referencing the timeless Destiny's Child hit. "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."

    Beyoncé is photographed for the cover of Harper's Bazaar's September 2021 issue
    Campbell Addy for Harper's Bazaar, Styling by Samira Nasr and Marni Senofonte / Via harpersbazaar.com

    She also touched on her approach to social media, which followers know generally favors privacy. "We live in a world with few boundaries and a lot of access," Beyoncé told Harper's Bazaar. "There are so many internet therapists, comment critics, and experts with no expertise."

    You can read Beyoncé's full Harper's Bazaar interview here.

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