ESSENCE’s September 2013 cover star used to be nervous about sharing her real feelings “’cause I didn’t want anybody to judge me. But now I don’t care,” she says. “Judge me if you want to. And as a matter of fact, it won’t even count, ‘cause the only person who can judge is God.”
In the revealing interview, Rowland, 32, explains the meaning behind those much-discussed references to Bey on “Dirty Laundry,” the lead single from her fourth solo album Talk a Good Game. “For a long time I wasn’t happy, but that had nothing to do with Beyoncé,” Rowland says. “That had to do with me trying to get my life in order and make better decisions for myself. I’m seeing all these wonderful things happen for her and I am happy for her. But I want a path. I want things to pop off for me, too. Not on her level but whatever my level is supposed to be.”
Finding her strength — literally — has been key to blazing new trails, the X-Factor judge tells ESSENCE. Through workouts with trainer Jeanette Jenkins and sparring sessions with former boxer Martin Snow, she’s finding her power. “I see the beauty in boxing,” she says. “It teaches me strength, physically but mostly mentally. I had to learn my strength, because for so long I could have been tougher than I was.”
For more straight talk with Kelly Rowland, including her revelations about her estranged father, her romantic relationship and her hopes for the future, pick up the September 2013 issue of ESSENCE, on stands August 9.