“I’m from the South, we hug,” Ciara says as soon as I enter the room. Though she’s sold millions of records around the globe, partnered with brands like Adidas and Revlon, hung out with the Obamas, and married one of the best pro football players in the game, she moves in for an embrace before we sit down to talk.
Sitting across from the 32-year-old star, it would be easy to forget about her catalog of hits and think Ciara is just a regular, degular woman from Atlanta (she’s that laid back). But the singer who had us all hitting our “1, 2 Step” over a decade ago has grown into a badass businesswoman, wife, and mother of two, who works hard to have it all.
While music is Cici’s first love, her family takes precedence these days. As she gears up for Mother’s Day, she’s feeling sentimental about being a mom. Last year, her husband, Russell Wilson, surprised her with a trip to Gozzer Ranch in Idaho to celebrate. This time around she’s looking forward to spending quiet time with those who matter most.
“When you have two kids it’s double the love. With Russ, Future, and Sienna, I have an abundance of love, so it just feels really good,” she tells ESSENCE. “As an entertainer when you’re just going and going, and with business when you’re really driven, when you have days like Mother’s Day you take the moment to put all of that to the side and really be normal and embrace that special part of life.”
Though she leaves the planning to her hubby (“He’s a great planner,” she confesses), Ciara has taken her own approach to motherhood. “Being a mom is not about doing what everybody else does,” she explains. “You might take some inspiration and advice, but it’s really about designing your own game plan.”
Ciara’s plan includes working on new music, giving back to the community, and partnering with brands who align with her values. Back in March, she signed on to promote PANDORA’s Shine collection, and just in time for Mother’s Day, she worked with the jeweler again.
“What I love about PANDORA is that they’re really about celebrating us women and empowering us and encouraging us to let our light shine,” she says, noting one of her favorite pieces is a rose gold pacifier charm that “reminds you of your kids [and] kinda feels like you have a piece of them with you.”
In addition to supporting women, Ciara said she loves working with PANDORA because “the jewelry is affordable and you can still feel and look luxurious at the same time.”
Feeling confident is one thing Ciara hopes every woman will attain. After gaining 65 pounds during her most recent pregnancy she documented her journey to get her pre-baby body back. While some celebs don’t let fans see what it really takes to “snap back,” Ciara posted workout pics and shared her weight updates. Though she claims she’s still holding on to a few of those pounds (we certainly can’t tell), it’s still all good because “I think my husband likes them,” she says with a grin.
Since bursting on the scene in 2004, Ciara’s infectious personality, commitment to community service, and her ability to bounce back from a heartbreaking relationship to love again has made her a role model for other moms whose previous relationships haven’t turned out as planned. After calling off her engagement to rapper Future, the father of her son, she married Wilson in a fairytale ceremony in 2016.
Before meeting Wilson, Ciara said she wrote down exactly what she wanted in a mate. “I’m a big believer in writing down what you want in general. I’m a believer in seeing it, speaking it, and writing it down,” she explains. “There’s something about the power of the tongue and the mind and you’re actually affirming it by writing it down.”
While many have tagged the couple as #RelationshipGoals, Ciara says her bond with Wilson only happened because she did the necessary work to love herself first.
“I took a moment to pause and to really reflect on the journey and where I was at that moment of even looking at love again,” she says. “I think that it’s really important for [women] to know exactly what we want and be clear about it and also be patient.
“I didn’t know I was going to meet my husband when I did, and that was really a blessing and I believe it was God’s timing,” she adds. “But I was patient and was willing to be still for as long as I needed to have the best partner I could have in my life.”