Life holds many lessons. And in between the tests, there comes a knowing, a quiet awareness of what’s required to move to the next phase, the next level, the place where the blessings start to flow. Ciara has been there.
“You know that saying ‘When we make plans, God laughs’?” she asks. “Well, that’s a real thing, and God has been good.”
In the three years and handful of months since her first ESSENCE cover story, so much has changed for the 33-year-old Grammy winner.
Back in May 2016, when she posed for us with Future Zahir, her son with Atlanta rapper Future, she was gearing up to say “I do” to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. A year later the Wilson party of three became four with the arrival of a daughter, Sienna Princess (mother and daughter share a middle name).
These changes have been good for Ciara. You can see it in her smile, sense it from her glow and even hear it in her infectious hit “Level Up”—the video garnered more than 178 million YouTube views and sparked an international dance challenge. Her still-unfolding journey is proof that everything “ultimately works itself out, if you believe.”
Perspective and patience have also guided her. “The biggest thing for me has been understanding how important patience is,” says the military baby from Decatur, Georgia, who, at 18, first tasted success with her chart-topping debut single, “Goodies.” Since then there have been more hits than misses and a messy public split and ensuing custody battle with Future.
“My faith has carried me through every challenge and triumph,” she reflects. “When I was younger and wanting things to happen when I wanted them to happen, I could never have imagined that 15 years later I’d be having the time of my life.”
Aside from her family, the joy she’s experiencing comes with owning her destiny. In June she completed a four-day course at the Harvard Business School. Last February she launched Beauty Marks Entertainment, which serves as the hub for her recording and creative endeavors (it released her current album, Beauty Marks). As for her own personal marks of beauty, there’s one on the left side of her chin. Then there are the beauty marks she’s earned.
“I gained 60 pounds with my first one and 65 with my second,” she says of her pregnancies. “My other beauty marks are my stretch marks from having my babies.”
So what’s the next level for her these days? Ciara laughs at the question, but she’s got an answer. “I’m trying to keep getting better, make health-conscious decisions and be the best mom and wife I can be,” she says. “No matter how much success you have, I believe there’s always an opportunity to grow and learn something new. And I’m keeping my sexy up too.” Duly noted.
Regina R. Robertson (@reginarobertson) is ESSENCE’s West Coast editor and author of He Never Came Home.
Photography – Itaysha Jordan (@itayshaphoto)
Styling – Marielle Bobo (@mariellebobo)
Hair – César DeLeön Ramirêz (@cesar4styles) for Wildform/Crowd MGMT.
Makeup – Yolonda Frederick-Thompson (@yolondafrederic) for Glam.Or.Ring/Crowd MGMT.
Manicure – Mimi D (@nailsbymimi)/Celestine Agency.
Set design – John Geary (@johngearystudio)/Celestine Agency.