Alicia Keys decision to go “sans make-up” in the music industry has made her feel, “the strongest, most empowered and most beautiful that [she’s] ever felt,” she says. Covering ELLE UK magazine for the first time since ditching mascara and foundation, the 35-year-old serves as this year’s feminist figurehead. Which has given her the platform to acknowledge that going make up free has allowed her to not be pressured by the stereotypes of how a woman must look in the industry.
“Yes, I am a feminist,” she told the magazine. “And whoever isn’t is crazy… It’s about owning your power, embracing your womanhood.”
But just as easy as it has been for her to embrace the change, she has also laughed off the fact that her make up free journey is something of a “crusade”.
“It took me forever to get this skin,” she said. “I mean, I know how it feels to have a face full of bumps and pimples. I lived through that in the public eye.”
“Some have called this a crusade,” she continued. “Well, I died laughing at that. I used to feel the pressure to appear as the music industry expected, but I don’t know.”
The 15-time Grammy Award winner took her first stance when she shot the cover of her album Here without clothes or cosmetics. Which led to an essay for Lenny’s Letters, where she wrote: “I hope to God it’s a revolution. Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
She was then open to talk about the blended family she has created, with musician and producer husband Swizz Beats, 38. Alicia and Swizz have two sons but she is also a stepmother to his two sons and one daughter. “There is no one way, no perfect way [to be a family]. Each way is different with beautiful scope to be something good. That is life. Our eldest son is 16 and it’s really cool to be in his life as an adult figure who is not his mum, and he gives me a prelude to what is coming with my children.”
But Alicia also had some great things to say about her husband, who was previously married to recording artist Mashonda. ‘He is an electric current,’ Alicia said. ‘There is not a soul who has met him who hasn’t fallen in love with him.’
Pre – Order the December issue of ELLE UK to get the full interview with Alicia Keys.