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Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - COVER STAR -

hen Ciara ar­rives at the Hol­ly­wood Roo­sevelt ho­tel for our cover shoot, a sense of calm set­tles over the room. In the few days leading up to the shoot, we’ve been scout­ing out lo­ca­tions in the ho­tel to take pho­tos, spent more hours stuck in traf­fic than any hu­man should ever have to (miss­ing very im­por­tant meet­ings), and learnt – the hard way – that drone pho­tog­ra­phy isn’t per­mit­ted by law in LA. (Who knew?)

Then Ciara walks into the room, an al­most-ethe­real air about her, and our faith is re­stored. Or per­haps we’re just stunned by how damn beau­ti­ful she is. We can’t be sure which. Ei­ther way, she’s much more cheery than should be ex­pected from any­one at 7.30am, and cer­tainly more than should ever be ex­pected of some­one who hap­pens to be car­ry­ing a whole other per­son. (At the time of go­ing to print, Ciara was ex­pect­ing her sec­ond child, though the due date was a closely guarded se­cret.)

‘Let’s do this,’ the star says as her makeup artist and best friend Yolonda (who flew in for the shoot from Ciara’s home town of At­lanta) gets to work.

For the only child of mil­i­tary par­ents, who grew up mov­ing from town to town be­fore fi­nally set­tling in At­lanta, you’ve got to won­der if the 31-year-old some­times takes a look at what her life has be­come and gets the urge to pinch her­self.

‘I def­i­nitely have mo­ments when I’m just so amazed at my jour­ney,’ she says. ‘I’ve re­ally been able to achieve my dreams – not all of them, but many. The jour­ney has been in­cred­i­ble, and I’m def­i­nitely grate­ful.’

For Ciara, the dream to be a per­former was con­ceived early on. ‘I’ve al­ways loved mu­sic and I’ve al­ways loved dance,’ she says. ‘The first time I saw Michael Jackson on a TV screen, I thought, “Per­haps some­day I could be some­thing like that”.’

It didn’t take long. Ciara was just 17 when she met mu­sic pro­ducer Jazze Pha; she was signed to LaFace Records a few weeks later. Two years af­ter that, she re­leased her de­but al­bum Good­ies, which was cer­ti­fied triple plat­inum and bagged her two Grammy nom­i­na­tions in 2006. And with that, Ciara (who made the call to be known only by her first name and rarely by her full name of Ciara Princess Har­ris), hit the big time.

Fast-for­ward to to­day and Ciara has been named as a global brand am­bas­sador for cos­met­ics gi­ant Revlon. Let’s be hon­est – that’s a pretty big deal. ‘My name ac­tu­ally came from a fra­grance by Revlon,’ she says of the ‘Ciara’ per­fume her dad pur­chased from the store at the mil­i­tary base where they lived, and gifted to her mom while she was preg­nant. ‘As an artist and an en­ter­tainer and a woman, this means so much to me. It mo­ti­vates me and re­minds me that dreams re­ally do come true. And if I ever have a daugh­ter, I’ll be able to share this with her. It’s pretty awe­some!’

While much has been said – and cel­e­brated – about the fact that Ciara is one of the few AfricanAmer­i­can women to front a global cos­met­ics brand,

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