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,