Beyoncé Knowles is looking seriously sexy on Out magazine's May cover, her first since dropping that earth-shattering surprise album back in December. Beyoncé goes topless in the issue and channels Marilyn Monroe in a short blond wig and layers of diamond necklaces. In the accompanying interview — which Beyoncé conducted by email while on her international tour — the superstar got candid about everything from putting together that now-famous visual album to feeling "sexually liberated" by her recent projects. She also revealed that she had a sinus infection while recording one of her singles! Keep reading for more from Beyoncé's interview in Out magazine:
- On the Beyoncé album being one of her most sexually liberating projects: "I'd like to believe that my music opened up that conversation. There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality."
- On the backlash she received from her more sexually charged tracks, like "Blow" and "Partition": "There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free, and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist — whatever you want to be — and still be a sexual being. It's not mutually exclusive."
- On the rawness of her voice in the song "XO": "When I recorded "XO," I was sick with a bad sinus infection. I recorded it in a few minutes just as a demo and decided to keep the vocals. I really loved the imperfections."
- On her thought process and worries: "Discipline, patience, control, truth, risk, and effortlessness were all things I thought about while I was putting this album together. I was recording, shooting videos, and performing on the tour every night, all at the same time. At some point, I felt like, What am I doing? Is this too ambitious? Even the day the record was to be released, I was scared to death. But I also knew if I was that scared, something big was about to happen."
- On shooting the video for "Drunk in Love" with her husband, Jay Z: "We were in Miami for Jay's concert, and it was just the two of us, on the beach, amazing weather, and one outfit! It's beautiful in its simplicity. If you want something to feel real and urgent, you can't overthink it."
- On the numerous groups, including the LGBT community, that identify with her song lyrics: "While I am definitely conscious of all the different types of people who listen to my music, I really set out to make the most personal, honest, and best album I could make. I needed to free myself from the pressures and expectations of what I thought I should say or be, and just speak from the heart. Being that I am a woman in a male-dominated society, the feminist mentality rang true to me and became a way to personalize that struggle. . . . But what I'm really referring to, and hoping for, is human rights and equality, not just that between a woman and a man. So I'm very happy if my words can ever inspire or empower someone who considers themselves an oppressed minority. . . . We are all the same, and we all want the same things: the right to be happy, to be just who we want to be, and to love who we want to love."