Beyoncé stuns in Gucci, adorned in a floral headdress on the cover of Vogue‘s September issue, a milestone moment for the music hit maker and the fashion magazine. This is the first time that Vogue has handed over full editorial control to their cover subject. It is also the first time that a black photographer – in this case – 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell – has shot a cover in the 126 year history of the magazine.

Beyoncé wrote, “When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African-American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first-ever Vogue cover shot by an African-American photographer.”

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In a revealing essay, Beyoncé opened up about body confidence, her heritage, legacy healing her relationship with husband, Jay-Z. On body confidence, the “Drunk In Love” singer said, “After the birth of my first child, I believed in the things society said about how my body should look. I put pressure on myself to lose all the baby weight in three months, and scheduled a small tour to assure I would do it. Looking back, that was crazy.”

After giving birth to twins, Rumi and Sir, Beyoncé took a different approach.

“I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section.”

She continued, “I needed time to heal, to recover. During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be. After six months, I started preparing for Coachella. I became vegan temporarily, gave up coffee, alcohol, and all fruit drinks. But I was patient with myself and enjoyed my fuller curves. My kids and husband did, too.”

“To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real.”

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Beyoncé also opened up about her heritage, discovering recently that her ancestor was a slave owner who fell in love with a slave and married her.

“I had to process that revelation over time. I questioned what it meant and tried to put it into perspective. I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time. I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives.”

Beyoncé also seems to have gained perspective as the years have rolled on. She appears to reference difficult times in her marriage to Jay-Z when talking about her journey.

“There are many shades on every journey. Nothing is black or white. I’ve been through hell and back, and I’m grateful for every scar. I have experienced betrayals and heartbreaks in many forms. I have had disappointments in business partnerships as well as personal ones, and they all left me feeling neglected, lost, and vulnerable.”

She concludes, “Through it all I have learned to laugh and cry and grow. I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.”

Beyoncé is currently on the U.S. leg of the OTRun II tour with Jay-Z.

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