The Oprah Interview with Beyoncé: The Woman Behind the Image

The Oprah Interview with Beyoncé: The Woman Behind the Image
The happy couple.

This morning I was reading about the new HBO documentary about Beyoncé: “Life Is But a Dream.” Famous as she is, Beyoncé has managed to stay pretty quiet about her personal life but has now chosen to share some of it via this new documentary. I was intrigued. Seriously, who doesn’t love Beyoncé, but we really just see the performing Beyoncé and not the woman underneath.

Sadly, we do not have HBO at our house. But wait- we have the OWN network, and Oprah was interviewing Beyoncé for a special to air just before the scheduled time of the documentary. It was the best I could do.

I’ve honestly not spent a lot of time pondering Beyoncé. Sure, I’ve included many of her songs on workout playlists during sporadic stabs at fitness, and how could you not love her during the Super Bowl performance? But as far as Beyoncé herself goes, I went into the Oprah interview a rather blank slate. My conclusion: Beyoncé is a regular person, which I know sounds crazy, but she really doesn’t seem to have a huge ego; she’s soft spoken and has insecurities just like we all do. She’s in the process of discovering who she is (as Oprah wishes we all would). I came away thinking that Beyoncé and I could definitely be friends, so I’ll be sending her a friend request on Facebook to kick that off.

Before I recap the high points of the interview, let me set the stage. Oprah was resplendent in bright purple, the color of royalty, befitting Queen O. Meanwhile, B was more understated in a t-shirt and jacket. The interview supposedly took place just hours before the premier of the HBO special, so Beyoncé was a bit nervous about it, but she was contemplative as well. Here are the interesting tidbits that Oprah was able to coax out of her.

Super Bowl:

Oprah opened the interview by asking Beyoncé if she caused the power outage at the Super Bowl. LOL, Oprah! B acknowledged that she can’t remember too much about the performance because she was on auto pilot, but she does remember connecting with her fans while singing “Halo.” She and her family and friends went out for a big celebratory dinner after the show, and she even shared a drink with her mom, who doesn’t drink. Wow! Oprah’s synopsis of Beyoncé’s halftime performance: “You met the moment.”

Her Parents:

Beyoncé mentioned several times how close she is with her mom and how she hopes she has as close a relationship with her own daughter. Oprah asked her how she knows who she is when she’s in the “prism of fame”, and she said she’s always been pretty grounded because of her mother and the foundation she helped her build. Things are a bit rockier on the subject of her father, who she fired as her manager in 2011 after 20 years. Apparently during the documentary she intimates her angst about the impact that business move had on their relationship, even though she contended to Oprah that she and her father had both known for years that it was time to move on. Oprah made a profound comparison to the parenting she does of her “college aged girls in South Africa” (not literal, I’m assuming) in that at some point a parent becomes less a manager and more a consultant. Okay, Oprah, not sure how helpful that was to Beyoncé.


Every woman says that becoming a mother changes them, but Beyoncé was actually able to articulate why a bit. She said that she has been working on documenting her life for years, but she didn’t put it out because her story did not feel complete (although she did not know why) until she became a mother and now she has her story to tell. As far as expanding the family, she definitely wants another child, but her work is very important to her, so maybe after this next tour she’ll have another. She shared that she gained 57 pounds during her pregnancy (so she is human after all) and performed just three months after giving birth, wanting to see how she felt about it. I liked that she was open about how important her work is to her. I was surprised to hear her say that she actually likes touring because she can do what she loves for a couple hours a day and spend the rest of her time seeing different cities and spending time with her daughter. She makes me want to switch careers to “biggest star in the world on tour.”

The documentary:

While Oprah could hardly fathom why someone would hesitate to put themselves on screen, either big or small, she indulged Beyoncé by probing why she decided to make this documentary. She said she thought it was time for her to share her story and connect with people, even if they aren’t fans of her music, because she believes she has an inspiring story. My take away, which I’m guessing is even stronger after watching the documentary, is that Beyoncé really isn’t that different from many women, which is part of what she’s trying to convey. She said that because she’s famous people think she has a gifted life, but she is gets her feelings hurt and gets scared just like everyone does.

Of course Oprah closed the interview with a Maya Angelou quote that actually made me tear up (which, in turn, made me annoyed at Oprah) and prompted a hug from Beyoncé. Mission accomplished: I now want to watch the documentary and I’ve been converted from being a fan of Beyoncé’s music to being a fan of Beyoncé herself. Rock on, Mama!

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