After releasing her most soul-baring album to date, Talk A Good Game, and snagging a judge’s chair on the American version of the reality competition show The X Factor, Kelly Rowland is triumphantly at the top of her game. The beautiful songstress looks radiant on the  September cover of ESSENCE, where she opens up about coming into her own, what she’s learned from the industry, her beau (who she notes is quite the cutie!) and how she finally found her own voice.

Kelly Rowland has truly come into her own. She released her most emotionally courageous album yet, “Talk A Good Game,” nabbed a spot judging on the ever-popular reality show “X-Factor” and has a slew of lucrative endorsement deals to boot. Her biggest accomplishment may be finding her own strength, and she opens up about that journey in the cover story of the September 2013 issue of Essence Magazine.

The notoriously private star shares how she gained the courage to open up about her most private feelings and experiences on the much talked about record “Dirty Laundry,” saying she was initially anxious to go there “’cause I didn’t want anybody to judge me. But now I don’t care. Judge me if you want to. And as a matter of fact, it won’t even count, ‘cause the only person who can judge is God.”

She also explains lyrics about her relationship with Beyonce, saying: “for a long time I wasn’t happy, but that had nothing to do with Beyoncé. That had to do with me trying to get my life in order and make better decisions for myself. I’m seeing all these wonderful things happen for her and I am happy for her. But I want a path. I want things to pop off for me, too. Not on her level but whatever my level is supposed to be.”

It’s clear Kelly has done a lot of growing and healing, an achievement she credits in part to boxing. “I see the beauty in boxing,” she told Essence. “It teaches me strength, physically but mostly mentally. I had to learn my strength, because for so long I could have been tougher than I was.”

On the cover, she shows off her toned physique in a beaded gown and vest with a high bun, dark lipstick and a radiant smile. That smile may have something to do with her new beau, who she talks about in the article and is “a cutie” according to Essence. The issue hits newsstands on August 9th. Will you pick it up?



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