May 2016 issue editor's letter
Award-winning artist Beyoncé stars on the cover of ELLE Malaysia's May 2016 issue
When I was 10, my parents took me and my little sister out of school for a year to go travelling around Australia in a 4WD and caravan. (A decision that both thrilled and terrified us.) Australia is a big place, and sometimes just getting from one one-horse town to another requires a six-hour drive. Then you arrive, your dad shakes his head and says, "We'll keep driving," and six becomes 16. All I had for company was an annoying little sister, an active imagination, my Walkman and Madonna. I must have listened to Like a Prayer a thousand times, until I thought I was Madonna.
Outside the car there was nothing but burning sun and baking dirt, but in my head I was on stage at Madison Square Garden, doing a choreographed routine on a conveyor belt with six male dancers. I loved the music, of course, but I loved that famous attitude even more. Madonna's persona might have changed with every new song, but her unbridled sex appeal and outspokenness were constants. Only later would I realise that sexy, outspoken women were often viewed warily. At 10, that lesson was still a long way off.
All I knew then was that Madonna was exciting. And she looked good in absolutely any hair colour – a talent I still crave to this day. On reflection, it was her undiluted-ness that I found so intoxicating. In a world where female stereotypes have all the freedom and flexibility of an iron lung, just being herself, undiluted, is the greatest statement of power a woman can make. And so the power female singers have over little girls really is something else. Besides our mothers, few women influence us as lastingly as they do. By using their voices they encourage us to use our own. For today's little girls – and for many of us big ones too – Beyoncé is that woman.
So we are thrilled to bring you Bey's first ever ELLE cover, accompanied by an interview in which she discusses everything from motherhood to pain to discovering her power. The timing fits nicely with our 'Work' issue, because who knows more about hard work than Beyoncé? Work hard, use your voice and you can't do anything but soar.