This article is in partnership with Ulta Beauty.
Now more than ever, self-care is proving to be the essence of a life well-lived. As Black women, we often forget how vital it is to take the time to pour into ourselves in order to move through the world in the true power of our highest selves. While practices like meditation and lighting a candle are excellent ways for us to maintain our peace, it is equally important to find ways to radically practice self-care through acts of pampering and indulgence. What better way to indulge than to give your beauty and skincare routine a revamp. Enter, Ulta Beauty's 21 Days Of Beauty that is bringing us all the self-care energy we deserve!
From August 30 through September 19, the name of the game is self-care and Ulta Beauty has us covered with a lineup of daily Beauty Steals®. With their famed bi-annual event, daily Beauty Steals are Ulta Beauty's way of allowing beauty lovers to try new products that might have always been on their wish list at a fraction of the price (hello, bad and boujee on a budget). There's nothing like the therapeutic act of applying a new winged eyeliner or a rejuvenating face mask can have you feeling bomb while looking bomb.
Given our current life and times, it's the exact kind of pampering our days are calling for. Thankfully, Ulta Beauty is also providing us with a plethora of ways to shop. We can do so in store, online, in the app, or even curbside pickup. Keep in mind that highlighted beauty steals are only valid for a 24-hour window on the designated days. Are your carts ready? Let's get it!
Check out everything new and covet-worthy from Ulta Beauty's 21 Days Of Beauty event below:
Week 1 Beauty Steals
Day 1: Sunday, August 30
Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brow Pencil
The Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brow Pencil is the definition of the mantra "my brow, but better" and is key to a defined brow. As a fan fave, this brow pencil is ideal for giving sparse brows the ultimate assist with a custom goof-proof tip and a smudge-resistant formula. As a beauty steal, the brow pencil is 50% off at a sale price of $12.
Foreo Luna Mini 2
High-tech meets skincare with the Foreo Luna Mini 2. This device offers a gentle cleanse which is great for those with a sensitive skin type. However, the beauty steal doesn't sacrifice effectiveness, as it emits 8,000 pulsations per minute for a truly deep clean. And for a sale price of $59.50, our pores are already singing its praises.
Day 2: Monday, August 31
Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
Do you have trouble with dark spots or hyperpigmentation? Get you an acid, sis! The Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser acts as a chemical exfoliant, gently exfoliating the surface of the skin to reveal brighter, more even-toned skin over time. In addition to consisting of a trio of acids (salicylic, lactic and glycolic) to help with skin tone and texture, the intensive triple-action cleanser also includes Jojoba skin-polishing beads to deeply clean pores while smoothing away dry and dull skin. New complexion, who dis?
Murad Essential-C Cleanser
The Murad Essential C-Cleanser is an antioxidant-rich cleanser that consists of a vitamin-rich formula that rehydrates your skin with the moisture it didn't know it needed. Even while inside of the house, thanks to social distancing season, your skin can be impacted by its fair share of impurities, and let's not get started on the dreaded 'maskne' some of us have become susceptible to. This 50% off beauty steal also helps to protect skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays and free-radical damage while replenishing dry skin with the moisture it craves.
Day 3: Tuesday, September 1
bareMinerals Mineral Veil
Looking for a more airbrushed finish to your go-to makeup look of choice? Well, this finishing powder is the beauty steal every makeup aficionado should have in their arsenal. The bareMinerals Mineral Veil is a special blend of minerals that help absorb any excess oil daring to infringe upon the perfect face beat. In its wake, it makes for a soft focus finish that's the matte finish most of us live for.
Mario Badescu Combo/Oily Regimen Kit
Mario Badescu Brightening Regimen Kit
A first-time steal to the 21 Days Of Beauty line-up, Mario Badescu Regimen Kits are no stranger to the list of Ulta Beauty fan favorites. The regimen kits address a variety of skin concerns, from combo/oily to brightening. The Mario Badescu Brightening Regimen Kit contains products like the Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, the Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion, the Vitamin C Serum, and the Whitening Mask. The Mario Badescu Combo/Oily Regimen Kit contains products like the Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Cucumber Cleansing Lotion, Aloe Moisturizer, and the Flower & Tonic Mask.
Day 4: Wednesday, September 2
SeroVital HGH Dietary Supplement
SeroVital HGH Dietary Supplement helps boost the body's ability to naturally produce the human growth hormone, otherwise known as hGH. For those of us over the age of 25, we might want to get in formation and incorporate this in our routine. In addition to helping reduce wrinkles, the human growth hormone is associated with increasing your energy, improving mood and sleep, boosting your mental acuity, and decreasing body fat. SeroVital helps with checking off the boxes of all of the above. So yes, you need this.
Day 5: Thursday, September 3
Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder
This product is the truth when it comes to prolonging your makeup look. Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder is known to do exactly that: last all night. With its matte finish, the setting powder is celebrated for being able to prevent shine from oil, give the skin a smooth look, and extend the life of your foundation for up to 11 hours, no reapplying needed. Let's just say, we're sold.
Day 6: Friday, September 4
Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara
Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara is a fan fave because it gives you enviable lashes for days. Emphasis on 'days'. As a long-lasting, intensely black pigmented mascara, 'big' proves to definitely be in. With one swipe, the ultra-creamy Lancome Monsieur pumps up the volume times 12, providing your eyelashes with a 'falsies' look with the glue or faux lashes. Plus, the waterproof, smudge-proof formula also comes with 24-hour staying power. Need we say more?
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Serum
Get your skin on wet-wet with Peter Thomas Water Drench Cloud Serum. It's the serum among serums. This product contains 75% Hyaluronic Acid Complex which allows it to act as a potent hydrator, with the equivalent of a liquid cloud filled with moisture. This product will provide your skin with long-lasting hydration with staying power of up to 72 hours.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Toner Mist
Just like its companion product, the Cloud Serum, Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Toner Mist is the skin refresher you've been looking for. It rejuvenates the skin while offering an instant refresher, thanks to its Hyaluronic Acid Complex. The Toner Mist clarifies, hydrates, and moisturizes the skin, creating a more youthful, poreless complexion.
Day 7: Saturday, September 5
Tarte Shape Tape Glow Wand
The Tarte Shape Tape Glow Wand is a liquid brightener that helps you create the appearance of an eye lift without a single nip, tuck, or filler. And it does so with a soft-focus finish. Formulated with a proprietary diamond complex that provides the product with its extra oomph, this first-time beauty steal also has the added bonus of being vegan, baby.
Tula Brighten Up Smoothing Primer Gel
It's prime time that you stocked up on this primer. The Tula Brighten Up Smoothing Primer Gel is a silicone-free, yuzu-packed priming gel that brightens the skin and binds to your makeup without clogging your pores. It does this while giving your skin a burst of a cooling, refreshed sensation.
Week 2 Beauty Steals
Day 8: Sunday, September 6
Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation is a first-time steal during the 21 Days Of Beauty event. This foundation formula is lightweight, offers medium coverage, and has a shade range of over 50 shades -- hello, melanin! Anastasia might be known for her coveted brow pencil and pomade, but her Luminous Foundation is truly one to be coveted by any beauty-lover.
Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+
Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ is a multi-tasking skincare collection dedicated to promoting healthier, more youthful-looking skin. The collection consists of an array of skincare treatments targeting the face, neck, eyes, and chest. The powerhouse products have the capability of meeting your unique skincare needs as well as addressing concerns like fine lines and uneven texture.
Day 9: Monday, September 7
Too Faced Natural Palettes
Who said natural had to be boring? Too Faced Natural Palettes is shedding a new light to the richness of a good nude. Understated but never dull, these rich and pigmented face and eye palettes allow you to stunt and emphasize the warmth of your melanin.
Dermablend Loose Setting Powders
These setting powders are a weightless, translucent powder that is the perfect punctuation to any makeup look. Formulated to lock in concealer and foundation flawlessly, Dermablend Loose Setting Powders have staying power for a total of up to 16 hours. The finish is flawless, smudge-proof, and transfer-resistant. No touch-ups necessary.
Day 10: Tuesday, September 8
Select Faux-Mink Lashes
A dope pair of lashes can provide quite the boost when it comes to looking and feeling good. And today only, Ulta Beauty is giving you a few reasons to bat your lashes. From Lilly Lashes and House of Lashes to Blinking Beaute and Velour Lashes, Ulta Beauty is offering a wide array of faux lashes that add length and volume for 50% off.
Day 11: Wednesday, September 9
When it comes to perfecting makeup looks, in order to create your best look, you need to start with a proper canvas. The smoother your skin looks and feels, the better. BECCA Primers are a great way to help mimic those circumstances for your best FOTD yet. The vegan primers that can be used to mattify the skin and blur the appearance of pores all while helping your makeup to last all day.
Day 12: Thursday, September 10
IT Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream
Looking to diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles under the eyes? IT Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream might be the slice of skincare heaven you've been looking for. The product caters to the most delicate skin on the face with promises to rejuvenate your eyes, helping you say goodnight to tired eyes for good and giving your confidence a boost along the way.
Cover FX Monochromatic Blush & Bronzer Duos
Richly pigmented palette? Check. Consciously created product? Double-check. Cover FX Monochromatic Blush & Bronzer Duos features a pressed palette composed of both shimmer and matte shades. The lightweight talc-free product delivers a delicate but impactful pop of color in a seamless application.
Day 13: Friday, September 11
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners are an Ulta Beauty fan fave, and we know why. Their creamy, waterproof eyeliners are as foolproof as they are vibrant. In terms of application, the liners go on smooth and stay soft to blend, but when they dry, they stay put for a long-lasting finish of up to 24 hours. The liners come in 24 shades, allowing you to choose to showcase your mood across a variety of colors.
Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker SPF 30 Moisturizer
Sunscreen is one of the many ways to ensure that your black never cracks. In recent years, the old myth of black people not needing sunscreen has dissipated to make way for skincare practices that will ensure we protect ourselves from harmful environmental damage, like that of UV rays. Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker SPF 30 Moisturizer is a groundbreaking multi-rejuvenating cream that hydrates the skin while protecting it and defending it against the elements.
Day 14: Saturday, September 12
Mario Badescu Grab and Go Duo
The Mario Badescu Grab and Go Duo is an exclusive Ulta Beauty steal and also happens to be a fan favorite among consumers. The drying lotion and facial spray combo is a necessity to cop for anyone seeking to obtain or maintain clear, glowing skin on the go. Keep your breakouts at bay with this power-packed duo.
Week 3 Beauty Steals
Day 15: Sunday, September 13
Too Faced Hangover Primer
It's prime time to invest in a primer that is as replenishing as it is smoothing. And for those of us looking to level up our makeup looks while pouring into our glow game, the Too Faced Hangover Primer might be the Ulta Beauty steal of your derams. This primer is a fan favorite for a reason, as it hydrates and brightens your skin, promotes your skin's tone and elasticity, and soothes while it smooths. It manages to do all of this while making your skin the perfect canvas for your foundation. This primer will have you looking like you've been minding your business and drinking your water, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Too Faced Hangover Setting Spray
Another Ulta Beauty fan fave, Too Faced Hangover Setting Spray is a weightless three-in-one replenishing mist that sets, primes, and refreshes your makeup look. While the primer creates a healthy glowed up finish by smoothing, hydrating, and brightening the skin, the coconut-water infused mist puts in work by making sure your skin keeps its dewy appearance. Yes ma'am, we slay.
Skyn Iceland Eye Gels (4ct)
Ulta Beauty's 21 Days Of Beauty is treating us to 50% off of yet another fan fave with their inclusion of these Skyn Iceland Eye Gels. For those of us who wish to give our undereye area special treatment, these 4-ct eye gels are the perfect addition to your self-care routine. Tone and de-puff the windows to your soul with this 10-minute or less beauty practice.
Skyn Iceland Eye Gels (8ct)
Just in case you wanted to level up your beauty aresenal and self-care routine by one more level, you can choose to invest in the 8-ct version of this Ulta beauty steal. In just under 10 minutes, the Skyn Iceland eye gels tone, de-puff, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Day 16: Monday, September 14
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
If you want to make sure your eyeliner escapades are precise, look no further than Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. This waterproof liquid eyeliner glides onto the eyelid easily, dries quickly, and doesn't smudge or run. An added bonus is the fact that this quick-drying precision liner has all day staying power, lasting well over 12 hours.
Lancome Cils Booster Mascara Primer
The eyes have it, and the right mascara is key to ensuring your eyes pop whenever you get your smize on. While most people might not think a mascara primer is a necessary first step before applying your favorite mascara, Lancome Cils Booster Mascara Primer has other ideas. The vitamin-infused lash-conditioning mascara primer is an all-in-one product that primes lashes while improving its curl and thickness over time.
Day 17: Tuesday, September, 15
Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer
A first-time steal, Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer promises to help you conceal imperfections without giving you a cakey look, and let's just say our interest is piqued.It hides everything, from undereye circles to discoloration caused by scarring and hyperpigmentation. The lightweight liquid concealer is a full coverage formula that doesn't crack, settle into fine lines, or crack.
Crepe Erase Advanced Body Repair Treatment
When we talk about skincare, we often focus on our face rather than our body, but as the largest organ of the human body, your skin should be catered to everywhere, period. In order to remedy our lowkey indifference towards the skin we're in, look towards Crepe Erase Advanced Body Repair Treatment for an assist. This Ulta Beauty steal improves tone, texture, and elasticity of the skin.
Day 18: Wednesday, September 16
Smashbox Primers are the GOAT when it comes to oil and shine control. The transformative gel-to-powder formulas are all lightweight and mattifying, taking your FOTD to all new heights. At the same time, it helps facilitate a vitamin glow to your skin without making you look greasy. The formula both refreshes and awakens the skin while preserving your makeup looks.
Exuviance Performance Peel AP25
The Exuviance Performance Peel AP25 helps to refine pore size and smooth the skin's texture by exfoliating dull and dead skin at the surface level to unveil healthier skin underneath. Packed with its 25% blend of AHAs and PHA, this product is an absolute must in anyone who desires a flawless complexion. Perfect for all skin types, over time with consistent use, your texture will be smoother with a more refined texture.
Day 19: Thursday, September 17
Tarte Lights-Camera-Lashes Mascara
Tarte Lights-Camera-Lashes Mascara is a four-in-one mascara that is regarded as a cult classic in its industry for a decade. Thanks to ingredients like Olive Esters and Rice Bran Wax, this vegan mascara is a nourishing formula that provides length and volume for days to your lashes with the flick of a wrist. With Tarte Lights-Camera-Lashes, every lash gets catered to and every curl defined with the help of its 360-degree magniLASH wand.
Dermalogica Calm Water Gel Moisturizer
Do you have dry, sensitive skin? This moisturizer is the thing your skincare dreams are made of. Dermalogica Calm Water Gel Moisturizer is a weightless moisturizer that hydrates without clogging your pores or irritating your skin. The refreshing gel formula goes onto the skin in liquid form for skin-quenching results.
Day 20: Friday, September 18
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Starter Kits
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Starter Kits is a limited-time kit that includes a mini brow wiz, a mini definer, a mini clear brow gel, and a mini dip brow gel. The kits come in four shades, including Medium Brown, Dark Brown, and Dark Ebony. This exclusive first-time steal proves once again why the Anastasia Beverly Hills brand has become synonymous with the perfect brow.
Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour Hydrator (1 oz)
Alexa, play "Nonstop" by Drake. This song is appropriate for all that Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour Hydrator can achieve. The hydrating gel-cream moisturizer provides a moisture boost and is packed with hydration so it can elevate the glow of even the dullest skin. This moisturizer stays moisturizing your skin for up to 72 hours without the need to reapply. And it does so nonstop.
Day 21: Saturday, September 19
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation is a full coverage moisturizing foundation that is formulated to improve the look of the skin while also addressing the need to practice effective skincare. Wearing makeup doesn't mean you ignore the importance of taking care of your skin underneath. This foundation gets that. From redness and pores, to breakouts and dark spots, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation quite literally has you covered.
IT Brushes For ULTA Full Coverage Complexion Brush #77
You've got your canvas all the way together, but what about your paintbrush? You are an artist after all. IT Brushes for ULTA Full Coverage Complexion Brush #77 has your back, sis. The exclusive Ulta Beauty steal has a unique triangle shape that contours to the face for a smooth and even application. Your makeup finds couldn't have asked for a better complement.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
Keke Palmer Opens Up About Her Sexuality & Never Feeling "Straight Enough" Or "Gay Enough"
Over the years, Keke Palmer has solidified herself as a prominent voice of her generation who doesn’t shy away from speaking her truth. Now, the 29-year-old actress is peeling back the layers and opening up about her sexuality and gender identity.
According to Variety, the Nopestar was presented the Vanguard Award at the LGBT Center’s The Gala in Los Angeles, where she took time to reflect on her own identity journey.
“Sexuality and identity for me has always been confusing,” Keke shared during her acceptance speech. “I never felt straight enough. I never felt gay enough. And I never felt woman enough. I never felt man enough. You know, I always felt like I was a little bit of everything.”
KeKe recalls that she’d often “lead with masculinity” and how that complicated her perspective on the power within herself. “And as a woman, I’ve always been met with so much disdain, you know what I mean? I think so much of that came from who I thought I had to be to get respect, admiration, and love,” she says. “And I’ve always really wanted to be like my father…to want to be taken seriously and not diminish because I was a woman. You know, that’s always been a source of — I guess you would say — pain and resentment.”
Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center
The moment of reflection brought on an emotional response from the Nickelodeon alum. “Why did my gender have to define the power I have in the world? And why does my gender get to decide my sexuality?” she asked.
“You know, since I was younger, I always questioned the boxes I was forced to be in and it starts with who you’re supposed to be as a child. You’re supposed to be as a Black person or whatever the background you are from… Then those walls just try to cave you in from every damn angle, who you are as a creative, who you are as a friend.”
She concluded the thoughtful speech by noting her gratitude for being accepted by the LGBTQ+ community as an ally for which she was honored for. “I’m truly so grateful to be seen in this room because I know I’m surrounded by people who know without a doubt what it’s like to decide to be who you are in a world that tells you to be everything but yourself.”
Keke’s Vanguard Award is the perfect illustration of why allyship and activism go hand-in-hand. With voices like Keke’s sharing her truth about self-discovery in sexuality and gender identity, it, in turn, inspires others to do the same.
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Featured image by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center