Singer and entrepreneur Ciara is the embodiment of how pure love from one's family can positively impact their self-image, especially when it comes to one's physical appearance.
The 37-year-old, who has been a part of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades, recently shared during an interview with Yahoo Life how her husband of almost seven years, Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and their blended family of three children helped her love her body, regardless of its state.
In the discussion, Ciara revealed that her self-confidence in her body wavered early, like everyone else, because of the societal standards of beauty and the pressure of trying to fit in with others.
The "Level Up" vocalist added that her career in the music industry and the training she had to endure as an up-and-coming artist also played a part in her wanting to be the perfect physical representation. In 2004, Ciara first rose to fame when she released her track "Goodies" featuring Petey Pablo.
Ciara On Why She Started Taking Her Physical Health More Seriously
During that process, the "For Da Girls" songstress explained the training increased her dancing abilities and helped her understand the importance of taking care of herself by incorporating physical exercise into her daily routine.
"Movement for me is a big part of how I communicate, how I release and definitely a big way of how I express myself. I identified with dancing and movement at a very, very young age," she said. "But I've become more connected to working out as I've gotten older — having my career as an entertainer, wanting to be prepared for music videos or being prepared for the stage. All of those made me start to take working out more seriously."
Ciara On Her Husband Russell Inspiring Her To Be a Better Version of Herself
Although Ciara would go on to gain success in the music industry by releasing seven studio albums and selling millions of records, the mother of three disclosed that she didn't fully appreciate her body until meeting her husband, Russell Wilson.
The "And I" singer expressed that Russell helped shift her mindset regarding her body by loving her "curves" and celebrating them, which she says helps her give herself grace if things are imperfect.
"I give myself grace, and my honey, Russ, he loves my curves. So he celebrates that, which I love. So I don't stress as much now, I think as I would have when I was younger," she said.
Further in the interview, Ciara described another way Russell had inspired her to become a better woman was by "his level of commitment and dedication" in everything he does.
"We talked about in our earlier days being equally yoked. He and I were a lot alike from day one. So oftentimes, when we're doing things or aspiring to achieve the next goal or trying to level up our game — for him with football, and for me with music — we kind of run parallel," she shared while discussing how the pair encourage one another. "When we're working out, we're really encouraging each other, really celebrating each other, which I really love. I think he's the best at what he does and to see like his level of commitment and dedication to what he does, I get so inspired. I do feel like a better woman because of him."
Ciara On How She Wants To Be An Example For Her Three Children When It Comes to Self-Love
Another factor that positively affected Ciara's self-image was motherhood. Ciara shares two children, Sienna Wilson and Win Wilson, with Russell. The singer also has a son Future Wilburn with rapper Future.
Ciara spoke about how becoming a mother and physically carrying her children showed her the significance of maintaining one's health, especially dealing with diastasis recti after giving birth to Sienna.
According to Healthline, diastasis recti is a condition that causes an individual's abdominal muscles to separate after birth. This condition can correct itself through core strength exercises.
Ciara told the publication that she ended up loving her body's appearance, even with the condition that could leave one with a pouch appearance in the abdominal area, because she saw the "proudest achievement" she created, her three babies.
"That is like a whole different beast of something to deal with, on top of trying to lose baby weight and get to a spot where I feel really good about myself," she said. "But because of this, I look at my belly and I go, my three precious babies came out of this belly. It's my proudest achievement in life to have been able to do that. So I just have perspective on it."
Ciara wrapped up the conversation by saying this was an important lesson for her to conquer because she wants her children to know that it is good to be confident in oneself and appreciate one's "unique attributes."
"I just want to continually encourage my baby girl, especially, but all my babies to feel confident in their skin and who they are. To know that God blessed them with their amazing and unique attributes that they have and that make us who we are and it's so amazing to embrace who you are," she said.
Ciara continues to showcase positive body images by captivating millions with her viral social media posts.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
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