Beyonce may be the hardest-working woman in showbiz.
Take the four days leading up to MTV's recent Video Music Awards. She wraps a run-through of her Radio City Music Hall performance at midnight Thursday evening. Friday morning at 10 a.m., she returns to rehearsal mode. A dressing room break is anything but: chats with MTV personnel about show logistics segue into an editing session for her next project -- a DVD culled from a summer stand at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Later that evening, Beyonce makes a surprise appearance at husband Jay-Z's September 11 Madison Square Garden show. Then right after the VMAs on September 13, Beyonce catches a flight to Australia to kick off the next leg of the world tour to promote her latest chart-topper I Am ... Sasha Fierce.
It's just one of those grind weeks, Beyonce casually says.
THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN'T KEEP UP YOUR PACE. HOW DO YOU IT?
I'm an all-or-nothing type of woman. Either I'm doing absolutely nothing and relaxing -- reading a book, sitting by the ocean and not answering any questions -- or else I'm hands-on and giving 100%, working really hard.
I was just on vacation for three weeks after touring for a couple of months. I have to schedule time to rest, rejuvenate and get inspired to work again. Now I'm definitely rested and thank God I had the rest -- that's the only way I would be able to get through a week like this. After three weeks without giving any answers or approvals and no performing, I came back like, Yes! I'm ready to work!
WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR TOUR STAMINA? I HEARD A
RUMOR THAT YOU RUN ON A TREADMILL IN HEELS AND SING.
(Laughs heartily) No, I don't run on a treadmill in heels. That's a bit extreme. But I do practice my choreography in heels. And I have a rule that when I have my heels on, everyone has to have their heels on too. Sometimes the dancers are like, Oh, God, we hope Beyonce comes in late, because I'll go all day. And in the end, I'll have blisters and my toes will have bruises. It's really hard sometimes. I still do all the boring things that everyone else does in regular workouts like squats and the treadmill. But I mainly get in shape from doing the choreography during those long 12-hour rehearsals for two months before a tour.
... On my days off from the tour, I do a lot of sightseeing. I love to visit churches and museums all over the world. The architecture in America is amazing but in Europe, there's so much history. I also started riding a bike on my days off with others like my assistant and stylist. It's amazing how I'm able to ride around on a bike. People kind of see it's me but since I'm on a bike, they think, No, it's not her. And by the time they realize it's me, I'm already gone. It's great to do something normal every day. It keeps me grounded.
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE IMMENSE POPULARITY OF THE SINGLE
LADIES (PUT A RING ON IT) VIDEO?
Out of all my videos, it was the least expensive and took the least amount of time. And it ended up being the most iconic. I absolutely didn't expect that -- I don't think anyone did. But I knew exactly what I wanted to do: Keep it simple. I've done so many things in videos with different hair and wardrobe changes, different sets and lights. I just wanted to keep this one really minimal. And once we got on the set, it was like, Wait a minute. This is something special.
I'd seen this 1969 video (featuring Gwen Verdon), this one take of amazing Bob Fosse choreography set against a white background. And I thought, Wow, despite all the technology we have now, wouldn't it be great to just strip it all down -- without a bunch of different camera shots and cuts, without any hair and wardrobe changes -- and make it all about the performance? We had exactly 12 hours to film that video. We did it after shooting If I Were a Boy, so I used the same director and same crew, renting out a studio in New Jersey. From the black leotards to incorporating some of Fosse's 1969 choreography into our modern choreography, it was just a conscious effort at keeping everything simple.
YOU'RE JUST AS BUSY ON THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SIDE, DATING
BACK TO YOUR ASSOCIATION WITH L'OREAL.
I have worked with L'Oreal since I was 18 and it continues to be a great relationship. And with the clothing line that I started with my mother (Tina Knowles), I'm still making sure the brand is true to what I like and what I think my fans will like. Making it affordable for them was very important. At my concerts, we've offered seats for $10 so that people who can't afford it can attend.
I don't realize all that I do until I do interviews like this. And then I'm like, Oh, my God, how is this possible? But I usually break things up and focus on one thing at a time. It is a lot and thank God I love it, because I don't know how else I would be able to do it. You just make it happen.
HAVE YOU LINED UP YOUR NEXT ACTING GIG YET?
I did two movies last year, which was hard because I had the album and a tour. I'm on tour right now until March and I'll be going back and forth for some of the award shows. So probably next year after the tour something may happen. I've gotten a lot of scripts and out of those there are 10 that are very good. So I have to pick the one I really love.
All of the work I've put into my films has paid off because the type of scripts I'm getting now has completely changed. I've always wanted to do something darker and more dramatic because I'm much better at drama than anything else. I don't think anyone knew that until I played Etta James; people could see my range. And then I did the other movie, Obsessed. It was so much fun, especially the fight scenes. I fell in love with doing those stunts. That was my first time ever doing anything with action in it. Eventually, I would love to do something with a little more action in it.
I'm not in a rush because acting for me is fun -- something I do because I enjoy it. I don't have to do it. So I'm going to be patient and find the right film to work on next year or whenever it works out.
WHAT ELSE IS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST?
I'm interested in a lot of different things. I'd like to get involved in videogames since I really love Wii Fit. I think it would be a great idea to incorporate choreography because for me my workout is way more fun when it involves dancing as opposed to running on a boring treadmill. So I would love to do some kind of fitness game but incorporate dance and performance into it. I think a lot of women would enjoy that.
I also want to continue to produce films -- even if I'm not in them -- as well as a documentary on my life. Actually, I'd like to do a film loosely based on my father's (Mathew Knowles) childhood and school years. He's had an interesting life. But that will probably be in a couple of years.
YOU CAN'T END THIS INTERVIEW WITHOUT ONE LAST QUESTION: ANY
TRUTH TO THE RUMOR ABOUT A DESTINY'S CHILD REUNION TOUR AND/OR
I don't know if we would do another record anytime soon. And we haven't talked about a tour. That's just been something floating in the media. If people keep talking about it, maybe we'll do it. If that's what people want ... who knows? But whenever the girls need me or I need the girls, we're here for each other.