Janelle Monae Talks About Her Black and White Uniform

The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! – Press Room

Singer-songwriter and new Cover Girl cosmetics endorser Janelle Monáe graces the cover of the Canadian version of ELLE. In the interview, Monáe discusses why she covers up much of her body — namely that she doesn’t want any distractions from her purpose, her music.

You can check out excerpts from the cover story below:

“When I look at myself in the mirror, I’m attractive. I really have a nice body. And I had to pick: Do I want them to focus on my body? Do I want them to focus on how curvy and really, really gorgeous my figure is? Or do I want them to look at my music? What has more value? And I made that decision. I want them to focus on the message and the music because I feel like I have a higher calling.”

“I am naturally shy,” she says softly. “That’s what people are most surprised by, because when I’m onstage there’s nothing shy. It’s all electricity. I feel fearless.”

“I got this Facebook message and it really just touched my heart and reminded me where I came from and how I can never complain. I’ll show you,” she says, scrolling down her wall, which is bursting with exclamation points from fans.

The message is from a girl whom Monáe worked alongside as a maid, cleaning houses while trying to make money for college; she’s congratulating Monáe on her success and reminiscing about listening to her sing while they cleaned. There are a lot of emotions. There are a lot of actual emotions too.

“A lot of the women I worked with had rough lives,” says Monáe. “They were recovering addicts or getting out of jail.” The cleaning service hired desperate women who couldn’t get a job anywhere else. Monáe herself was desperate to leave her hometown and attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York.

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