Beyonce is gearing up for the release of her fourth studio album, 4, on Tuesday, which is why she's gracing the July issue of W magazine. "The fans have named the album 4," she explains in her interview. "Four is my favorite number. It's an important number in my life: the date of my birthday [September 4, 1981], my mom's birthday, my husband's birthday [December 4, 1969], the day I got married [April 4, 2008]. Barack Obama is the 44th president, and I performed 'At Last' by Etta James at his inauguration."
In honor of 4, the 29-year-old singer sat down with W and commented on seven looks from her music videos that helped shape her career. "In my videos, I always want to be a powerful woman," she notes. "That's my mission." That's probably why she was so excited to team up with Lady Gaga to record the song "Telephone" and star in the 9-minute Tarentino-esque video.
"Gaga is my girl!" laughs Beyonce. "I'm her biggest fan. When I first saw her perform, I actually called her and said, 'You are great!' That was before her popularity hit, and we had a natural connection. Later, she asked me to do her video [for 'Telephone'] and I said, 'I trust you, Gaga. I'll do whatever you want me to do.' I played a bad, bad girl. When I put on the Bettie Page wig, I got into the character. I started researching Bettie Page and tried to channel her pinups and poses. The video ended up being very much like Quentin Tarantino's movies. He gave us his blessing, even loaned us the car with pussy wagon written on the side from 'Kill Bill.' My mom said, 'Do you have to use that car?'"
As for her alter-ego, Sasha Fierce, Beyonce reveals that Sasha was born while she was filming her very first solo video for "Crazy in Love" at age 21.
"I'm naturally a shy person, and I was used to performing in a group [Destiny's Child], where it's about female camaraderie -- we were all going through the same things at the same time," she shares. "As Sasha Fierce, I was on my own. It was about letting go, about showing my sensuality in a new way: I became Sasha Fierce. I'm wearing red pumps in the video," she continues. "As a child I trained myself to dance in very high heels. At 13, in Destiny's Child, we were told to wear heels, but at first we couldn't walk in them. We couldn't keep our knees straight. But we learned, and that became the image of Destiny's Child: so young and so glamorous. Now I have a rule that my dancers have to wear their heels when I'm wearing my heels. They say, 'Please take your shoes off, Beyonce.' At home, I'm always barefoot. And I have a heavy walk without heels. When they hear me thumping through the house, they say, 'Oh -- Beyonce's up!'"