Let’s put it out there: We heart Kelly Rowland.
She already started 2017 on the right foot with the Jan. 28 premiere of Love by the 10th Date, a Lifetime movie she stars in alongside Meagan Good, Kellee Stewart, and Keri Hilson. But yesterday, she was all about helping women take care of their tickers.
The singer and actress was on hand at the Burlington flagship store in New York City’s Union Square to celebrate Heart Month in partnership with the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. The team is pushing forward with its #KnockOutHeartDisease project, asking folks to donate to WomenHeart, which strives to “improve the health and quality of life of women living with or at risk of heart disease, and to advocate for their benefit.”
Rowland lost her mother, Doris Rowland Garrison, in 2014 after she went into cardiac arrest — just weeks after her grandson, Titan Jewell Witherspoon, was born.
“Immediately when they talked about raising awareness to other women, I was like, ‘I’m in,'” she tells Yahoo Style. “Because it was such a tough loss for me and because it was so sudden, I felt the need to talk to other women about it. I feel like when you understand what’s going on with your body — or if you don’t know — this is an opportunity to spread awareness about it so that you will know.”
Like her former bandmate and pregnant friend Beyoncé, Rowland uses her fame for good. “I feel like we’re not just given a microphone to sing. You use your platform for what you’re really supposed to use it for. And if I can do that, then I’m going to do it,” she says.
The event included free heart-health screenings, giving people an opportunity to learn more about their bodies — no insurance required. As folks sat down for their tests, we chatted with Rowland, who dished on her tips for self-care, her evolving style, and how she’s dealing with the changes in our country at this time in history.
Yahoo Style: People are pretty riled up and stressed out right now. Do you have any tips for staying healthy?
Kelly Rowland: In the morning, I allow myself three minutes — because that’s literally all I feel like I have time for — three to five minutes to meditate. It’s just breathing. You’ll be surprised how a simple breathing exercise can calm down the rest of your day. [I also take care of myself by] praying, and making good eating choices. I don’t like to say “diet” — I think that’s a really wack word. I just like to make sure that I’m making great decisions with food, because I love cheese and wine! I do work out. I have really great trainers who teach me not just about working out, but also help me, as I’m not getting younger. [Ed. note: Could have fooled us!] They’re teaching me about my body and what’s happening, and how I take care of it. It’s just awesome. It’s important to pay more attention to those things. If there are things that pop up like free heart-health screenings, run to them! I said that the other day on TV. They said, “Free?” I said, “Free. No insurance necessary!” We don’t think about that, and we have to take advantage of these situations.
Speaking of trainers, what’s a workout that you find particularly difficult?
My trainer David just tried to kill me last week. I think he looked at me and said, “We’re gonna kill her.” Anything that has to do with legs [is hard for me]. I don’t know if it was after I had my son, but my abs are the same, though my body changed, so it’s really about kicking everything back into high gear. That usually is brutal. For my arms, I’m like, “Let’s have an arm day!” but legs and abs are really tough.
You’re working with stylist Ade Samuel — what’s that like?
I just love her aesthetic. She came and she had all these different ideas. We worked together in a photo shoot for Parenthood. It was her and another stylist. I was looking though different stylists [at the time] and I came across her. I said to my assistant, “Ash, can you set up a meeting with her?” We set up a meeting and it’s been back-to-back since then. I love her aesthetic. She understands who I am and the fact that I’m such a moody dresser. I’ll be like, “Let’s do dresses today!” one day, and the next I’m like, “I don’t feel like that today.” I pretty much dress for my mood, and I feel like there are no rules and you just have a great time in fashion — it’s a creative expression.
What’s a fashion risk you took that you regret?
A Destiny’s Child [outfit] where we looked like little chickens. We had these little dresses on — yeah, it was bad. It was like brocade up here and like yellow feathers down here. We looked like three little chickens onstage!
We’re in the thick of winter — what’s your snowy-weather must-have?
I’m such a pervert! [Laughs]
Well, besides that!
Tea and good company! Good Thai coconut curry soup. And a good cozy coat. What’s so nice about being in New York is the fact that you can completely fashionably stunt on everybody. So you have this fabulous coat, these amazing thigh-high boots. If you wore them in LA … well, it’s not cold enough to wear them. But now is a moment to really stunt fashion-wise, and you can do that in New York’s cold weather.
Your skin is consistently flawless. What’s your secret?
Retinol Reform by Shani Darden! It’s like a miracle serum. I don’t know what she did, but it’s her own formula and it works like magic. I swear by it.
We’re coming up on Black History Month. You have a 2-year-old son. What are you teaching him about his history and his culture?
The cool thing is I didn’t even have to tell my nannies [what to teach him]. They actually started before I did.
I recently took [my son] to the [National Museum of African American History and Culture]. It was such a great experience. When we got to the culture floor, I could have just laid down and hollered because they had this video montage and Destiny’s Child was a part of it! I almost lost myself. Meanwhile, everyone is like, “Titan, look at mommy!” and he’s like, “She’s right here!” To even be in that museum and to be thought of as a part of history and culture is insane. My kid and kid’s kids, and kid’s kid’s kids, will see that. Well, if Trump doesn’t hurt it, at least. [We have] so many heroes, and I want [my son] to know about all of them and all of their journeys, all the things that they did for us, and how it should make us actually work harder, this generation, just for everything that they sacrificed. I want him to know about his history.
The African American museum is a good start!
Yes! And even for him to know what’s going on in us. His father and I just took the ancestry DNA tests. We [did them] because I want to know what’s going on there. It’s crazy, you have a child and it just prompts all these different things you want to know about your history, your body, your health, everything.
It seems like now a lot of black families are taking that extra step to learn about these parts of their history that they didn’t know, because they didn’t previously have access to them.
Absolutely. I feel like if you understand and you have access to it, people want to know. I go to other countries with other friends who are black and they know all about their history. They can tell me who their great-great-great-grandmother was and where they came from. I really wanted to take the initiative and learn about it.
We are living in very hectic times. What do you want your son and also other kids in America to remember and to hold dear?
I want to say that his voice is heard, but the time that we live in right now, it makes me kind of uneasy to tell him that. I’d like to teach him who he is, so he can understand and learn [that] at home, and he doesn’t have to go into the world and have the world try to show him who [it thinks] he is. Morals to me are important. Family to me is important. But to know who he is — as a man, as a black man, as a strong black man. Because that’s what I’m raising.
I still agree with Obama when he says we have to hope. Because if there are 10 people that are thinking negatively, you have to be the one that will be a light and will be a fire for change. Doesn’t matter who is in office. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s marches, and we’re making really great efforts to try to change the direction as much as we possibly can. I also feel the need to tell all the folks out there that midterm elections are coming up. So let’s not get lazy — let’s stay focused and stay the course. If you don’t like the way things are happening, then now’s the time to say it. Now’s your time to really invoke change and be a part of change and hope.