It’s the Friday before a long weekend and I’m on a Zoom call with Kelly Rowland, who Unilever tapped for a little top-of-year goal-setting session. Sure, I’m doing the interview, but if you listened to a voiceover of my inner thoughts, I’m stuck on how beautiful she is. I know — she’s a famous singer, actor, TV host, the list goes on. Of course she’s gorgeous. But this is a little different. It’s kind of like… she’s floating? Even though she’s perched comfortably on what from my view looks like a giant gray sectional.
Make no mistake, the beauty is goddess-level, but, talented as she is, Rowland is still very much a person. One of many, she casually mentions after I ask her what she’s shopping for at the drugstore (Vaseline Cocoa Radiant Lotion for red carpets and L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara), who got COVID over the holidays. “We were the COVID crib,” she says. And while her crib might be bigger than literally everywhere I’ve lived combined, just like everyone else, she was quarantined up with her family.
“We played games, made Rice Krispie Treats. I did a lot of cooking, I made chicken and rice soup,” she tells me, mentioning that she also recruited her husband and older son to help make burgers. There was also water — lots of it. “We had a water-drinking contest because we were trying to empty our bodies out of the virus.” (For the record, the recommendation to drink fluids if you get COVID is related to staying hydrated, not because you’ll pee the virus out.) Of course, Rowland and her family are okay now and looking forward to what 2022 might bring.
The singer says she’s focused on dreaming big — so big she scares herself. “Of all the gifts that Sidney Poitier left us with, the biggest one for me is his quote where he says, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,'” she explains. Rowland has already lived a life that some of us dream about; now, she’s wondering what else she can create or what new opportunity she can take on. Poitier’s words are ones she says she lives by and plans on passing the mindset to her sons, Titan, 7, and Noah (who made a brief and very adorable cameo on the call), 1. “I hope that they dream so big that they wonder, ‘Oh, my God, how am I going to do of that?’ And then they do it. And they surprise themselves and do it even bigger the next time.”
As Rowland dreams up her next move (which we’re hoping includes a leading role in a Donna Summer biopic, but more on that later), I chat with her some more about her boys, her trick for moisturized elbows, and how the late great disco diva inspires her today.