ON THE ROOFTOP of The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., Kelly Rowland eagerly digs into her breakfast (scrambled eggs, oatmeal and carrot-ginger juice). Although it’s early, her face is fully made up and she is strikingly beautiful in a way that’s not often conveyed on television. Today, she’s wearing white skinny jeans, a blousy top and her feet are bare, showing off red, glittered toes. Her weave is jet black and cascades nearly to her waist.
Kelly Rowland, 30, gives out compliments often and shrugs off those given to her. She’s folksy and conversational with perfect strangers—from a reporter to the waiters on duty. But over time, when you look beyond her easy laugh and chipper attitude, you start to realize that Kelly is communicating without actually giving up anything. She’s mastered the art of talking without saying a word.
The former Destiny’s Child singer is among the last in a dying breed of celebrities: tightly managed, media-trained and hard to crack. After selling over 40 million records as a member of the last R&B supergroup, she dipped out to go solo (and she won’t let you forget that she came out ? rst, before you-knowwho). Now Kelly is enjoying her biggest success as a solo artist with the hit single “Motivation,” which she showed off with a provocative performance at this year’s BET Awards, and continues to ? oat above the swirl of rumors that have dogged her since the early days of Destiny’s Child. (No, Mathew Knowles is not her father. And no, she’s not jealous of Beyoncé. So stop asking.)
Over the course of a two-hour conversation about everything from broken engagements to sex shops, Kelly does a scary-good job of working the media with a twinkling eye, a bright smile and a “who, me?” demeanor. Just don’t bother digging for any dirt. If there is any, she’s not dishing it.