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Cover Girls: Alicia Keys for Marie Claire UK

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This July, Alicia Keys sets the cover of Marie Claire UK on fire, right in time for the summer. Shot earlier this year on the island of the Bahamas by photographer Yutsai, the photos are really breathtaking. Alicia is featured in sophisticated, sexy looks from Gucci, Versace, Diane von Furstenberg and Just Cavalli. In the issue, she opens up about her first impressions of her husband, evolving and directing.

On her overall first impression of Swizz Beatz:

Swizz will have the fastest car, the biggest jewelery, the loudest jacket; everything with him is really over the top. I used to see him and think, “He is so annoying.”
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On writing “That’s When I Knew” for Swizz Beatz:

That’s when I Knew” is definitely an ode to my husband… Honestly, I didn’t really like him that much. I thought he was too ostentatious.
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On what she’s learned from her relationship:

I think we’ve taught each other a lot. He’s taught me to live more fully and I think I’ve taught him to live more deeply.
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On becoming vocal about her feelings:
You have to speak up. To say, “I don’t like that, it’s not cool, don’t do that to me”, but it’s not easy, especially with people you love. I think getting older has made me evolve in a lot of ways and made me more relaxed about saying how I feel, no matter what.

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On maintaining balance:
I realize you have to have a balance – you can live life and have more experiences as well as working.

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On becoming a director:
I fell in love with directing. Because first of all I didn’t have to get up early for make-up and, second, I’m a very diplomatic individual.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video here: http://bcove.me/96p2c38e
Thoughts on this cover? Do you love it?

Cover Girls: Alicia Keys for Essence January

Alicia Keys is getting her WHOLE life on the cover of ESSENCE Magazine’s January 2013 issue. She’s serving a red strapless peplum moment and I’m living.

Related: Alicia Keys Cuts Her Hair

With her fifth studio album officially on the market and a worldwide tour on the horizon, the 14-time Grammy Award-winning artist, AIDS activist, wife and mom talks to ESSENCE about spiritual makeovers—and how she learned to say no in order to create a more balanced approach to her world.

Thoughts on her cover look?

The January issue of ESSENCE hits stands on December 7th. For more on this issue, visit ESSENCE.com.