Kelly Rowland, ESSENCE

ESSENCE Magazine

Kelly Rowland is serving face on the September 2013 issue of Essence.

The X-Factor judge covers the magazine with an all-black, fall-ready look, sporting a long fur vest by Ashley B over a beaded Furne One bodysuit. Rowland wears a bright violet lip (making her megawatt smile stand out even more), along with jewelry by Basile & Pape Bespoke and Jennifer Fisher.

Kelly Rowland

Mark Davis/Getty Images

In the interview, Rowland opens up about her career choices, growing as a performer and working through personal struggles.

"For a long time I wasn't happy, but that had nothing to do with Beyoncé," she shared with the magazine. "That had to do with me trying to get my life in order and make better decisions for myself. I'm seeing all these wonderful things happen for her and I am happy for her. But I want a path. I want things to pop off for me, too. Not on her level but whatever my level is supposed to be."

A behind-the-scenes video for the shoot shows Rowland being fun and flirty in front of the camera as she describes what drives her personal style: "I'm constantly inspired by fashion but I don't necessarily like to always follow directions," she said. "I don't think that you should—I think that you should do whatever works for you, whatever works for your body type."

The singer now finds new strength—and comfort—in boxing, which she does regularly with trainer Jeanette Jenkins and during sparring sessions with boxing veteran Martin Snow.

What do you think of Kelly's cover look? Sound off in the comments.

PHOTOS: 2013 September Issues

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