@MaryJBlige Talks My Life II, Best Red Carpet Moment and Thigh-High Boots

December 3, 2011

My earliest memory of Mary J. Blige is listening to her debut album "What's The 411?" until my father discovered my cassette tape and attempted to hide it on top of the refrigerator. The Puff Daddy-produced record flowed with street smart tracks like "Real Love," "You Remind Me" and "Love No Limit" that despite not knowing the deeper meaning of the songs, my six-year-old self knew the hooks word-for word. Fast forward almost two decades and Blige's musical story still resonates.

As the 40-year-old "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" enters a new chapter with her tenth studio album, "My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1)" and a new fragrance aptly named My Life Blossom, she admits that beneath all the glamour pain still lingers.

"When I did the original 'My Life,' I was in a bad place. It was the first time I got to speak through my pain and what I was dealing with," said Blige. "Four million people responded and we started a movement. We began to heal, grow and evolve. But what brought us there was the struggle because that's real."

Read on as Blige dishes on becoming a stronger woman, her best red carpet moment and the designer boots she can't get enough of.

Why did you decide to name your latest album "My Life II?"
After "The Breakthrough," I realized no matter how much stuff you've been through you still have pain so it's very important for my music to always reflect that and for me to express what I'm around.

What are your favorite songs?
I love "Feel Inside" because I know that story very well. "Need Someone" and "Don't Mind" are beautiful, and "Midnight Drive."

It's been 17 years since the release of the original "My Life." How does that make you feel?
I feel triumphant. I actually want to live, go on, inspire people and do good things. I just feel blessed.

You're returning to HSN to introduce your second fragrance, My Life Blossom. What was the creative process like for this scent?
It was a team effort helmed by Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter. She has a visceral understanding of fragrance and emotion. We worked with the fragrance lab at Firmenich who took the feeling I wanted to bring to my fans, as well as my favorite notes to bring it to life. The tuberose always stands out to me. It's my favorite note.

Does this new fragrance remind you of a certain place, time, memory, or song?
Blossom is all about coming to the point in your life, as women, where we are honest with ourselves about our journey and the person we've become. We are aware of what it takes to be our best and how we can continue to grow.

What kind of woman does Blossom represent?
A strong woman. The woman that's not been afraid to go through the trials to get to the next level of positivity in her life. She is feminine, soft, powerful, sexy, compassionate and strong-willed.

What is the best advice you've received so far that has helped you "blossom" into the woman that you are today?
Get out of your own way.

You've worn your hair in various styles and colors. Do you have a favorite 'do?
I like how it's currently styled -- bangs and long. I also love the braid that we did for the album cover of "The Breakthrough." And I love the blond, bold cuts that showed off the color and my face.

What's the nude lip gloss you can't live without?
Anything from MAC or my Blossom gloss.

What's your skincare must-have?
Carol's Daughter Almond Cookie Shea Souffle

On to fashion, is there any particular outfit that stands out from over the years?
At the 2007 Grammys when I wore this sequin Michael Kors dress (pictured above). That's when people started to see me come into my womanhood.

You're known for rocking hot boots. Do you have a pair that you keep pulling out of the closet?
I have these really comfortable Dior boots that are black and come up to the thigh. The heel is amazing and not super high in step so you don't walk like you're bending over.

What is your secret to wearing winter white?
Play with textures that work for the element like a wool coat or fur.



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