Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter has famously lived much of her life in the public eye, as evidenced by countless tweets and videos, as well as the 2013 confessional documentary she directed. But for all that we think we know about Queen Bey, there are plenty of fascinating facts that may have flown under your radar. Here, in celebration of her birthday (September 4th), are 20 things you didn’t know about Beyoncé, all of which will make your love of Queen Bey continue to grow. So read on, and enjoy—and for more hilarious insight into your favorite musical acts, don’t miss the 30 Terrible Original Names for Your Favorite Bands.
She’s a huge Beatles fan.
When she was seven years old, Beyoncé won a school singing competition by performing John Lennon‘s “Imagine.” She received a standing ovation. And for more celebrity trivia, don’t miss The 30 Best Celebrity Style Evolutions.
She met her “Destiny” when she was just a kid.
The next year, Beyoncé met Kelly Rowland and LaTavia Robertson at an audition. She and her future Destiny’s Child bandmates were matched with three other girls as part of the all-girl group “Girl’s Tyme.”
She’s part Irish and French.
Beyoncé’s father, Mathew Knowles, is of African-American heritage and was born in Houston, Texas. Her mother, Tina Knowles, was born in Galveston, Texas, and boasts a creole heritage, including African, Native American, Irish, and French ancestry in her family. She is the 21st-century descendant of Joseph Broussard, a leader of the Acadian people in the mid-1700s who is considered a hero of the British resistance and French and Indian War.
She’s battled depression.
Beyoncé revealed she suffered from depression for two years after Destiny’s Child broke up in 2006. “I didn’t eat. I stayed in my room. I was in a really bad place in life, going through that lonely period: ‘Who am I? Who are my friends?’ My life changed.”
In 2011, she told The Sun she took a year off to focus on herself and thanks her mother with getting her back on track. “My mother was very persistent and she kept saying that I had to take care of my mental health.” And if you’re worried about someone in your life potentially suffering from depression, here are Ways Your Loved Ones May Be Hiding It.
She almost starred in a remake of her favorite film.
A Star is Born is Queen Bey’s favorite movie of all time and for a while, it looked like she was going to headline a remake of the film. In early 2012, according to a report in Entertainment Weekly, her possible leading men included Tom Cruise, Eminem, and Russell Crowe. After the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé bowed out of the project opting to focus on family instead of her film career. A much anticipated big-screen version starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is slated to premiere later this year.
She’s involved in multiple charities.
Beyoncé joined former Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly Rowland to create the Survivor Foundation, which provides relief to victims of natural disasters, in 2005. (It has since closed doors.) More recently, her foundation Beygood raised money for the survivors of the earthquakes in Nepal. The superstar has also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight for gender equality worldwide, given school supplies to students across the country, built apartments for the homeless and hosted food drives in Houston. She has also partnered with Goodwill and Phoenix House.
She idolizes a supermodel.
A fashion icon in her own right, Beyoncé’s ultimate style spirit animal is British supermodel Kate Moss.
She topped Twitter.
Beyoncé’s first pregnancy announcement at the end of her performance of “Love on Top” during the 2011 VMA’s on MTV earned the Guinness World Book of Records title for most tweets (8,868) per second.
Housekeeping isn’t her strong suit.
Queen Bey has admitted that she’s pretty messy around the house which sometimes irritates her husband, Jay Z, whom Beyoncé described to Ebony magazine as “very organized.”
She can “see” music.
The singer has said, “[Music] is more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion—a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to the music.”
Her favorite number is 4.
Beyoncé’s mother was born on January 4th. She was married on April 4th. Her birthday is September 4th and her husband’s is December 4th.
“Sasha Fierce” was created after an incident with a fan.
During Beyoncé’s 2003 performance on VH1 Divas, she tossed a pair of $250,000 Lorraine Schwartz earrings into the crowd. She later said couldn’t even explain why she did it. According to her cousin, who was able to retrieve the pricey baubles from the fan who caught them, the episode ended up being one of the events that led Beyoncé to create her on-stage alter ego, Sasha Fierce.
She enjoys the occasional cigar.
The singer has been photographed on more than one occasion puffing away on a stogie. There’s footage of her smoking a stogie from the visual album, Beyoncé. No word on what type of cigar Bey likes best, but her husband prefers Cubanos.
Pizza is her favorite “cheat food.”
Beyoncé told Shape that she enjoys pizza, her favorite cheat food, once a week. She usually orders it with extra tomato sauce and jalapeño peppers.
The eyes have it.
While she agreed to appear on the cover of the recent issue of Vogue without any make-up, her favorite cosmetic is mascara.
Her daughter made entertainment history.
Just days after Blue Ivy was born, Jay-Z commemorated the momentous occasion by releasing a new track, “Glory,” featuring the newborn coos and cries. The tot was officially credited on the song thanks to the addendum, “Featuring B.I.C.” “Glory” first charted on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at No. 74, officially making Blue Ivy Carter the youngest charted recording artist in history.
She is allergic to perfume.
The multi-hyphenate is also a beauty mogul with her own line of fragrances, including Heat, Heat Rush, and Beyoncé Pulse. Because the singer is allergic to many different types of scents, her fragrances are chemically altered so that she can wear them.
She’s also an opera diva.
Beyoncé’s vocal range spans 3.6 octaves and is classified as mezzo-soprano.
She’s loves being a tourist.
One of the ways Queen Bey decompresses while on tour is by visiting local museums (which must be how she came up with shooting a recent music video at the Louvre). And if you want to travel like Beyoncé, check out these 17 Floating Hotels That Are Simply Magical.
There’s a fly named after her.
In 2012, research scientist Bryan Lessard discovered an unnamed species of horsefly in Northern Queensland, Australia, and named it “Scaptia beyonceae,” because of unique golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen. Researchers call the specimen the “all-time diva of flies.”
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