Dancer, producer, model, actor, singer currently working on her seventh studio album, and mum to two kids under the age of five – it’s safe to say that popstar Ciara has a lot on her plate.
On recent trip to Shanghai with husband and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson to promote a series of American football camps throughout China – followed by a meeting at Alibaba’s Hangzhou HQ – we caught up with the lady herself to talk long-distance travel with young kids, the organised chaos of family life, and how having a daughter has impacted her work.
Ciara on bringing her children to Shanghai
‘I’m a military baby and because of that I got to travel the world. I got to live in other places outside of America like Germany. And I always attribute those experiences to developing me as who I am today. It allowed me to look at the world from a broad perspective, which I think is really important. Experiences like this allow you to be open-minded and to really grow. It takes you out of your comfort zone, which I like, it’s all opportunity for your kids to grow.’
On balancing career and family
‘[Our lives are] organised chaos because when it comes to being ambitious and driven and working really hard and then you add family life to it, it’s a lot to juggle. [My husband and I] really believe in teamwork makes the dream work. We work together and scheduling is so important. We have a family schedule and we have our personal schedules. Something that’s really important to the both of us is having a foundation of life and love and we both believe if you focus on that you can conquer the world.’
On how having children has impacted her work
‘I feel like by having kids I just have more fire beneath my feet. Also having my little girl kind of sends a different kind of signal to you just as far as you know, knowing the journey of us as women and young girls. And hopefully, she sees through me that she can do anything that she puts her mind to and that gender doesn’t matter with what you want to do in life.
‘It’s just very awesome to have kids. They give you perspective – they put the ‘P’ in perspective is what I say. They also humble you. You realise that life is not just about you, they just make you a better person. I always looked forward to having kids but I didn’t know what it would be like. It was a necessary discovery and a necessary moment in my life. It made me better.’
On travelling with young children
‘Honestly, it’s been pretty cool overall. Sienna (her one-year-old daughter) is in this phase right now where she can’t sit still, so you want to time your flights in between nap time and bed time. There’s a strategy to flying long distances. Coming here [to Shanghai], luckily, she slept for eight hours of an 11-hour flight. It’s definitely an adventure, which makes it so much more fun. It keeps you young.’
On whether her children know she and her husband are famous
‘My son (four-year-old Future) is starting to figure it out a little bit. He wanted to call Russ “Russell Wilson” and I’m like “who taught you that?” He knows our first names but we don’t say the whole names or whatever.
‘I think they’re still grasping like what is going on. When they see people react to you, they’re like “hmm, okay” but they just know you as mummy. At home we’re mummy and daddy and we’re all about focusing on family.’
On being recognised when she’s with her children
‘I’m pretty consistent when I have my kids, I don’t really do photos and stuff because that’s my moment to be a mum. I want to have my mummy time and for it to be as normal as possible for my kids.’
On her kids following in their parents’ footsteps
‘I think it’s important that you let a kid do what they desire to do – as long as it’s a good thing. That’s what I was blessed with the opportunity to do, which was to do what I loved. I don’t want to force them to do what we do, we believe in playing up their strongest attributes – encouraging them to push themselves to do what they really connect to and love doing.
‘Like today, for example, Future was so excited to come out and play football and it was his choice. When you do what you love, you have the opportunity to be the best at it.’