On September 4, Beyonce Knowles Carter celebrates her 40th birthday. And while there is no doubt she has many, many more achievements to come, across her four decades, she has hit some seriously impressive milestones.
Not only is she one of the most famous women in the world, she is also one of the most celebrated, most awarded and even holds a few world record titles.
From her early days in Destiny's Child to full superstardom, here are 40 seriously impressive facts about Beyonce.
1. Beyonce’s career began when she was only 7. She won a local talent show in Houston, Texas, receiving a standing ovation for her rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine. The reaction spurred her father, Mathew Knowles, to enter her into more competitions. She won 35 in a row.
2. At the age of 9, along with childhood best friends, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, LeToya Luckett and sisters Nina and Nikki Taylor, Beyonce formed the group Girls Tyme.
3. The singing and rapping group made their debut on US talent show Star Search in 1993, when Beyonce was 12. They lost out in the final to rock band, Skeleton Crew.
4. After years of limited success, four members of Girls Tyme, Knowles, Rowland, Roberson and Luckett, rebranded as Destiny’s Child and in 1997, were signed to Columbia Records.
5. The group’s first album, The Writing's On The Wall, sold 15 million copies worldwide, and would lead to their first number one single, with Bills, Bills, Bills.
6. Beyonce has a writing credit on many of Destiny’s Child’s most successful songs, including Independent Women pt 1, Bootylicious, and Jumpin Jumpin.
7. Beyonce’s solo career started in 2003, when Destiny’s Child went on hiatus. Beyonce released her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love, which received rave reviews.
8. One of the album’s runaway hits was Crazy in Love, which featured Beyonce’s then-boyfriend Jay-Z. The song was written by American record producer, Rich Harrison, in under two hours, with the help of Beyonce.
9. Beyonce only ever had one boyfriend before meeting and marrying her rapper husband Jay-Z. The pair married in 2008.
10. They met in 2000 – when Beyonce was 18 – when they were sat next to each other on a plane to Cancun for the MTV Spring Break festival. Jay-Z later rapped about the moment in 2018 song Everything is Love. He sings: “We played it cool at the pool of the Cancun, VMA / Confidence you exude make the fools stay away / Me, I played my room, let the fools have they say / Fate had me sittin' next to you on the plane / And I knew straight away."
11. Beyonce is named after her mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, whose maiden name was Beyince. The star’s uncle, Roland Beyince, shared the story with the world in 2013, saying his sister was worried about continuing the family legacy with a lack of boys in the family.
12. Beyonce’s favourite number is four. It represents many important dates in her life; her husband's birthday (December 4), her mother's birthday (January 4), her wedding anniversary (April 4) and her own birthday (September 4). She also named her fourth studio album 4, and incorporated the number into her daughter Blue Ivy’s name. Ivy is pronounced in the same way you would say the roman numeral for four, IV. Both Beyonce and Jay-Z have the numeral tattooed on their wedding ring finger.
13. She is the first solo artist to have six consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the US.
14. Beyonce is the most-nominated woman in Grammy’s history, having received 79 nods throughout her career.
15. This year, she also became the most-awarded woman in Grammy’s history, having won 28 of her 79 nominations. The previous record was 27, set by Alison Krauss.
16. In 2016, she became the first artist to be nominated across four genre categories at the Grammys, thanks to her 2016 visual album Lemonade.
17. Aside from Mariah Carey, she is the only other solo artist to have a US number one single in four different decades.
18. Beyonce has an alter-ego named Sasha Fierce, whom she adopted to help her overcome stage fright. The name inspired her third studio album, I Am…Sasha Fierce.
19. In 2018, she also made history by becoming the first black woman to headline Coachella.
20. And in 2011, she was the first solo female artist to headline Glastonbury in more than 20 years.
21. In 2010, Beyonce set up her own record label and entertainment company, Parkwood Entertainment. Chloe x Halle, Sophie Beem and Ingrid are currently signed to the label.
22. Beyonce has her own clothing line, Ivy Park, which has collaborated with Adidas and Topshop in the past.
23. Beyonce also has several acting credits to her name. She has starred in Dream Girls¸ Cadillac Records and Austin Powers.
24. She was also asked to play the lead in 2018’s A Star is Born, before the part was eventually given to Lady Gaga.
25. She also voiced Nala in the 2019 live-action remake of Disney’s The Lion King.
26. Beyonce has had some major collaborations over her career, working with the likes of Gaga, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Shakira, Sean Paul, and of course, numerous tracks with her husband Jay-Z.
27. And Jay-Z is not the only family member with whom she has collaborated. Her eldest daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, has appeared on two of her parents’ tracks – each time making her a record breaker. A two-day-old Blue Ivy’s cry was sampled on Jay-Z’s track Glory, making her the youngest person to ever be sampled on record. She also became the youngest person to win a Grammy in 2021, when Beyonce’s song Brown Skin Girl, which features Blue Ivy, then 9, took the award for Best Music Video.
28. Beyonce is also mum to twins, Rumi and Sir, 4.
29. The picture Beyonce shared to announce her surprise pregnancy in February 2017 became the most-liked picture on Instagram, with 6.4 million likes. It held the record for a total of 371 days, when it was overtaken by a picture shared by Kylie Jenner, announcing the birth of her daughter, Stormi Webster.
30. Beyonce performed at both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations, and remains close friends with the former president and first lady.
31. She doesn’t win awards only for music. In 2011, she won an award from the New York Association of Black Journalists for her 2011 essay in Essence magazine, entitled Eat, Play, Love.
32. Beyonce has also produced and directed a number of projects, including her 2013 film Life is But a Dream. She also worked on her visual album, Lemonade, and the 2019 Netflix documentary, Homecoming.
33. In 2018, she helped make Vogue history. For her cover shoot on the famous September issue, she hand-selected Tyler Mitchell to photograph her, in the process making Mitchell the first black photographer to ever land a cover shoot for the US fashion magazine.
34. She has played at the half-time show at the Super Bowl. Twice.
35. She started the trend of dropping albums of streaming platforms without any prior warning when she released her fifth album, the self-titled Beyonce, in 2013.
36. The same album was awarded a Guinness World Record for becoming the fastest-selling album, shifting more than 800,000 copies in only three days.
37. Beyonce is allergic to perfume, despite having a line of fragrances herself. The formulas were developed with special ingredients to allow the star to wear them without breaking out in a rash.
38. The word "bootylicious", taken from the Destiny’s Child song Beyonce helped to write, was officially added to the dictionary. It is used as an adjective to describe an attractive woman.
39. In 2010, Beyonce opened The Beyonce Cosmetology Centre at the Phoenix House in Brooklyn, New York, a programme that assists addicts in mental recovery while simultaneously providing clients with a seven-month cosmetology training course.
40. And finally, there’s a species of fly named after her. Scientist Bryan Lessard discovered a species of horsefly in northern Queensland, Australia, in 2012. Because of the golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen, he named it Scaptia beyonceae. Thanks to its superstar-inspired name, it now has a reputation as the diva of the insect world.