Kelly Rowland credits three things with helping her maintain her impressive almost-30-year career: hard work, kindness and authenticity. “Those are what come to mind when I think about what you need in this industry,” says the Destiny’s Child singer. She put being true to herself to the test recently. In February, she backed out of a guest-hosting gig on Today reportedly because the show did not provide a suitable dressing room. And in May, the 43-year-old star appeared to clash with an usher as she made her way up the red carpet steps at the Cannes Film Festival.

Kelly addressed that incident head-on, saying in part: “I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries. There were other women that attended that carpet who did not quite look like me, and they didn’t get scolded or pushed off or told to get off. I stood my ground.”

Here, Kelly — who recently teamed with WaterWipes, the world’s purest baby wipes — exclusively talks to In Touch’s Fortune Benatar about show business, motherhood (she shares Titan, 9, and Noah, 3, with her talent manager husband of 10 years, Tim Weatherspoon) and integrity.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?

KR: I always say be kind to people. You never know how things are going to go. I have met so many executives who used to be assistants, and now they run these beautiful companies. It’s so beautiful to watch people grow and evolve, and you just have this space to be happy for them.

How has the business changed?

KR: When I was coming up in the industry in the early ’90s, there was only [room] for one person or one girl to be great. As women, we have to hold space for each other to be the most amazing versions of ourselves. When one woman wins, we all win.

Do you think Titan and Noah will follow in your footsteps?

KR: They haven’t shown [interest in] that. They love music. Noah loves a record I have called “Flowers,” so we’ll go from “Flowers” to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Titan wants to listen to hip-hop. You allow them to be the most authentic version of themselves and watch how they flourish.

Kelly Rowland on Career Lessons and Parenting Challenges
Colby Tallia/amfAR/Getty Images for amfAR

Do they take after you?

KR: They’re both a really good mixture. The little one is bossy and just so full of love and life. The oldest one is just the coolest kid I know.

What’s the biggest parenting challenge right now?

KR: My kids are at two different stages, and they also both want me to themselves. The little one thinks I belong to him, and the oldest one feels like, “I don’t get enough of her.” So that part is really hard.

What’s your best parenting tip?

KR: To not be so hard on ourselves and give ourselves some grace. We’re doing the best we can. What I’m noticing is that everybody is into gentle parenting. We’re not going to get it right every single time, but as long as we’re trying the best we can and we care about being great parents, that’s a great freaking start!

What do you want your boys to learn from you?

KR: I always go back to integrity. I saw this beautiful video of [late rapper] Nipsey Hussle talking about integrity, and he summed it up as doing the right thing when nobody’s watching. When you do that, you take accountability for your actions.

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