Miss Millennium: Beyoncé

We present our February 2013 cover star: Beyoncé, the hottest woman of the 21st century:

Back in the day, the thing that made her fiercest was protecting her younger sibling. Solange recalls how Beyoncé defended her when they were teens. “I can’t tell you how many times in junior high school, how many boys and girls can say Beyoncé came and threatened to put some hands on them if they bothered me,” Solange says with a laugh. Beyoncé says she harnessed that same temper to bolster her nerve and fuel her work. “I used to like when people made me mad,” she says in the HBO documentary, remembering her suburban Texas childhood, which was shaped (some would say cut short) by her determination to be a star. “I’m like, ‘Please piss me off before the performance.’ I used to use everything.” As Jay-Z rapped of Beyoncé at the beginning of her 2006 hit “Déjà Vu,” “She about to steam. Stand back.”

"You know, equality is a myth, and for some reason, everyone accepts the fact that women don’t make as much money as men do. I don’t understand that. Why do we have to take a backseat?" she says in her film, which begins with her 2011 decision to sever her business relationship with her father. "I truly believe that women should be financially independent from their men. And let’s face it, money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define value. They define what’s sexy. And men define what’s feminine. It’s ridiculous."

Now she says, “You know, when I was writing the Destiny’s Child songs, it was a big thing to be that young and taking control. And the label at the time didn’t know that we were going to be that successful, so they gave us all control. And I got used to it. It is my goal in life to be that example. And I think it will, hopefully, trickle down, and more artists will see that. Because it only makes sense. It’s only fair.”

Read the full story at GQ.com or see Beyoncé’s GQ photo shoot here