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Jennifer Hudson Is “Fine & Fearless” For Essence: “I Am Stronger Than I Have Ever Been!”

Submitted by on December 10, 2013 – 10:36 amNo Comment

Jennifer Hudson is living under the spotlight.

The Grammy-Award winning singer burst onto the scene with her Oscar winning role as Effie in 2007′s Dreamgirls, and she is currently flexing her acting chops once more opposite Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Tyrese in this month’s Black Nativity. But the singer’s proudest moment was transforming into Winnie Mandela for the 2013 biopic co-starring Terrence Howard. In ESSENCE‘s January 2014 cover story, “Rare Air,” Ms. Hudson talks about mastering the role of a lifetime, while balancing time with the love of her life, fiancee David Otunga.

“I was so nervous about doing a good job that I started working on the accent a couple of months before I even got there,” Hudson explains of taking on the role of Nelson Mandela‘s first wife.

But Hudson worked tirelessly to honor the living legend. “So much was done to suppress Winnie’s voice,” she says, “to keep her quiet. Winnie’s story needed to be told.”

And while Hudson relished filming on location in South Africa, the star was hesitant to leave her husband and son, David, Jr., home. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God—You want me to leave my baby and my man?’” she explains. But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

“I just love being with him,” she says. “We have so much fun. We’ve shared so many special moments, like when we flew down to Key West last summer for a friend’s wedding. I’m on the road so much for work that I didn’t even want to go…but David persuaded me to go and it was just the two of us. We’re usually surrounded by so many people that it’s tough to have privacy. But on this trip we could party with our friends, then just disappear for hours…It was so freaking fun.”

With her acting career in full swing this past year, Jennifer is focusing her energy into a new album, which will hopefully debut in 2014. “I spent my twenties figuring out what I wanted to do, and trying everything,” Hudson says of her new sound. “But by 30, my foundation was set. I became confident and clear about the path I wanted to take…Now I’ve really settled into myself. And I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.”

Listen to Jennifer reveal more about her upcoming album, which she collaborated on with Pharrell Williams and Timbaland, below. ESSENCE’s January issue is on newsstands now.

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