“I mean, my art pieces are like my children…. I’m looking at my walls and it just makes me sad, because I miss seeing all my babies there.”
A recent post from Tina Knowles-Lawson on Instagram shows her and husband Richard Lawson boarding a plane wearing matching Ivy Park outfits, the athleisure line designed by Knowles-Lawson’s daughter Beyoncé. “When I got downstairs to leave we were both dressed in Ivy Park. Not planned at all!!!” her caption reads. “So here we are!!! Twinning by accident!!!!”
Knowles-Lawson is well-known for her boisterous Instagram account—she’s been called The Queen of Instagram and praised for having a “flawless” feed—where she publishes supportive posts of her daughters, Beyoncé and Solange; shows off her successes at bowling and vegetarian cooking; and reposts inspirational quotes.
Knowles-Lawson is also a designer herself, making many of the clothes worn by Beyoncé and her Destiny’s Child bandmates. (She also designed Beyoncé’s 2008 wedding dress.) When Beyoncé won the CFDA Fashion Icon award in 2016, she dedicated it to her mother, saying in her speech, “When I wore [her] clothes I felt like Khaleesi. I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.”
These days, Knowles-Lawson spends much of her time running the L.A. nonprofit Where Art Can Occur Theater Center (WACO) that she co-founded with Lawson. WSJ. caught up with her at the Study Hall sustainability conference at the end of January. Here, she tells us about her family group chat, her hair and beauty routines and the best piece of advice she’s ever gotten. What do you eat for breakfast to start the week off right?
Oatmeal with sliced bananas and walnuts. I’ve given up caffeine going on a little bit over two weeks now.
You’re well-known on Instagram. Do you check it when you wake up?
Usually I do check it in those first few minutes after I wake up at 6:30 a.m. Just to see, because it’s like the latest news.
Is there anything you do on Mondays to prevent yourself from having a bad week?
One of my things is my 15 minutes of prayer and meditation. If I don’t do that, I don’t have a smooth week or a smooth day.
You’re an art collector—what’s the importance of surrounding yourself with art? Is it part of starting your day off right?
Absolutely. I mean, my art pieces are like my children. I just lent some of my art pieces to Beyoncé for her new project that she’s doing, and I’m looking at my walls and it just makes me sad, because I miss seeing all my babies there. Art is so important because it inspires us. It is really important to surround your children, growing up African-American, with images of positive reinforcement and not the traditional ideas of what commercials say beauty is. It really makes a difference in your life.
You also owned a salon for many years. What’s your hair-care routine like?
It’s pretty easy. I believe in conditioning, of course, and taking care of the hair. So once a week I shampoo the hair and blow-dry it, curl it, with deep conditioning. I do olive-oil packs on it.
What about your beauty routine? Do you have a product you can’t live without?
Yes, right now I use La Prairie. I use a Shiseido cleanser. I’m really a stickler about taking care of my skin, because I’m 66 years old and I didn’t really start taking care of my skin until I was about 40. So I’m really into getting facials and staying out of the sun.
How do you keep up with your busy family? Do you have a group chat or anything like that?
We group text all the time, and that’s how I keep up, because I have girls who are super busy on different parts of the continent. And a lot of times I find out what they’re doing by looking at Instagram.
What’s your workout schedule?
I work out five days a week. I do dance with my husband and the people who are at his school [Richard Lawson Studios]. We go in and have dance in the morning. On Mondays we also meet with our mentoring group [Tina’s Angels and Richard’s Warriors at WACO]—the kids that we mentor who are 12 to 16, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. So that’s a big day. Right now we have a class of 30. We just got to take 10 kids to Ghana, so we just got back from that. It was amazing.
What’s one piece of advice that you’ve gotten that’s guided you?
It sounds corny, but it’s true: to really strive to be as beautiful on the inside as you worry about being on the outside. I think that’s been the biggest life lesson for me. My mom said it all the time. I didn’t get it when I was young, but I absolutely get it now.