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Kelsea Ballerini is a master manifester. The country star has a storied history of making her childhood dreams come true.
First, there’s the obvious: her career. As a kid, Ballerini dreamed of becoming a singer. She wrote her first song at 12, moved to Nashville at 15, and signed a record deal at 19. A year later she scored her first Number One with her debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It.” Then there’s her obsession with the Jonas Brothers. From an early age, young Kelsea recorded videos of herself professing her love for the band and performing their songs. Cut to 2021 when she joined the Bros on their “Remember This Tour” as the opening act.
Now the Grammy-nominated and multiple ACM and CMA Award-winning artist has spoken yet another childhood dream into existence. She has been named the newest face of Covergirl.
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“I do feel like I accidentally manifested my whole life,” Ballerini tells Rolling Stone. “Being a Covergirl has always been on the bucket list that I made when I was 13,” she says, adding that “I’m such a girly girl. Since I was little, I was always begging to play in makeup. My mom would be like, ‘Okay, you can wear clear mascara. Okay, you can wear tinted Chapstick.’ Finally, by high school, she was like, ‘I see that this is something you love. Go ahead.’”
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At the time, Covergirl epitomized the girl next door tween with which Kelsea identified. The same holds true today.
“I like being the girl next door,” the singer says. “That’s how I’ve always seen myself and I’ve tried to show that through my music. Covergirl is for the ‘every girl.’ It’s approachable. It’s universal.”
The brand also aligns with her musical stylings. Known for her earnest songwriting and true-to-life lyrics (see her latest Number One “Half of My Hometown,” an ode to growing up with big dreams in small town Tennessee), Ballerini can’t help but be relatable.
“For me, writing music has always been about my feelings and feelings are universal—we all have them,” she says. “Covergirl is an extension of that. It’s affordable, it’s easy to use, and it meets you where you are. It doesn’t make you feel like you need to be beautiful because you already are beautiful. The messaging is that you’re already good enough and that’s something that, as I’ve grown up and made more records, is at the heart of everything I do and everything I want to be about.”
It’s something she’s learned from the women who’ve paved her musical way—some of whom are Covergirls themselves.
“One of the most fundamental parts of my career has been the women that have come before me turning around and reaching out their hand to me,” she says. “That started with Taylor Swift. Shania has been a big part of that. Trisha Yearwood has been a part of that. Alison Krauss has been a part of that. These women turn around and they go, ‘I’ve been you. I see you. I understand you. Let me help you. Let me highlight you. I have this big platform that I’ve spent all these wonderful years building and I want to share it now.’ It’s a beautiful thing to do and they don’t have to do it.”
That list of powerful women now includes Dolly Parton, who not only performed alongside Ballerini at the ACM Awards in March, but who has also tapped the singer to co-star in the audiobook version of Run, Rose, Run, her James Patterson co-authored thriller.
“Dolly’s a singer, a songwriter, a businesswoman, an author, an activist, an actress—she’s everything. As I get deeper into my career, I ask myself, ‘What else?’ And I wouldn’t have the bravery to do that if not for women like Dolly.”
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Also on the horizon is a Covergirl collab coming this fall, but Ballerini isn’t ready to dish on the details just yet. Until then she’s basking in that new Covergirl glow and sticking to her tried and true favorite products: Clean Fresh Tinted Lip Balm and Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara.
In fact, she may be rocking both when she co-hosts the CMT Music Awards with actor Anthony Mackie on April 11. The show will also mark the first live performance of her new song “Heartfirst.” Ballerini took to social media last night to announce the single—the first from her forthcoming project—which is slated for release on April 8. It’s another bucket list moment for the star.
“When these things happen, it really is a reminder for me that I’m in the right place,” she says. “When those full circles close it’s like the universe or God’s way of saying, ‘You’re on the right path. Keep going.’”
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