The Summer of Kelsea Ballerini

The Summer of Kelsea Ballerini featured image
Photographed by John Russo at Canoe Studios; Styling: Andrew Gelwicks for The Only Agency; Makeup: Kelsey Deenihan at The Wall Group using CoverGirl; Hair: Brittany Leslie at The Wall Group using Pantene; Nails: Mo Qin at The Wall Group using Aprés Nail Official
This article first appeared in the Summer 2024 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

Kelsea Ballerini doesn’t consider herself to be a “go-with-the-flow” type of person. It’s T-minus 48 hours before fashion’s biggest event of the year—the Met Gala—and the singer-songwriter still hasn’t seen her Michael Kors gown in person, nor has she tried it on.

And the nerves are starting to set in.

“Let me show you what I know; I know it has flowers!” the 30-year-old excitedly shares as she whips out her phone to show sketches. She’s straight off the plane from a girl’s trip to the Bahamas for an early-morning photo shoot in New York, but her energy level is unwavering.

“I’m excited, but I’m nervous! Very nervous. Chase will be with me on the red carpet, so that helps. You know I’m such a girly-girl, so I’m ready to play dress-up, but there are a lot of unknowns since it’s my first time attending. I’ve been told the bathroom selfies are the only time you should really take your phone out. I’ve also heard that I need to get numbing spray for my feet and Band-Aids for my clutch, which I have on lock. What can I say, I’m a Virgo!”

Astrological signs and Band-Aids aside, Ballerini also seems to have it on-lock this summer. While she may be best known for being a multiplatinum songwriter and producer, she is still the only female country artist to rake in three consecutive number-one singles from a debut album. She also has two of the biggest beauty deals in the industry: She’s not only a CoverGirl, but also a face of Pantene and one of the brand’s Healthy Hair Ambassadors. If that weren’t enough, she has a new single this summer, an album rumored to be coming out in the fall, and a new prime-time TV gig that she’s weeks away from filming.

After a rather public divorce, she also has boyfriend Chase Stokes and her open-aired Jeep by her side this summer, which are two more reasons for the big smile on her face.

kelsea ballerini wearing orange dress
Full Look: ETRO; Earrings: Ashaha; Rings: Lionheart, David Yurman, Guita M

Your career is really taking off and I heard you may have a new job in the works. What can you tell us?

“Yes! I think I can share this! I am going to be a coach on The Voice. Before I leave, I’m finishing the album and cramming in as much real life as I can. Then I go to LA July through September to go try on a new career for a minute.”

Congrats. Are you excited about moving to LA? I know you’re a Nashville girl.

“Am I excited about moving to LA? Not at all. LA makes me shake in my boots! I’m really excited to do something so out of my comfort zone and to have this opportunity—an opportunity where I’m still invested in music, but in a different way. I’m excited to take some of what I’ve learned over the last decade and try to help other people. I’m excited to try something new.”

Right now, I’m just cramming as much into life as I can.

A lot has changed for you since we last spoke two years ago, both personally and professionally. But you seem really happy.

“What isn’t new since last time we talked? My Saturn return really kicked my ass. The last two years have been the biggest transformation, but in a good way. I feel like I’ve grown up into someone I’m really proud of, and that includes being someone who’s still actively trying to grow.

I don’t know…maybe it’s turning 30, or what I’ve learned in the past 10 years, or what I’ve been through in the last two, but I’m very attracted to growth and trying new things right now. I’m trying not to stay too stagnant in my life, but I’m also focused on finding balance. I feel like everything is a bit unrecognizable—in a good way.”

Kelsea Ballerini wearing a flower dress with watermark on image
Dress: Jean-Louis Sabaji; Earrings: Maria Tash; Rings: Goshwara, Ali Weiss Jewelry, EF Collection

That’s good. Now you have your two big beauty deals. Congrats. That must have been huge when you got those calls.

“When I moved to Nashville, I was 15 and I had a bucket list. Obviously I’ve added to it, and I’ve taken away from it, and I’ve crossed stuff off from it, but both the CoverGirl and Pantene partnerships are so huge. I remember being a preteen and going through the magazines and seeing the commercials on TV, and I honestly can’t believe I’m an ‘Easy, Breezy, Beautiful CoverGirl.’ I’m still starry-eyed over it.”

You said you’re going to try to make some time for fun this summer. What does that look like for you?

“I want to explore the West Coast. I’ll have my dog with me and I’m excited to take days off and get out there, rent a car and do what I do when I’m back home in Nashville: Put the windows down and go drive and see what’s going on.”

kelsea ballerini orange dress 2
Full Look: ETRO; Earrings: Ashaha; Rings: Lionheart, David Yurman, Guita M

I know you talk a lot about rest and mental health. What do you do when you are so busy to leave work at work at the end of the day?

“I do therapy once a week. I’ve never been this consistent with it, and I’ve noticed that it’s incredibly helpful to keep to that schedule. I think I’ve finally learned how to have a ‘switch.’ I used to always pride myself on, ‘I’m going to be the same all the time!’ I hope that I am at my core—I know that I am at my core—but now there is a bit of a switch that I’m able to turn off when I’m in my real life and in my jeans and with my friends, my boyfriend, my dog, my mom or dad, or whomever. I’m able to ‘click’ into being a 30-year-old woman, daughter, friend…and just try to be present for that.”

Is it hard when there is so much interest in your life? Do you have a part of your life that is just for you?

“I don’t mind. I don’t mind because I don’t have too much of a duality. What I post is very much who I am. Even on stage, that is who I am. Sure, everything is a bit more dramatic and amplified, but it’s still who I am at my core. I never have to overthink too much. Is someone going to be disappointed if they came to a show and then they come up to me at dinner and I wasn’t what they expected? I don’t have to overthink that too much because I don’t have too much of a duality of a personality.”

kelsea ballerini pink dress grid with watermark
Dress: Christian Cowan; Earrings: Nickho Rey; Rings: David Yurman; Shoes: Roger Vivier

That’s great. My last question: What would you tell that girl who showed up with her mom in Nashville 15 years ago?

“Not a damn thing. I really wouldn’t. I feel like there’s literally nothing I would want to know. Everything happens the way it’s supposed to, even if it’s not exactly how you thought it would turn out. I’m really proud of both my past and my experience. It hasn’t been perfect, and I haven’t been perfect at all, but it has happened perfectly.”

Related Posts

Find a Doctor

Find a NewBeauty "Top Beauty Doctor" Near you

Give the Gift of Luxury

NewBeauty uses cookies for various reasons, including to analyze and improve its content and advertising. Please review our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for more about how we use this data. By continuing to use this site, you agree to these policies.