On a bright Friday morning in lower Manhattan, Beyoncé Knowles is dining in a back room of the haute sushi mecca Nobu, which opened early at her request. "I was in bed literally 20 minutes ago," she tells me with a husky, homey laugh. Beyoncé is mostly unadorned—the only jewelry she wears are large leaf-thin filigree earrings that sway lightly beneath a wall of hair. But when she takes her chopsticks and lifts a hunk of sashimi to her lips, I catch a glimpse of some sort of black lettering on the silver acrylic nails on her left hand.
"Can I see?" I ask.
And suddenly Beyoncé becomes bashful. "It's nothing," she says, letting her left hand slip below the table and out of sight. "They're just reminders," she offers.
"Reminders of what, exactly?"
"Happiness," she says, with a coy tilt of her head. "They just make me smile when I'm working."
"Here," she says, finally offering her left hand, and blushing like the newlywed she is. Spelled out on her index, middle, and ring fingers are the appliquéd letters J-A-Y; on the thumb is a mini likeness of Mr. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, the world's preeminent rapper, wearing a *** Yankees cap and a *** smile.
Beyoncé giggles at herself. "It's just a silly thing that makes me smile," she repeats. And then she's off to work.