It’s been a long time since actress Nia Long made her acting debut and impressed a nation with her natural beauty and it seems that two decades later, the 41 year old actress still manages to amaze her fans with her stunning physique and age defying appearance. The actress who would put women half her age to shame landed the cover of Essence August 2012 where she posed happily alongside her two sons, Massai and baby Kez, right before sitting down for a quick chat with one of the magazine’s editors and gushing on being in the best shape of her life, future plans, motherhood and more.

Despite the fact that she’s never been married and has two children, Massai with her ex fiancé, actor Massai Z. Dorsey, and a baby boy, Kez Sunday, with basketball player Ime Udoka, Nia says that she’s not desperate to get married as she explains: “marriage is not a priority for me. I’m not saying I’ll never do it. It’s just not where we are as a family.”

Pregnancy, most importantly pregnancy weight scares most women, but it seems that Nia was not easily intimidated to give birth to her son Kez in her 40s. Now, the actress looks happier than ever and is in the best shape she’s been in a while as she tells the magazine that:

“I’m in my forties, post baby and I’m thinner than I’ve been in years. The last step will be letting my hair go natural. That’s when you’ll know I’m free…”

They say a woman projects what she’s feeling through her looks and the actress looks radiant and oozes happiness on the cover of Essence as she poses alongside her two boys. Women generally admit feeling fulfilled and transformed after welcoming a child into their lives and it seems that motherhood has also transformed Nia as she confesses that:

“I’m a lot calmer. Less clingy and demanding. When Ime has to be gone for long stretches at a time, as he had to the first few months after Kez was born, I took it as an opportunity to nest. It had been a minute since I had an infant and I had to get back into the rhythm of being a new mom. I really enjoyed having the space to do that at my own pace. Motherhood is not easy, but it’s natural. I worked hard to have the career I wanted, but I’ve also been deliberate about my personal life. None of this is a mistake.”

Find out more about Nia Long by checking out her complete interview and spread featured in the August 2012 issue of Essence. Photos courtesy of Essence