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  • Gwen Stefani, the reigning queen of rock, headlines Elle magazine’s special women in music issue. It goes beyond the usual suspects and highlights some rising indie performers. But Stefani holds center stage, and the cover.

    The 41-year-old singer talks about what it’s like to be in a celebrity marriage to Gavin Rosdale, her fashion sense, her admitted vanity and her thoughts on rising megastars like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

    She calls her 2002 marriage to Brit grunge rocker Rossdale one of her biggest achievements.

    “The first time we ever kissed was right around Valentine’s Day – we were in New Orleans on tour.

    Check out some of Elle’s women in music.
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    “So, yeah, I always think about that because it’s unbelievable that we’ve been able to stay together. I feel so proud of us – it’s one of my biggest achievements.”

    Stefani and Rossdale hit a rough patch in 2004, after a paternity test reveal that he had a child from a previous relationship.

    A year later, Gwen became pregnant with son Kingston, and famously shouted at a concert, “I want you to sing so loud that the baby hears it.”

    But she confirms now that performing while pregnant was no fun.

    “It was horrible. Certain songs would make me want to puke. You feel pretty gross when you are first pregnant. You don’t feel cute, you feel disgusting. You’re getting fat. It was hard,” she tells the magazine.

    She now has a second child, Zuma.

    Stefani is known for her trend-setting fashion sense and her glamorous looks, but rest assured she works at it. “I mean, I’m very vain. That would be my middle name. Of course I am, you know what I mean? I love the visual,” she says.

    Stefani made most of the clothing that she wore on stage with her band “No Doubt,” creating eclectic combinations that somehow worked, although almost anything would look good on her.

    She now has two clothing lines, L.A.M.B and Harajuku Lovers.

    As an artist, Stefani has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, and her single “Hollaback Girl” was the first song to sell one million digital downloads.

    Now, a whole crop of newcomers, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, has come up behind her with similar sound and style. But Gwen sees herself in a class of her own.

    “Really? I don’t see myself in those girls. I usually put pants on. I see these girls as more going for the sex-symbol thing,” she says.

    “I was more, in the band, like a tomboy. Of course, I think every girl is sexy, so there’s going to be a little of that. But I see a lot of younger artists going more toward the sexy thing.”

    Check out some of the artists that Elle thinks are defining music and read more about Gwen and the others at the magazine.