Rihanna covers UK’s Fabulous magazine, the photoshoot pictures are from SNL promo, you can check out the interview below…
She’s red hot
She’s a born survivor, a style icon and one of the biggest stars in the world today. Take A Bow, Rihanna. We’ve got a serious girl crush.
By Polly Holder & Beth Neil
Honestly, we should all hate Rihanna.
Those sultry, sulkily sexy looks coupled with the killer curves, the tough-talking, super-sassy attitude, not to mention that voice and the talent that has made her an international megastar. It’s a lethal combination that should have us seething with envy.
But it’s impossible to summon up anything other than total adoration for Ri-Ri. An ordinary 23-year-old girl who has achieved extraordinary things, surviving trauma in her childhood and heartbreak as an adult to become one of the most phenomenally successful female stars on the planet.
In short, we heart her.
Dressed in a mixture of high street and designer (she’s rocking Stella McCartney and Topshop today), the Barbados beauty is the epitome of style. Every inch of her 5ft 8in frame is honed and toned to perfection, but she still maintains a real womanly shape, topped off with that fierce shock of red hair we can’t take our eyes off… not many girls could pull off such a bold statement, but she looks truly incredible.
“I think I was ready for something new and loud and expressive,” she says of her do!
“It’s really adventurous – I wanted something that was fun, you know. I didn’t want a normal hair colour. I’d had blonde and it was so boring. Black is still my favourite, but I was looking for a colour that was edgy. I guess it was just the place I was in at that time. I felt like being spontaneous, and I also wanted to go for something extreme. I couldn’t do green or purple or pink, so red was like the fine line between normal and extreme!”
She giggles at the thought – Rihanna laughs a lot during our interview. It’s partly this mischievous sense of fun which makes men want to date her and women want to be her BFF.
“I think what my fans enjoy about me are my flaws and imperfections,” she says frankly.
“The fact that I’m rebellious and do things my way motivates them to be individuals. That’s all I care about, you know, people being themselves and living life to the fullest.”
Older and stronger
But that famous Rihanna chutzpah is diluted by a genuine vulnerability. Because beneath that headstrong, kick-ass exterior there’s a victim.
Yes there’s a steely self-belief – the sort of confidence that comes with 25 million album sales worldwide, a reported £70million in the bank, four Grammy Awards and the coveted Brit she won last month for Best International Female.
However, from the brutality of her early years with crack-addict father Ronald Fenty, now 57, through to the violence she experienced at the hands of ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, 21, it hasn’t been an easy ride.
Every hardship has driven Rihanna on, though. Whatever horrors life’s thrown at her, she won’t be broken.
“In life, with every negative or horrible thing that has happened or is happening, there’s always something great coming out of it that you can’t see at the time,” she says.
“Looking back at my childhood, I wouldn’t be the person that I am without it.
“I wanna be the woman that I am now – if I wasn’t, my skin wouldn’t be this thick and these are things that I need in an industry like this. So my childhood… definitely helped me to survive.
“I have a lot of great memories, actually. Somehow, the negativity holds a very small space in my mind and memory. I usually just think about the great things, like the beach [in Barbados where she grew up], learning how to swim and write, and catching fish. And most of those things I did with my father. So I seem to just focus on that.”
For years, Rihanna watched her accountant mother Monica, 49, endure Ronald’s beatings before the marriage finally ended in divorce nearly 10 years ago.
It’s Monica she credits as being the source of her great strength of character.
“My mother’s definitely had the most influence on me as a woman throughout my life,” says Rihanna. “Even now, I see a lot of her coming out in me, even in my facial expressions. When I was younger a lot of people would say: ‘You look like your mom.’ And I’d be like: ‘Oh, gross, never!’ Now, every time I see a video or something of mine I’m just like: ‘Wow, look, I’m Monica Fenty right there.’
“She raised me in a way that I could be responsible and fearless – she taught me a lot of things about life. She’s made me realise that it comes with consequences.
“You get what you put in, and that has stuck with me. Karma is a big, big thing for me. I always think about that, even now.”
Although it’s hard to believe, two years has passed since Rihanna pulled out of a planned appearance at the Grammy Awards following a row with her then-boyfriend, R&B singer Chris Brown. A leaked photograph from the Los Angeles Police Department revealed she’d sustained shocking facial injuries and the couple split soon after the incident.
Brown pleaded guilty to assault and was given five years’ probation with six months’ community service. He has battled to get his career back on track ever since.
Rihanna, however, went on to release her fourth and most emotional album to date, Rated R, and later admitted the violence hadn’t been a one-off.
“It’s relieving,” she said, finally breaking her silence on the story at the end of 2009, “because it was built up for so long, and all these thoughts and emotions have been running through my mind for the past eight months. And now it’s like I finally get to let go and move on.
“I wanted people to move on from it, cos the last big thing they know about me is that night. And I don’t want that to be what people define me as.”
Today, she’s not quite as forthcoming when the subject of Brown is broached. The mere mention of his name prompts a change in atmosphere and a sharp: “Excuse me?”
When asked again she snaps: “Next. You obviously want to talk about Chris Brown, I don’t.”
Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in 1988, Ri-Ri’s journey towards world domination began at the age of 15 when she was discovered by record producer Evan Rogers, who was holidaying on the island.
She moved to the States a year later and was quickly signed by label Def Jam. Her career took off in America with four top 10 hits and two top 10 albums, but it wasn’t until 2007 and a certain little ditty called Umbrella was released that Rihanna went stratospheric.
The single shot straight to the top of the UK charts, where it stayed for 10 weeks and became the biggest selling single of 2007 worldwide, shifting an astonishing 9 million copies.
Her 3rd album, Good Girl Gone Bad, reached the top spot in the UK, as did her latest offering and album number five, the dance-influenced Loud.
These are heady times for solo female artists, with the likes of Adele, Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry all dominating the charts. Not that there’s any competition between them, according to Rihanna (who is close enough to Katy to organise her hen do back in September).
She says: “I never focus on who or what is at the top, because when people become better at what they do individually, it’s noticed. And that’s all I want to be: an artist who was known for growing constantly and becoming bigger and better.
“It’s not about who’s better between Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. I’m more in competition with myself. I always challenge myself to do better next time. It doesn’t matter who’s at the top as long as I’m getting closer to that point every time. That’s all I care about.”
She maintains her words were taken out of context last year when she apparently dismissed Katy’s music as “generic pop”.
“I didn’t say that,” she says.”Did you see the interview? That’s not what I said. OK, if anything it was a diss to songwriters and producers who can’t make anything other than formula records. They’ll make a song and give it to Rihanna. If she doesn’t take it, they’ll give it to Katy, and if Katy doesn’t take it they’ll give it to Gaga. That’s not what we want. We like songs that scream our individuality. We like records that speak for who we are as artists and that are tailored to us.”
Of the three ladies, though, without doubt Rihanna is the one who oozes the most sexuality. The dance routines and videos are smoking hot (hell, her last single was called S&M!), but she claims that ‘sex symbol’ isn’t a label that she’s entirely at ease with.
Suggest it and her natural cool is momentarily replaced by a rather endearing embarrassment.
“Every time I hear that it’s definitely flattering, but also uncomfortable,” she confides. That’s not a priority on my list – being a sex symbol or being overly sexy. I’m just a normal woman. I don’t really focus on being a sex symbol.”
There are plenty of men who would disagree. Although she’s currently officially single, reports about Rihanna’s romantic entanglements regularly make the headlines. She broke up with baseball player boyfriend Matt Kemp, 26, at the end of last year amid rumours he was cheating and was then linked to Canadian rapper and actor Drake, 24, who she collaborated with on hit single What’s My Name?.
Most recently it was reported that she was enjoying the company of Reese Witherspoon’s ex-hubby Ryan Phillippe, 36. Lucky lady. She’s not giving much away today, but whatever’s really going on in her love life it certainly looks like she’s having a lot of fun.
Can she imagine ever walking down the aisle like Katy has done with Russell Brand?
“Not right now,” she giggles. “Maybe in the future, but that’s not on my agenda right now. No, I’m not ready for that.”
She probably hasn’t got time for a husband hunt, anyway. As well as embarking on a world tour, she’s also just released her first fragrance, Reb’l Fleur, and recently finished shooting debut movie Battleship alongside Liam Neeson and Swedish sexpot Alexander Skarsgård.
“I was so nervous,” she says, describing her first day on set. “My acting coach came with me to make sure that nothing was too foreign to me. And she was there every step of the way. She really helped.”
And the singer has no intention of taking her foot off the gas any time soon.
“I have a lot more I want to do before I’m 30,” she admits. “I want to venture off as an entrepreneur and have my own fashion and make-up lines – just experiment with the things that I love.
“I’m a rebel. A rebel flower. And that’s girlie, but tough, too – there’s always that strength and vulnerability.” She pauses and then smiles that gorgeous, sparkling smile. “There’s always something beautiful,” she says. “But there’s still an edge.”
That sounds like Rihanna to a T.
Rihanna’s not the only girl we’re crazy about…
1. Jessie J, 22
The Do It Like A Dude singer has set the music world alight with her unique sense of style and feisty pop. She picked up the Critics’ Choice award at the Brits last month and recently celebrated her first No.1 single with Price Tag. Basically, she’s amazing.
2. Nicki Minaj, 26
She’s been a breath of fresh air since hitting the hip-hop scene. We love a girl who pushes boundaries, and New Yorker Nicki does just that with her music and fashion. We predict big things for her.
3. Jaime Winstone, 25
Massively talented and totally down to earth. We love Jaime for all this and for the unashamed party animal in her. She’s chosen her acting roles wisely – we loved films Kidulthood and Made In Dagenham.
4. Adele, 22
OMG, whadda woman. She can reduce us to tears with the raw emotion of her performance and then have us in stitches with her chatter. Her latest album, 21, has topped both UK and US charts.
5. Lauren Laverne, 32
She’s been a rock star, TV presenter, DJ and author. Is there anything Lauren can’t do? She juggles her job on BBC 6 Music and Channel 4?s 10 O’Clock Live with being a mum to two boys. And she still looks fabulous. Natch.