Coming to the audition at six in the evening, young Robyn Fenty was so charming that Jay-z himself asked her to stay - and by two 2 a.m. signed a contract. His intuition did not deceive him: furious charisma, talent and determination of young Barbadian turned her into the idol of millions. Today Rihanna is one of the most popular singers of all time, more than 20 million copies of her albums and 60 million singles have been sold out around the world. Rihanna wrote many of her compositions herself. Journalists joke that she has "modest Barbadian habits: burning rolls of cash, smoking a bong and walking in a luxurious wet fur coat on a bare body." Rihanna actually constantly tests the strength of the permissible limits, but does not suffer from star disease. In an interview with us, she spoke honestly about life in immigration, her fears, strength and victories over herself.
You performed in Baku in 2012. What impression did the city make on you?
For me to perform in a country where I have never performed before is always a special event. So many fans will be able to see you live for the first time!
Coming to the United States from Barbados, you probably faced problems due to skin color. How has the situation changed since then?
People often forget that if I go anywhere but Barbados, I still remain an immigrant - and I am not ashamed of that word. I know that a person can start from zero and achieve everything, even play a leading role, regardless of chosen the field of activity. In the world, millions of such Rihannas, and they are treated as trash. So, if you love me, you have to love others like me. And in general, be kinder to people.
Cicero said that the biggest victories are those that we win over ourselves. What is the greatest victory you have won over yourself?
We usually need time to realize ourselves and understand how to be content with what you have, but once you learn to love yourself, you will win the greatest victory in life. The moment you learn to love and accept yourself as you are, everything changes. You start living for yourself and stop worrying about what others think.
You once said that Robyn is you, and Rihanna is what people think of you. What's the difference between Robyn and Rihanna?
If someone calls me Robyn, I feel a little weird: this means that I really know this person. As for the name Rihanna, this is rather an image that people created for themselves. So, I don't really respond to the people who call me Rihanna. But if someone calls me Robyn, then I immediately turn on, because it is certainly a member of my family or a very close friend of mine.
What is your purpose in life?
I want to be happy; I want my Ioved ones to be happy. But, given my career, I want to continue to go beyond creativity, and not only for the sake of the process itself. I want to do both in music and in fashion something that no one has done before. In everything that I do now, I want to pay tribute to our differences, while being well aware that they give us uniqueness.
You break the rules, you forgive resentments, you fight... You are confident in yourself and do not like to demonstrate your weaknesses. Where do you draw your strength?
Women are the strongest creatures in the world. All women have this power, but it must be found inside. We need to accept ourselves as we are, and then do what makes us and our loved ones happy. When you stop paying attention to the opinion of people of little importance to you, you will feel a huge surge of strength...
Who instilled in you body positivity and love for yourself?
I grew up surrounded by independent women who became my role models. My grandmother and mother were strong and independent, albeit forced, and achieved their goals. I am so grateful to them for the example they set for me!
Rihanna not only enjoys living in her body, but also makes it possible for everyone to feel attractive, regardless of age, weight, proportions of the figure and skin features. 57-year-old film star Demi Moore and bodypositive activist Lizzo participated in the shows of Savage x Fenty underwear, and in the fall of 2020, male models also appeared there, and the plus-size model Steven G posed for the advertising campaign. The reaction immediately followed: people wrote that this gives them confidence in themselves. Almost at the same time, another advertising campaign came out - women who had breast cancer starred in it. No retouching was required: like in the advertisement of jewelry, where scarring was visible on the cheek of the model, it was possible to see the scars from the mastectomy. Rihanna, by her own admission, is a "control freak" - she personally participates in everything that her brand does, and in each campaign you can catch the main message: we are all different, and this is beautiful! She advocates that people accept themselves as they are. However, Rihanna does not satisfy with just beautiful picture: her lingerie brand Savage x Fenty made a financial contribution to the Clara Lionel Foundation, which sponsors oncological disease research. This charity fund, also established by Rihanna in 2012, provides assistance to people in emergency situations. For example, in the midst of the pandemic this fund allocated $4.2 million to help victims of domestic violence.
What's Robin afraid of?
I struggle with my fears - they do not lead to anything good. I try to be careful about fame: from the outside it looks very attractive, but you need to try hard so that it does not prevail over you. Sometimes you just need to "take a day off" and spend time with people who knew you before you became famous.
Rumor has it, that at the very beginning of your career, your contract included a ban on red lipstick and calling outfit. What happened between the second and third albums, when the "good" girl suddenly gone "bad"?
The first steps in business are always frightening, and you tend to agree with other people's requests and wishes. The longer you are in this area, the more confidence you have - for example, in self-expression. Now, I wear some clothes only because I like it and I want to express myself in this way, and this has nothing to do with others.
You said that when everything comes easy, it becomes boring to live. What was the hardest thing for you to achieve? Which solution was the most difficult?
Everything I do must be perfect - whether it's music or clothes. I do not want to make products that do not bring me 100% satisfaction. This is not easy: you have to work a lot, and the result may be far from expected. But in the end, the effort pays off.
Rihanna is credited with the "subtle art of ubiquity": she is able to engage in many projects at the same time. In 2018, she became the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Barbados in education, tourism and investment. By the way, compatriots are very proud of her and every year on February 22 they celebrate "Rihanna Day." In addition, she manages to star in films, produce clothes, shoes, decorative and skincare cosmetics Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin, create underwear Savage x Fenty, known for being designed for a variety of body types, and even work with the shark in shoe business Manolo Blahnik. Rihanna also participates in a number of other collaborations, for example, with such fashion brands as Armani and River Island. She took the post of creative director of Puma, became the first black model to star in the Dior advertising campaign. Balmain advertising campaign with her participation caused a real commotion in the press... In 2016, Rihanna released six signature perfumes, in 2020 she gave another reason to talk about herself, creating the "ticktocker house" Fenty Beauty TikTok Home, where you can shoot videos for a popular social network.
You are working on many different projects at the same time. How do you deal with time management?
For me, a career has never been routine. I do not mind working around the clock: to develop my business and create music that I can be proud of... Career gives me purpose and reassurance, but if you do not leave time for yourself, you will burn out even at your favorite job. Sometimes I celebrate two or three days in my calendar with the letter P - personal time, personal time for rest and activities that bring me pleasure. This is extremely important for mental health!
You came into show business at a young age. What is the difference between your work at the age of 18 and now?
Lot of things in art depend on who I am, what I feel, what I have experienced and what experience I have gained. It is logical that with age my work also changes. Developing cosmetics and clothing lines, I now pay much more attention to inclusivity and other various aspects than I did in my youth. And this is quite natural, because now I know a lot more.
Name something that you never go on a trip without?
Comfort is the main key for me on trips. I'm a big sneaker lover, so I'm wearing my Puma Fenty Slides more often. They look so cool, and you can put them on and off in one movement - very convenient for trips and flights!