The Totality: Rihanna | ELLE Magazine
Let’s just call Rihanna what she is: the coolest woman on the planet—with beauty, talent, attitude, and personal style to spare. Here, the global megastar answers questions from a cross-section of her famous fans.
Somewhere between releasing her debut single “Pon de Replay” (to blitzkrieg effect) in 2005 and sitting down to discuss international education with Emmanuel Macron in 2017, Rihanna has become much more than a pop star. The music is still absolutely vital, yes—her eighth album, Anti, which has been kicking up dust on the dance charts since it dropped last year, was deemed by Forbes to be one of the most successful recordings of all time—but as an icon, she represents something far greater: what a woman can achieve when she tackles her career, and her life, on her own terms. Rihanna is always fearlessly, unapologetically herself, whether she’s making maverick fashion choices on the red carpet, calling out body shamers, or adding yet another unmistakably RiRi-stamped endeavor to her string of (singer-actress-designer-entrepreneur-philanthropist-etcetera-etcetera) hyphenates. We can now add beauty mogul to that list.
The singer has poured her uncompromising attitude into a much-awaited makeup line, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, poised to launch with a big bang of 91 products on September 8 at Sephora (expect lines) and on the brand’s website (Internet = broken). Its focus, perhaps surprisingly from a practiced maquillage peacock who has been known to rock vivid blue and ink-black lipstick with defiant flair, is gleaming, satiny, flawless skin, built around an assortment of user-friendly highlighting and contouring sticks, and a whopping 40 shades of foundation. “The biggest void I’ve found in the industry is the lack of variety in foundation shades,” Rihanna tells us. “That’s one of the things that was most important to me—to make sure everyone was included.” It’s a nod, too, to the complexion-perfecting gateway drug that ushered the Barbados native into beauty in the first place: “Foundation was the first product I ever owned,” she says. “It was like magic, and I’ve been in love with makeup ever since.”
Avidly hands-on throughout the collection’s development, Rihanna helmed everything from the playful name selection (there’s a gold powder highlighter, for instance, dubbed Trophy Wife) to the packaging, which, like its creator, is multifaceted, with tough, graffiti-inspired outer boxes opening onto sleek, streamlined, sweetly pretty individual products. “There are plenty of options out there when it comes to makeup,” Rihanna says. “My approach with Fenty Beauty was just to do things my way.”
19 QUESTIONS FOR RIHANNA, FROM 20 OF HER FRIENDS AND FANS