Meeting a superstar for the first time is a nervous thing: you never know what to expect. So, even looking at the soothing smooth surface of the Hudson from the roof of the Manhattan photo studio, where we were supposed to shoot Rihanna, I was very worried. And then the elevator bell rang, the doors opened, and she entered.
It was 2007, I was working as a junior beauty editor, and Rihanna had just released her third mega-successful album Good Girl Gone Bad and was the most popular singer in the world. But I saw not a marvel, but a young woman, like a million in the New York subway at rush hour: in an oversized hoodie, jeans, a knitted hat and accompanied by two Barbados girlfriends. She shook hands and smiled at every member of the film crew. And then she turned to me - here I put my notebook aside, expecting the same greeting - took a step forward and hugged me with the words: "Well hello, I'm Robin." And at that very moment it became clear what kind of person was hiding under the guise of a super-cool super-rich superstar. Robyn Rihanna Fenty was real - not feigned, but honestly real. A simple black girl who didn't play her status so muchso as not to recognize a girl as black as herself.
Despite all the fame, Rihanna in some incomprehensible way always remained "her" - but only for her, of course. And each of us felt it perfectly. Her position as a global celebrity with tens of millions of Instagram followers has undoubtedly helped her move forward where others face insurmountable obstacles. But she never hid her head in the sand and did not miss the opportunity to convey the truth to those in power, using all available means. In 2018, she turned down a lucrative Super Bowl offer in solidarity with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was effectively kicked out of the National Football League after kneeling down to protest systemic racism and police brutality during the American anthem.Accepting the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) award in February 2020, Rihanna called on people of all races to stand up for justice and “fit in” for those who are discriminated against. This spring, as the coronavirus hit the U.S. population - and especially the African American community - the nonprofit Clara Lionel Foundation (founded by the singer in 2012 and named after her recently departed grandmother Clara Braithwaite and 91-year-old grandfather Lionel Braithwaite) gathered over 36 millions of dollars to combat the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic. And it was Rihanna who was among the first celebrities to react to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. "If willful MURDER is a fair punishment for 'drugs' or 'resisting arrest',then what should be the punishment for MURDER !!! " - she wrote on her instagram.
In the 13 years that have passed since we met, Rihanna has not only strengthened her position in the music industry, but also built a real beauty and fashion empire. It includes cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty, fashion brand Fenty, created in partnership with LVMH and based in Paris, Savage x Fenty lingerie collection and the highly anticipated Fenty Skin skin care line, which the singer launched in July.
Phenomenal success in several areas at the same time is the lot of a very small number of people, and among them, you will be surprised, there are almost no dark-skinned women. Seriously, try to remember someone other than Oprah! Even if you can, the list will be short and Rihanna will rightfully take one of the first places in it. The achievement is all the more impressive because in the process she did not sacrifice her identity for a second. Her uncompromising self-confidence and pride in her Afro-Guyanese-Barbados roots is visible in every product, every advertising image, and in almost every shade name (remember, for example, Cuz I'm Black eyeliner). And that's why I was not in the least bit surprised at how the Fenty Beauty brand shot up right after launching in 2017. According to Forbes, in just six weeks, his revenues were $ 100 million.and by the end of the first year they reached 550 million. By creating a makeup collection that caters to the needs of girls of all races, Rihanna has sparked a titanic shift in an industry historically focused on white women. Fenty Beauty has had 40 foundation shades from the start - twice as many other makeup brands. (Since then, thanks to the so-called Fenty effect, this figure has become the norm for new launches.)(Since then, thanks to the so-called Fenty effect, this figure has become the norm for new launches.)(Since then, thanks to the so-called Fenty effect, this figure has become the norm for new launches.)
И все же главная причина триумфа кроется не в конкретных продуктах. Конечно, важно дать темнокожим девушкам подходящий тональник, но еще важнее донести послание: я вижу тебя, даже когда никто больше не замечает. «Непоколебимая уверенность Рианны в том, что красота должна быть доступна всем, изменила игру, - говорит актриса Трейси Эллис Росс, которая сама недавно запустила бренд косметики для кудрявых волос Pattern. - Она как будто прислала нам приглашение в мир без границ и стереотипов». Тот же трюк певица провернула и с Fenty Skin. После двух лет разработок она представила линию из трех многофункциональных продуктов: универсального очищающего средства, тоника-сыворотки и увлажняющего крема с SPF. «Я всегда воспринимала Fenty не просто как бренд декоративной косметики. Я хотела дойти до истоков, до ухода за кожей, - объясняет Рианна. - Мне нужно было все сделать правильно, пожить с этими формулами, тщательно их протестировать. Поэтому процесс немного затянулся».
As for makeup, the future star's interest in it arose in childhood. In 2007, during our conversation over fried rice from a nearby restaurant, Rihanna told the story of her mom, who worked in a department store like Sephora: “She knew a lot about perfume, cosmetics and all that. But I was never allowed to paint, although I really wanted to try. So as soon as she left the house, I immediately started playing with her jars and tubes. " Rihanna realized early on that there is no equal sign between beauty and appearance: your search, your personality and how you perceive yourself are no less important than facial features or body type. And now, through the small world of the beauty industry, she influences the big world around - a world in which not only tall zero-size blondes live, but also full dark-skinned brunettes with their own ideas about strength, success and, yes,beauty. Rihanna opened doors for women of all races, sizes, orientations and beliefs, gave them the opportunity to be heard and seen. And it's not just about a working scheme for a successful capitalization, but about the reality that it constantly creates around itself. Why am I so sure? Because sincere beliefs are as difficult to imitate as a sincere welcoming hug. No concealer will help here.