Featured in the first digital cover of The New York Times Style Magazine, the Bajan star sat down with the publication to talk about her historic business accomplishments and the journey behind it.
With several collaborations with prestigious labels, her stint as the creative director of PUMA, not to mention her success in the beauty and lingerie industries, Rihanna has undoubtedly proven herself worthy of helming LVMH’s first luxury fashion house created from scratch—an achievement that’s doubly significant since it makes her the first Black woman to ever claim this feat—something which Rihanna said she wasn’t even aware of when she first started the project.
“I didn’t even know that until months into our relationship, when Jahleel [Weaver] (her stylist and the label’s style director) brought it to my attention. And I’m like, ‘Are you sure about that? Did you do your research? ’Cause I don’t wanna state a claim that’s [expletive].’ Because I still couldn’t believe it. It made me feel proud,” she said.
When asked about the revolutionary 40 distinct shades in the first run of Fenty Beauty, Rihanna shared that her “diverse” background organically affected that decision. “In my own household, my father is half black, half white. My mom is black from South America. I was seeing diversity. That’s all I knew. Growing up, I wanted to be darker, always. So, making makeup, it wasn’t even a thing I had to think about,” she admitted. “I didn’t even really know how bad it was, the void in the market for dark foundation, because all I’d seen was black women put makeup on. I don’t even think 40 shades is enough! And so I added ten more recently, and we’re not gonna stop there,” she said.
Representation and diversity certainly seems to be a priority for Rihanna when it comes to her designs—this also applies to body sizes. “You wear what looks good on you and that’s it,” she said. “I’m thick and curvy right now, and so if I can’t wear my own stuff then, I mean, that’s not gonna work, right?”
Jahleel further stresses that the mission of Fenty “is to really speak to how multifaceted today’s woman is. We’re thinking about each release as a different facet to a woman’s wardrobe and how she approaches dressing.” She adds, “Luxury has been defined in the past as one woman, one brand: You know who the Saint Laurent woman is, you understood who the Céline woman was when it was Phoebe. Which is fine, but you think about how that relates to the modern woman. I don’t think she is just one thing, Rih being the perfect example of that.”