Rita Ora Talks Confidence & Curves

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Rita Ora loves to experiment with beauty looks.

Singer and actress Rita Ora is fearless when it comes to beauty. Thanks to wigs, extensions, and an obsession with makeup, she always has a new look. Rita is currently rocking a blonde pixie cut, but this past year she’s had a 1940s Hollywood starlet waves, a choppy bob, and a straight, pink style. “It’s all about having fun,” the 24-year-old star told me.

The pop star whose family fled from Kosovo to London when she was only a year old, is a household name in England. She has teamed up with Drake, Jay-Z, and Iggy Azalea on singles. A stunning and confident style icon, Rita has also collaborated with a line for Adidas, and has ventured into acting with roles in Southpaw and Fifty Shades of Grey. With her new Oh My Gloss! lipcolor collaboration with Rimmel London out this week, Rita and I talked beauty, confidence, and curves.

Bobbi Brown: Hey Rita, it’s Bobbi Brown. How are you?
Rita Ora: Well hello Bobbi Brown! I’d like to say that my name is Bobbi Brown.

It would definitely be cool to trade names and places for a day. Congratulations on your new Rimmel campaign.

Thank you very much. It’s actually my second collection with them. It’s a really cool collab. It was really something I wanted to get into. I was really obsessed with the boldness of the colors. I went to the factory and met the whole gang. I wanted to do a spectrum that was really opposite my personality, which was girliness. I’m not really the girliest person in the world, and it’s lovely to see the pastel pinks. I like to experiment with my look and my image.

I have to tell you, you are so stunning. I noticed you normally rock a red lip. I don’t see you so much in a nude face or without makeup. Do you ever go with more nude shades?

My personal favorite is red, but a lot of people have told me that the nudes and the browns suit me more. Recently I’ve been definitely a bit more comfortable with it. We shot Elle Canada the cover yesterday, and it’s my second nude [makeup] cover, which is a bit crazy, but it looks really cool. I think it was definitely a confidence mask starting out, but now I’m getting into it and really understanding it. I’m starting to experiment more, especially with my eye makeup.

Rita Ora wearing her new lipgloss line for Rimmel London. Photo: Rimmel London

Have you always been so comfortable with your face and your body? You definitely seem to be.

No I wasn’t. It’s a great façade, Bobbi. It’s a whole character of mine. I matured much earlier when I was growing up. I started my period when I was, like 13. I started to get breasts and a butt way younger than other kids. I went to musical theater school where we would wear leotards for dance classes, so you couldn’t really hide anything. I used to get bullied for it. And then at 16, when peoples’ hormones started kicking in, I was all hot again. I think it definitely was a crazy teenage confusion for me. Meeting my fans now they’re like, “Thank you so much for being so comfortable in your skin.” I think they are more grateful for that than for anything. It’s important for someone’s state of mind to feel comfortable instead of feeling like they have to fit in all the time.

It’s not easy for women or girls, so the more we see celebrities kind of rock it and feel good, the better.

You know, the one thing I loved is the campaign you did with Kate Upton. That for me was so amazing to see. For example, when I saw that campaign in the stores, I was like, this is great, because she has tits and she’s comfortable—she’s got curves. It was such a nice thing to see, me being a consumer.

I think being comfortable in your skin is not easy to achieve. I have spent my life in a five- foot-tall body, and I’ve always wanted to be tall and skinny. But now I am like, all right, I am who I who am and I love it. For me, Kate Upton epitomizes confidence.

I love all your campaigns, I think they’re gorgeous by the way. I appreciate the sincerity of them and how they look, and how real they are. And that’s what I want to do with this Rimmel campaign.

I love how you are thinking so much about the visual part of the campaign. I know you are the granddaughter of a film director. Did you spend time around movie sets when you were a kid?

No, not at all. [My grandfather] was more of a documentarian than fiction. We were around real things. It was when the war was just over so it wasn’t glamorous, but he was very talented. He just passed away. He loved Rita Hayworth and named me Rita. Every Rita I’ve met is really old. But they must have been young at some point in their lives, right?

Rita Heyworth was definitely a stunner with beautiful hair. You definitely have fun with your hair, changing styles and colors. What do you use to keep it healthy?

The thing that I use, no joke, is this thing called Olaplex. I can’t even pronounce it. It’s so good. It’s three little bottles. I talk about it all day they should pay me to be an Olaplex spokesperson. I actually just did a pixie cut.

I saw that. It’s great. Is that your real hair?

Yes I used a lot of extensions and things like that. I think the first step is to overcome the fact that it’s not yours. I’ve always been very open about it, which is why I go from short hair one day to long hair the next day. You don’t tell people the secret, but you have to overcome that phase, and it’s all about having fun. I love to have fun.

You’re lucky it’s part of what you do for a living. Being a rock star, being on stage, being an actress, you get away with things that we might not be able to get away with. We can’t be doing that to our hair. People in our office would be like, “What’s up with that?”

If I dyed my hair blue and purple it would fall out! We don’t have the routine of the average day person, but at least you can do it for them, right?

Rita Ora’s new pixie cut. Photo: Instagram

Besides your music, besides your acting, besides your contracts, are there things that you have your eye on? You have such great style.

I just did my ninth collection with Adidas for women. I’ve been doing it for a few years now. I really do want to venture out to doing my own thing, that’s definitely in the pipeline. This new album coming out at the end of the year, I just want to the focus to be based on the tour. I see myself as more of a free-thinking artist. I think nowadays artists have changed so much, the things we are exposed to socially. I’m the person who likes to spread my wings and get involved and create this brand I’ve been working on for so long.

Who’s your mentor?

It starts with my mother, because my mother is literally the strongest person in my life. She moved us from Albania to London when I was one. [She] didn’t speak a word of English, was diagnosed with breast cancer, beat that bastard off, and now she’s been clean for five years, and she’s so happy and her life is so great. That for me is a hero. She’s my inspiration. She’s the one that makes me work every single day.

Moms are the best. I have three of my own kids, so it’s nice to hear that as a mom. It sounds like she’s done a great job.

How old are they?

I have three boys - 25, 23, and 17.

No one to borrow any makeup from you then!

That’s one of the reasons I love talking to other women about how we can support each other and self-esteem. You seem to be doing a really great job of it. I hope that I get the chance to meet you one day and see you do your thing on stage. You have so many cool things going on, keep up the great work.

Thanks Bobbi! That means a lot coming from you. Looking forward to meeting one day.