She keeps them waiting and guessing, but at the end, Rihanna shows off her lighter side and shares make-up tips.
AS the large media group waited for the arrival of Rihanna in our holding “cell” (a private corner of the hip Woobar at W Hotel in Hong Kong), I couldn’t help but reflect on a song. That perhaps they should reword the lyrics for The Wanted’s Walks Like Rihanna to “Late Like Rihanna”.
Journalists from Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Hong Kong were to interview Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Although my slot was at 4.45pm, we all had to wait in the room from 3pm onwards.
This was about a media sneak peak at the new Rihanna Hearts M.A.C Fall collection and the launch of the new M.A.C store at the high-end Elements mall next to the hotel. We were flown in two days earlier to watch Rihanna’s sold-out concerts at Macau to get us into the groove.
RiRi (her pet-name), well-known for being late, is also known for getting agitated during interviews and giving short replies. We strategised our queries so as not to upset her, but there was no sight of Rihanna even after an hour.
M.A.C officials were getting frantic and champagne flowed to soothe flaring tempers. After a point, the Hong Kong press called it a day while the Taiwan group was given the option to extend their stay (as they were scheduled to leave immediately after the interview).
At 7pm, the word was out. Rihanna finally made an appearance. When she walked in, my breath was taken away. The singer is more stunning in real life and taller than I thought.
She was wearing a cropped white sleeveless top with matching skirt that had a long slit in the middle. Her make-up – nude lipstick and light red blusher – played up her stunning long-lashed eyes. Gorgeously toned body, and legs that seemed to go on forever. Seriously hot!
The new face of M.A.C Cosmetics, Rihanna is collaborating with the brand on four make-up collections. The first Rihanna Hearts Summer collection was launched in June. The new Fall collection is released this month.
Rihanna is also the first artiste to be named as a creative partner by the brand.
“M.A.C Cosmetics always has fun while taking risks – they are not afraid. We are the same in that way and they certainly recognised that. It’s a natural marriage because I’m constantly taking risks with everything that I do – my fashion, make-up looks, and of course, with my music, videos and on stage. I’m not afraid to show my point of view.
“I’ve been a fan of M.A.C and have been wearing the products for as long as I can remember – so to be a part of M.A.C in this way is big. I never thought in a million years that I could work with them like this. But I’m excited,” said Rihanna.
Do it RiRi’s way
Originally from Canada, the brand took a big step by allowing the signature black M.A.C packaging to appear in rose gold for this special collection.
“They wanted the collection to reflect me – I have a great relationship with them and they trust me. So yes, rose gold (my favourite colour) for me is a bit edgy, but girly and sassy. I like neon, and a bit of rock and roll,” said Rihanna, who also gave her input towards the shade selection.
For this Barbadian beauty, the look is all about lipstick. “I could wear Rihanna Woo (her first product) everyday if I had to. It’s just one of the colours that never go out of style. Most of them in my collection are mattes, with the exception of Who’s That Chick which is an orangey frost. It’s different for me, but I love it. But sometimes, I like something really dark and vamp, like Talk That Talk.
“I love it when something can make you look feminine, exotic and striking from across the room. I like to play with red tones, red, burgundy and nude. Nude is very, very in and I like a colour that can do different things for different people.”
Pretty tame for someone who sported blue lipstick (from M.A.C’s PRO line) during her concert!
“It was more of a rock and roll one off and just for concerts. I think more about red and sexy colours, something a man wants to kiss,” she said and broke into giggles.
Having made it big at a young age, Rihanna is only 25 with the world at her feet. She came across as quite warm, intelligent, composed and interesting; not at all like the media impressions we were given to believe.
A word of advice from the singer: “Mascara does a lot for a lady’s eyes. For me, it’s the eyes and smile that stand out and you need to accentuate that. Lashes, lashes, lashes and lips. You can play with how you use it.”
This coming from a girl who couldn’t even get it right when she first started using lipstick after joining a school pageant as a teenager.
“When I first put on lipstick, it was all over my face. I saw my mum putting it on and it looked so easy,” she said in between peals of laughter.
Now a full-time make-up artist works on her before she goes for any engagements or shows.
“My make-up artist is amazing. When she does my eyes, it’s so symmetrical.”
Tips and time-out
I decided to tap her make-up know-how and ham it up a bit.
“Rihanna, since we share the same skin tone, perhaps you could give me some tips?”
More laughter as she took a good look at my face. “Let me see. You have beautiful sockets (eyes). Need to embellish that and put some darker tones. Dot it up a bit. And yes, lashes for sure. Lipstick for sure. Red, it has to be Rihanna Woo, red!”
The others wanted to know how she maintained her lovely skin. “I have combination skin. Best thing for my skin is humidity. Barbados is home and it’s humid all the time, so when I go home my skin looks fab. The moisture relaxes my skin and make-up on that type of skin is flawless. Makes you look good because you don’t have to build a lot,” she explained.
Other than that, she has no specific beauty regimen while on tour.
“I just carry lots of make-up wipes. I also bring incense and scented candles. A pillow for me to sleep on while travelling. And, pictures that I took with my grandmother last year.”
Would she change any part of her face if given the chance?
“Does boobs count? (laughter). There’s nothing really I want to change. You can change your face with make-up.”
Surely, given her perfectly toned body, Rihanna must have a strict fitness regimen?
“Being on stage is the only workout I get. All that and doing the routines – during the tour – I lose too much weight. Eating healthy, that’s important.
“I spent the entire summer eating to make up for that weight loss. Because I like my jeans to fit me in a certain way and my skirts to fall nicely. My favourite food is sushi and it’s only been the last two years that I’ve picked it up,” she said.
She also flexed her acting chops in Battleship (the movie was panned, but she got good reviews for her kick-a** role). Would she be taking up more roles and in a different genre?
“I don’t think I would do other genres. I love to watch action movies/superhero movies. I’d rather stick with action/superhero type movies and roles.”
I suggested a redux of Catwoman or Batgirl and she liked the idea. Hollywood might want to take note of this!
What’s more, throughout everything, her hair always looks in place.
“I love playing with my hairstyle. I like it short mainly. I would love to shave one side and show off some scalp and have it long on one side. I love a little bit of edge. Or maybe try dreads one day.” For fashion, Rihanna uses a number of designers, but confesses to being particularly fond of Michael Kors.
“He has a way of making great dresses that would fit any age. It’s sexy, comfortable and timeless, but not too revealing so you could also wear them at an older age. I like Calvin Klein for the same reason,” she said.
She sings, acts, designs, and now, she has her hands on make-up. Is there anything she’s not telling us about?
“Nothing I can share (big laugh). Nah, don’t think I can think of anything cool!”
The multi-talented artiste shared that her biggest inspiration are her fans (aka The Navy) who motivate her.
“They don’t let up, they don’t give me a break. I never let them down,” said Rihanna.
The delayed interview caused a delay in the opening of the new M.A.C store at Elements where she was supposed to show up as well. Fans who had been waiting for hours only had a few minutes’ glimpse of their idol (with time enough just to sign the ad of her Fall campaign) on the side of the store.
What happens when the business of being Rihanna is over for the day?
“I watch TV. That’s how I relax. I’m following Breaking Bad, my all time favourite right now. Trying to catch on Catfish: The TV Show (a reality docudrama about online dating). Love to watch documentaries and I love reality TV. It’s so addictive. It’s a slice of real life.
“In movies, it’s all about acting. In reality TV, people learn that they are not alone, that there are people out there like them.”
Rihanna admitted she would love to do a documentary, perhaps a behind-the-scenes programme about herself in which fans would get to see a part of her life.
(A recently completed documentary on Rihanna made its debut three days after this interview; the short is called Half Of Me).
If she’s not on stage, she’s back in her own room, hanging out with friends.
“Watching TV, and laughing and checking out stuff on Instagram. So much fun. We laugh till we cry,” she concluded this interview.
Related story:Fall for the new RiRi Hearts