What's the only thing better than a bad girl? A good girl with bad plans...and this summer, that girl is Rihanna. Something wicked this way comes.
This feature originally appeared in Complex's June/July 2007 issue.
Good Girls Are Boring. Relatively speaking, at least. In this age of blog-a-go-go voyeurism, we tend to forgo staid-and-playful for the more controversial sedated-and-unstable. But if a good girl goes hot, then all bets are off. Rihanna’s latest album, her third in two years, is titled Good Girl Gone Bad—and judging from her skintight clothes and angular haircut, the corruption is well underway.
Not that the physical frame could ever be accused of being boring; in that regard, the Barbados native (born Robyn Rihanna Fenty) is downright fascinating. So much so, in fact, that you’d (hypothetically) let it slide if you found her as (hypothetically) manufactured and vapid as you might have (hypothetically) expected to. Well, pump your brakes, you cynical bastards. For a multiplatinum recording artist with an aggressive tour schedule, an entourage, and a glut of major endorsements, Rihanna’s as low-maintenance as they come. Jay-Z’s protégée laughs easily, riffs deadpan in her island lilt, and even if she is as steadfastly nice as Winnie Cooper, the fact that she likes guns and loves comic book movies makes her win. So forget the fallen starlets and rehab babies—we’re wishing on a good girl.
So, I see you’re sporting a different look. You’re like an assassin or something.
[Laughing.] Thanks. I wanted something new.
Well, you were on All My Children last year—if you get more into acting, you could always play a mercenary.
I’ve read a few scripts. I haven’t gone for anything yet, but I’d really want to do an action movie. Like an Aeon Flux or Matrix or Underworld. I love those movies.
Who would you want to work with in Hollywood?
What’s that guy’s name who was in that movie with Jessica Alba? Paul…umm...
Fast and the Furious...Paul something...
Paul Walker? You could work with anyone in Hollywood and you choose Paul Walker?!
[Laughing.] I think he’s really hot.
Did you see 300?
[Deadly serious.] 300 is one of the best movies I have ever seen. The choreography, the fighting, the costumes, the production—phenomenal. I make everybody watch it.
So you didn’t think it was too violent.
Oh, not at all. That was the good part. I’m the oldest child with two brothers. We talk all the time now, but we used to fight—and when I say “fight,” I don’t mean arguments, I mean physically fight.
I hit the older one in his face with a glass bottle.
Bokkle dem! Whoa. Remind me not to piss you off.
Yeah, my mom was pretty upset.
I was in charge, and adamant about working with people like Timbaland. I wanted to work with Ne-Yo because we had great chemistry on the last album—and of course Justin Timberlake.
Is it true that you didn’t know that Jay-Z would do the intro on your first single, “Umbrella”?
Everyone told me that they had a surprise for me. And I flipped. He loved the song.
Were you disappointed that he wasn’t on any others?
Not at all. I felt like he was giving me my space to do me. I felt like he wanted me to establish myself as a solo artist [first].
Did you feel he was too hands-off as a mentor?
He threw me out there but he guided every step of the way. He told me that the only way people can get to me is through my circle. If my circle is phony, then stuff will get to me.
The rumors. You don’t need people making you believe certain stuff. That’s why I keep my best friend by my side all the time.
So when can we expect to read about you in US Weekly wildin’ out like Lindsay and Britney?
Never. I’m just not the type to get sucked into bullshit. Everyone has control of what they do as an individual. I’m very sure about who I am as a person and what I’m here to do. I’m here in L.A., but I’m still not “here in L.A.” I come from a very different place, and it gives me an advantage.
Styling by Mariel Haenn/Epiphany Media; Hair by Ursula Stephen/Epiphany Artist Group Inc.; Make Up by Mylah Morales/B Lynn Group using Sampar Skincare
Car Images: Sunglasses by Supreme x Oakley; Bikini by Norma Kamali; Shorts by Adidas by Stella McCartney; T-shirt by The Emperor's New Clothes; Shoes by Manolo Blahnik; Ring by Made Her Think
Bicycle Image: Vintage hoodie by Nike; Tank top by Vince; Bra by Cosabella; Denim shorts by Paper Denim & Cloth; Ankle boots by Steven; Glove by LaCrasia; Ring by Bijules; Vintage BMX bike by Hutch