Remember when Rihanna was a cute teenager from the islands doing dancehall-flavored ditties like "Pon De Replay"? Now she's the biggest pop star on the planet. Her new haircuts make headlines, her Instagram posts set the Internets on fire, her tours sell out, and everybody has an opinion about her love life—even though she keeps saying it's nobody's business. That's the thing about growing up in the spotlight's glare. Fame is a full-time job, but Rihanna seems to have mastered that balancing act ever since her first appearance on the cover of Complex way back in 2007.
We had to come up with something special for Rihanna's return to the 'Plex. And so, to celebrate the release of her seventh album, Unapologetic, which also happens to be her first album to debut at No. 1, we enlisted photographer Zoe McConnell to shoot not just one cover, but seven—one for each of the albums. And assistant editor Soo-Young Kim flew around the world with Rihanna as part of the infamous 777 tour, then sat down with her for a girl-to-girl chat about music, fame, and how to take a perfect selfie. She's never shined brighter.