Growing Up

Rita Ora: “My childhood was great, my family was great. I wasn’t in a mansion or anything but we made it work. We grew up in Ladbroke Grove. Me, my mom, my siblings and my dad in a 3-bedroom flat. I shared a room with my sister my whole life.

“My mom studied to be a doctor, she’s a psychiatrist now. While she was studying, she couldn’t work and it was kind of difficult. I didn’t know that when I was younger but my mom and dad did it together, they made a great platform for us.


Drake comes in and we’re just chilling and my mom said ‘Rita, get Don and Drake to take a picture.’ My brother was on his game system and put his finger up like 'wait one second.' Drake laughed. He doesn’t care.


“I moved to London when I was one. When I moved here, my dad owned pubs, bars and a lot of restaurants. My sister is two years older than me, she actually works with me now on the and manages my day to day things. My brother is 14, he still goes to school and plays on his Xbox all day.”

“I have a very educated background. I went to school every day. I was very disciplined, but I was having fun with it. My mom and dad weren’t so strict as long as you have morals and you show everyone you have respect. We’re Kosovans. We’re very patriotic and very proud of everything we do. My mom said make sure you do something that you’re proud of.

“I have a sister, Elena, she’s 23. I just got her name tattooed on me. I have a brother, Don, he’s 14. He doesn’t care about a thing. He is so oblivious. I took him to the Drake show in Manchester and no joke, he was on his [game system] the whole time. Drake is my boy, I have so much love for him.

"Drake comes in and we’re just chilling and my mom said ‘Rita, get Don and Drake to take a picture.’ My brother was on his game system and put his finger up like wait one second. Drake laughed. He doesn’t care. It’s good because my brother is so real and Drake is such a real guy. He was like ‘That’s the shit.’ He got up and my brother posed and went back to his game.

“I had so many embarrassing moments in high school. It was a private school and I grew up in a middle class neighborhood. I lived in an estate which is counsel housing or government housing. Going to a private school, there was a lot of wealthy children around me.

"I would have the same red Nike backpack and they would have Louis Vuitton bags and I used to get upset about it. One day, I cut my bag up and made it into a handbag, it’s so embarrassing but everyone wanted one! I cut it up, I made a handle and I would go to school with it. Everyone would be like ‘That’s such a nice bag.’

“I worked with my dad in the pub for a bit, I used to sell trainers at Size? on Portobello Road where I grew up. I was going there after college, I used to work on the weekends and I would get 60 pounds a week and I would spend it on trainers. My oldest pair are Stan Smiths and Reebok pumps too. I didn’t even feel the pump. Do they even pump? They just looked cool.”

“I grew up really quickly because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I told my mom, ‘Just give me a year’ because I dropped out of college to try to pursue it. I graduated my first year but I was like, ‘Let me take a year off’ and if not, I’ll go back to school. In London, you start secondary school at 16 and then you go to college for two years. At 18, you go to university.

"I finished secondary school and I started going to college. I finished college when I was 17 and during that year was when I was doing gigs where I could. At 18, I got signed. It was all the pressure of me trying to prove to my mom and my family that I wanted to do this. It all happened at the end but it was a bit of a journey.”