American Vogue’s November edition will feature Rihanna as their covergirl for the second time in 19 months, an unusually repetitive rate for the exclusive and coveted cover.
After recently viewing The September Edition, a film documenting the extensive publication process and the larger than life personalities that oil the gears of the celebrated magazine…I felt that I had Anna Wintour a bit more pegged than I had before watching the film. Well, the joke is on me as I am genuinely surprised at her decision to give the go ahead on featuring such a controversial figure as Rihanna twice in such a short period of time. I know Anna had to give her approval, but I wonder who suggested the idea in the first place. Perhaps Grace Coddington, the fashion editor who doesn’t seem to fear chilly Anna in the slightest. Either way, I am very impressed with the progressive decision and am convinced that the magazine truly has their finger to the pulse of pop culture and underground fashion as well.
I personally see Rihanna as an absolute perfect fit but would have never expected to have the Vogue giants as comrades in opinion. I feel justified, to say the least, as I do respect their authority in the fashion industry and have likewise always respected Rihanna’s inclination, or perhaps oath, to go against the grain and push the boundaries of what is acceptable in mainstream R&B and Pop. Pop Culture icon, yes. Legitimate High Fashion muse and A-Lister? Perhaps, before and now, certainly. What lends to this appeal? Well, first and foremost her 5’9″ lithe frame and subtle but noticeable Caribbean curves. And that skin…my goodness. She is undeniably beautiful…but there are many girls in the music and entertainment industries that possess such features. What makes Rihanna stand out from the crowd is her personalized essence…she does what she wants. She wears what she wants. She is who she is. Nothing seems contrived, and really what is the point of her trying to put on an image of someone she is not? We were all basically there with her in the car when Ish got real with Chris Breezy that night. We know all the gory details and we’ve been with her through her journey to heal ever since via her videos, hair styles, song lyrics, tattoos, parties, boyfriends etc. It’s been a sometimes painful journey to watch, but one that I must find empathy with because all the drama and voyeuristic entertainment aside…it has been so very real. And through all the pain she has kept on pushing….expressing herself and her emotions through her trade and reaching new heights of success with each new venture, album, hairstyle etc. As much as I absolutely adore Beyonce for making all the right choices and keeping her drama (if there has even been any) tightly under wraps… which perhaps makes her a good role model, or maybe a highly evolved soul that just innately knows all the right decisions to make (doubt it). This image of perfection also makes her unrelatable for a lot of fans. Although one certainly doesn’t aspire to go through many of the experiences Rihanna has gone through in her 24 years, we have all had struggles of our own and have coped with them in different ways. Would I have had the guts to go through all of that in the lime light and continue on with my life and career without missing a beat? I really don’t know, I can only hope. Either way, kudos to her…I just hope eventually she finds the peace and healthy love she is looking for. In the mean time, I will continue to be oddly inspired by her unapologetic ballsiness. Unapologetic also happens to be the title of her upcoming album to be released in November as well. Below is her cover from April 2011.