With little news about her long-awaited eighth studio album, Rihanna graces the cover of Vanity Fair for the first time. The 27-year-old superstar traveled to Cube with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz for the shoot. Rocking wavy red hair, she hit up a bar in Havana and bared all while lying naked in the bedroom of the Josie Alonso House, wearing only leopard Manolo Blahnik mules. She was also greeted by a throng of young fans in the streets of Old Havana.
In her most candid interview yet, Rihanna opened up about her highly-publicized love life. While she’s recently been linked to Travi$ Scott, she says her last official boyfriend was Chris Brown and prior to that, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.
Until then, the search continues for Mr. Right, who according to RiRi, will be “a very extraordinary gentleman, with a lot of patience.” But she’s in no rush. “I don’t want it right now. I can’t really be everything for someone. This is my reality right now.”
She’s currently focusing on R8, which has been delayed, says Jay Z, because “she wants it to be perfect.”
Plus, she discusses her “bad girl” reputation, love for Eminem, and even Rachel Dolezal.
Read excerpts from the interview before the November issue hits newsstands on Oct. 13 below:
ON HER REPUTATION: “I honestly think how much fun it would be to live my reputation. People have this image of how wild and crazy I am, and I’m not everything they think of me. The reality is that the fame, the rumors—this picture means this, another picture means that—it really freaks me out. It made me back away from even wanting to attempt to date. It’s become second nature for me to just close that door and just be O.K. with that. I’m always concerned about whether people have good or bad intentions.”
ON MATT KEMP: “We were still dating … we were just three months in and I liked his vibe, he was a good guy, and then paparazzi got us on vacation in Mexico. He handled it well; I didn’t. I got so uncomfortable because now what? He’s not even able to be seen with [another] girl, because I’m dragged back into headlines that say he’s cheating on me, and I don’t even [really] know this guy. Some guys … I don’t even have their number. You would not even believe it.”
ON ONE-NIGHT STANDS: “If I wanted to I would completely do that. I am going to do what makes me feel happy, what I feel like doing. But that would be empty for me; that to me is a hollow move. I would wake up the next day feeling like shit.”
ON DATING: “I’m the worst. I see a rumor and I’m not calling [them] back. I’ve had to be so conscious about people—what they say and why people want to be with me, why people want to sleep with me…. It makes me very guarded and protective. I learned the hard way.”
ON SEX: “That’s why I haven’t been having sex or even really seeing anybody because I don’t want to wake up the next day feeling guilty. I mean I get horny, I’m human, I’m a woman, I want to have sex.”
ON RELATIONSHIPS: “I get fearful of relationships because I feel guilty about wanting someone to be completely faithful and loyal, when I can’t even give them 10 percent of the attention that they need. It’s just the reality of my time, my life, my schedule.”
ON BEING A POSTER CHILD FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE: “Well, I just never understood that, like how the victim gets punished over and over. It’s in the past, and I don’t want to say ‘Get over it,’ because it’s a very serious thing that is still relevant; it’s still real. … But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it. Nobody even wants to admit it.”
ON GOING BACK TO CHRIS BROWN AFTER THE ASSAULT: “I was very protective of him. I felt that people didn’t understand him. Even after … But you know, you realize after a while that in that situation you’re the enemy. You want the best for them, but if you remind them of their failures, or if you remind them of bad moments in their life, or even if you say I’m willing to put up with something, they think less of you—because they know you don’t deserve what they’re going to give. And if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stupid thinking I was built for this.’ Sometimes you just have to walk away.”
ON THEIR CURRENT RELATIONSHIP: “I don’t hate him. I will care about him until the day I die. We’re not friends, but it’s not like we’re enemies. We don’t have much of a relationship now.”
ON RACHEL DOLEZAL: “I think she was a bit of a hero, because she kind of flipped on society a little bit. Is it such a horrible thing that she pretended to be black? Black is a great thing, and I think she legit changed people’s perspective a bit and woke people up.”
ON EMINEM: “He’s one of my favorite people. He’s got so many layers and he’s such a good person—focused, disciplined. I mean you can’t tell me that you have to be in the club when Eminem is legit at home and being a good father and is still one of the most prestigious rappers of our generation. He’s one of the most talented poets of our time. It was such a brilliant moment to have him ask me to be part of a record; I felt … anointed, because he thought I was cool enough to be on [‘Love the Way You Lie’]. But also, the lyrics [about a dysfunctional relationship] were just so true to what I felt and couldn’t say to the world at that time.”
(Photos by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair)