She’s the toast of the music industry and the hottest talent around. Introducing our stunning December cover star, Rihanna. We caught up with the Rude Boy superstar to talk about surviving the bad times, learning to love her imperfections, and how she is happier and stronger than ever.
And as she sparkles for the cameras, debuting new fiery red hair (‘she has been dying to go red for years,’ says make-up artist Karen Darnell) you’d certainly never guess it has been such a hard year for Rihanna.
‘Eventually, I remember waking up one day and I knew I was over it,’ she says, when, after many tears she opens up on her much publicised romance with abusive singer Chris Brown.
‘One day. I remember I was in New York at the Trump Hotel and I woke up and I just knew I was over it.’
But after coming out of it the other side, the songstress admits she’s a different person now.
‘I was very lost. I have to say I felt really confused,’ she says, her eyes welling up.‘I hate talking about it but it was really crazy because I felt so out of touch with myself and when that happens... It’s scary because nothing you say or do feels like it’s you.
'You just lose touch of everything that you love and everything that you would normally do; how you would dress or how you would say something... It just feels like it’s not coming from you. It’s just this one empty vase. I felt like an empty vessel.’
With all that she’s been through, some critics have questioned her recent appearance on the Eminem single, Love The Way You Lie and how, in their view, it glamorises domestic violence. Rihanna has no regrets.
‘He [Eminem] confronted himself on it. He basically gives insight into what goes on in the mind of a couple in a domestically violent relationship. I love that in every verse it just gets to that point where she wants to leave, she wants to leave, she leaves, she leaves, she leaves... but then the hook always comes back'
Did she relate to that on a personal level? ‘Absolutely. Absolutely! Every word in that song is true. It would take somebody who’s been on the inside to understand how magical those lyrics are.
'Everybody loves the song but the lyrics can never hit home until you’ve seen it, witnessed it, in your home or experienced it yourself.’
Despite it all, the drama and the tears, Rihanna is relieved to have finally come out the other side, adding ‘I’m just… I feel like... I smile for real this time.’
The December issue of Marie Claire hits newsstands tomorrow.