Rihanna on motherhood, three-day maternity leave and rediscovering her sex appeal

Rihanna on motherhood, three-day maternity leave and rediscovering her sex appeal

She gave birth to her first child, a baby boy, almost seven months ago, but rather than taking a long maternity leave, singer and style entrepreneur Rihanna reveals she had just three days off work after giving birth.

The star, who is talking to us about her latest Savage x Fenty lingerie range and the star-studded show she put on last month to promote it, says, “I was back at work three days after I gave birth, getting back into making music, back into the studio again, and on a Zoom call for Savage. Things like Savage, things like the show, those due dates that you can’t push back… It was important to me to get back.”

Rihanna’s Savage shows have become the stuff of showbiz legend, so perhaps it’s no surprise that just days after her son was born she was on a Zoom call to talk about the logistics of the latest one.

The year before last, the 34-year-old enlisted the likes of Cindy Crawford, Gigi Hadid, Vanessa Hudgens and Madonna’s daughter Lourdes Leon to model her wares. This year was no less starry, with A-listers such as Johnny Depp, Irina Shayk and Cara Delevingne making an appearance. And for her next show she says she’d love to sign up Beyoncé.

Alongside her huge fashion ambitions, it’s clear that Rihanna is besotted with the son she shares with her rapper partner A$AP Rocky, and she tells us how much she loves being a mum.

Talking about her experience of motherhood, she says, “It’s crazy and it’s amazing, wild, weird – all of those things, all at once. It’s the best feeling and the most love I have ever known. Every step, every facial expression, every new milestone is new, it’s fascinating. I love it.”

Describing her son, whose name she is yet to reveal, as “the happiest baby”, she says, “He’s fun. No matter what you’re doing or what you’re feeling, when he smiles at you, everything else goes away.”

But even fashion icon Rihanna, who was named the “sexiest woman alive” by Esquire back in 2011, admits it’s hard to dress like she did before she became a parent.

“It’s crazy! Getting back into heels was tough, even though I wore heels throughout my entire pregnancy. But after you give birth it’s like, ‘Oh, this is different,’” she says.

Talking about how her own lifestyle changes have influenced the sportswear element of her new collection, the star said, “Everything is a sport nowadays. Going to the coffee shop, going to the grocery store, walking the dog, running errands… everything is a sport. When I was pregnant that was a sport, and what saved my life? Leggings! [Laughs] So at Savage, we just applied our sexy details to the technical fabric and the sporty silhouettes. I think sport is going to be huge for us.”

Another factor that is hugely important for the Umbrella singer is making sure that her range is inclusive to all women. Rihanna, who kicked off the Savage show wearing a racy blue corset and black see-through trousers, says, “This collection is all about self-expression and personal empowerment, and the show has always been about challenging new ways of inclusivity and finding new talent. I always want to bring new light to things that we have maybe overlooked before.”

When asked how important it is to make everyone feel sexy, Rihanna responds, “Very important, because I want to feel sexy and I want to feel represented. I want to feel included. I don’t want to feel intimidated by what’s on the rack, in the store or online. I want to know that there’s something for me, something for my body, something that is going to work for me. I think everyone has that perspective. I don’t want to deny anyone the experience to feel sexy or empowered. That’s the Savage branding forever.”

As you would expect from one of the most groundbreaking artists of recent years, Rihanna’s fashion shows aren’t your standard catwalk affairs. The latest one took place outdoors in California’s Simi Valley, and had the feel of an eerie forest, complete with a fallen tree and a mystical purple haze.

“We are always challenging ourselves, challenging tradition and finding new ways of redefining sexy,” the singer explains. “It’s fun because the Savage show is not really just a fashion show, it’s an experience. There are so many aspects of entertainment all collided into this one experience. I was very excited about the location and the scale of the show. It was huge and outside. We were able to push the boundaries in regards to what we have been able to do before in other shows. It was a very beautiful show, very dynamic. I was excited for everyone to see it.”

Reflecting on why she wanted the show to be set outside, she says, “I wanted to do something dynamic, ridiculous, obnoxious and almost impossible, because I love a challenge. I just like to work harder for some weird reason. But we did it, we pulled it off. We have an amazing team and an amazing production. The set looked like aliens just took over an entire section of a mountain. It’s beautiful. And the scale is so big because we were outside on mountains.”

The star, who previously dated singers Chris Brown and Drake before settling down with A$AP Rocky, 34, is rumoured to be keen to add to her brood with her man. Will she be designing a kids’ range now that she’s a mother?

“You know, I always thought doing kids’ stuff would be cliché and the obvious thing to do when you have a baby,” she explains. “Then I went shopping and I realised, ‘OK, maybe I need to start making the stuff that I want my kids to wear.’ It’s hard but I have got my own ideas.”

Fashion career aside, Rihanna also has other big commitments in her day job as a singer, and tells us she’s thrilled to confirm she’ll be performing at the Super Bowl next year, describing it as “one of the biggest stages in the world”.

She explains, “It’s an entertainer’s dream to be on a stage like that but it’s nerve-wracking. You want to get it right because you know everybody is watching and rooting for you. It’s a challenge that I was willing to accept and I want to get it right. Being a new mom, nothing would have gotten me out of the house if it wasn’t for challenges like that.”

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