Watch Rihanna answer fan questions at her hot Rolling Stone cover shoot below.
The new issue of Rolling Stone – on stands and online in the digital archive on Friday (subscription required) – features a deep interview with Rihanna in which she talks to contributing editor Josh Eells about her difficult upbringing, the endless rumors about her relationships and why she agreed to let a judge ease the restraining order against Chris Brown. “That’s my decision,” she says. “It doesn’t mean we’re gonna make up, or even talk again. It just means I didn’t want to object to the judge.”
Video, Photos: Rihanna’s Hot Rolling Stone Cover Shoot
She hasn’t heard from Brown in a very long time. “We don’t have to talk ever again in my life,” she says. “I just didn’t want to make it more difficult for him professionally. What he did was a personal thing – it had nothing to do with his career. Saying he has to be a hundred feet away from me, he can’t perform at awards shows – that definitely made it difficult for him.”
Other highlights from the story:
• She went through an incredibly difficult time after the Brown incident. “I put my guard up so hard,” she says. “I didn’t want people to see me cry. I didn’t want people to feel bad for me. It was a very vulnerable time in my life, and I refused to let that be the image. I wanted them to see me as, ‘I’m fine, I’m tough.’ I put that up until it felt real.”
• Rihanna’s hit single “S&M” is semi-autobiographical. “Being submissive in the bedroom is really fun,” she says. “You get to be a little lady, to have somebody be macho and in charge of your shit. That’s fun to me…I like to be spanked. Being tied up is fun. I like to keep it spontaneous. Sometimes whips and chains can be overly planned – you gotta stop, get the whip from the drawer downstairs. I’d rather have him use his hands.”
• Next May she’s going to play a Navy weapons expert in the big-screen adaptation of the classic board game Battleship. She spent three months filming in Baton Rouge and Hawaii, including many 18-hour days on a barge with 350 people – and just one outhouse bathroom between them. “There were times I would walk up to her like, ‘Are you really handling this?'” says Battleship director Peter Berg. “She would just laugh at me. She said she was really enjoying not having to drive the ship – not having to be running this huge Rihanna machine.”
Stylist B. Akerlund had never worked with Rihanna before she got the assignment to choose her outfits for the current issue of Rolling Stone – but she immediately had some ideas. “Her people told me the direction that we were going was if Kid Rock and Rihanna had a baby,” she tells Rolling Stone. “So I tried to think of things she hadn’t done. And everyone kept on saying super sexy, super sexy, and I’m like, okay, I’ll give you sexy.”
The result was a cover shot of Rihanna wearing a pair of barely-there, torn metallic shorts with a Levi’s logo on the back, a midriff-baring white tank top and a red bandanna tied around her wrist. But it was the shorts that had everyone talking. Or as Popdust put it: “Rihanna is sporting a revolutionary booty-flaunting garment that’s part shorts, part apron and part nothing.”
Rihanna Opens Up Like Never Before in Rolling Stone Cover Story
Akerlund commissioned the shorts from designer Michael Schmidt, whom she frequently collaborates with. “I like everything that sparkles, so I was just trying to think of, like, what can we do that’s not crystals, because we’ve done a lot of it, and then I was trying to come up with like, what is the hottest short on the planet, basically,” says Akerlund, who has worked with Lady Gaga, Madonna, Fergie and Kate Moss. “And then we came up with this concept of photo digitizing on top of metal mesh.”
The stylist and the singer didn’t have a chance to meet before the photo shoot, so Akerlund knew she was taking a chance with the shorts’ fit. “I was just looking at the pictures online of like, her bum,” she says, laughing. “I was just trying to figure out how she liked her shorts, and how they would end and cut.”
The stakes were even higher because the shorts – which took a week to make – couldn’t be altered after they were finished, because of the fine detailing along the ripped hem. “I just kept on saying, go shorter, go shorter,” she says. “I knew we couldn’t go much shorter, but I think the end result was just right.”
Summary: It’s hard not to notice Rihanna’s Rolling Stone cover. The pop star’s flawless booty takes center stage, barely covered by a teeny-tiny pair of denim hot pants. Only they’re not denim. The magic booty “shorts” are actually “metal mesh shorts” according to the credits (Rihanna tweeted that they were “chain mail”), custom made by Michael Schmidt Studios for the shoot’s stylist, B. Akerlund.
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