Rihanna for Vogue Magazine

Posted on October 16, 2012

Rihanna gets another well-deserved cover and editorial in Vogue:

Rihanna covers the November 2012 issue of Vogue magazine photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

Inside, she says things that are bound to get people talking:

On her relationship with Chris Brown: “The world hasn’t let go. They haven’t seen any progress in our friendship, because they don’t see anything. But they’re not on the inside. They can’t see what I see, unless they’re sitting in my point of view. I guess I’ll learn to accept that.”

On wanting to have fun on a date: “I would love to go on a date. You don’t think that? I’m a woman. A young woman, vibrant, and I love to have fun. No one asks. Trust me on that. I’m waiting for the man who’s ballsy enough to deal with me. And I have too many vaginas around me at this point!”

On the main qualities she looks for in a man: “Seriously, all I want is a guy to take me out and make me laugh for a good hour and take my ass back home,’ she said. ‘He doesn’t even have to come up. All I want is a conversation for an hour.”

Our take on the Chris Brown thing is this: It’s fucked up, but she’s free to make her own fucked-up life choices. When people start railing against it because they want her to be a role model, we have only one thing to say: STOP TURNING TO CELEBRITIES TO BE ROLE MODELS. And if the response to that is, “They already ARE role models, whether we want them to be or not,” then we say, rather than spending your energy railing against her for being a poor role model, spend it preaching to other people that celebrities make shitty role models. If there’s one thing we’d love to get across with this site (and it’s the entire thesis of our book), it’s that celebrities should be treated like the court jesters they are instead of like the messianic figures the media tries to turn them into. Teach your children well: Rihanna is a talented pop singer and a stunningly beautiful woman, but no one should look at her as anything more than that.

Having gotten THAT heavy topic out of the way, let’s look at Rihanna giving face and wearing pretty dresses.

Valentino Lace Dress. Gaspar Fingerless Gloves.

Dior Haute Couture Hand-embroidered Silk Cutoff Dress. Céline Mules.

Michael Kors Crimson Embroidered Floral-lace Dress.

Rosamosario Bustier Bodysuit and Revillon Lace Pencil Skirt with Mink-and-fox Trim.

Marc Jacobs Sequined Silk Top and Skirt.

She makes a shitty template upon which one should model their life, but she sure as hell knows how to work a dress and a camera.



[Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz for vogue.com]

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  • Sobaika

    That is one tragic cover. She looks like a drugged bobblehead, not flattering. The editorial is just okay.

    • mshesterp

       I feel like she looks vaguely alien-esque.  I’m really not a fan of the hair, but I’m not sure why.  I always liked her face, but the hair is too severe for the face.  It’s like they’re competing.

      Basically–the cover is freaking me out.

      • MzzPants

         I like this hairstyle.  It looks more natural than much of the nonsense she’s been sporting.

      • NC_Meg

        I don’t like the hair because in a lot of pictures, I see a Caesar cut.

    • http://promiscuouslola.com/ Cate

      I was just coming here to say that. There’s something about this cover that just… doesn’t do her justice. And she photographs extrememly well. I think Annie is just getting a little heavy handed with the post-production changes as of late. That second shot with her standing in the trees looks completely fabricated. But I also just hate that hair on Rihanna.

      • tereliz

         “That second shot with her standing in the trees looks completely fabricated.”
        Ditto this. I could hardly concentrate on the photos because the retouching of the backgrounds. God only knows what’s been done to the human subject. :(

  • Bill Curtis

    Oh, Boys.  I do love you.  Always so spot on.

  • PeggyOC

    That first shot is fierce and beautiful.

  • charlotte

    Some of these dresses/outfits would look totally twee on other people. On Rihanna they look edgy.

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    I”m meh on the editorial, but completely on board about celebrities not being role models.  Well said, TLo.

  • DeborahJozayt

    What always bothers me is how she uses that event to make headlines, and thus, money and fame. I understand that interviews are always going to bring up Chris Brown to her, but it’d be nice if she can put it behind her or come out and say “I don’t care what you think” instead of dangling a carrot in front of audiences to keep her name in the spotlight. That’s what I can’t stand. 

  • BazoDee

    I love it when she drops the performance art and we get to see what a stunningly beautiful woman she is. And she seems to be doing that more and more. 
    Love the cover. 

  • thecitysleeps

    She is so beautiful.  I adore her and her very poppy music and her last album has been on repeat in my car for months.  But she has a fucked up notion of life and I definitely don’t look up to her for life choices and relationship advice.  Spot on, t&lo!

  • Judy_S

    I don’t care for the cover, but the fashion photos make her and the clothes look great. 

  • VicksieDo

    “celebrities should be treated like the court jesters they are instead of like the messianic figures the media tries to turn them into”…slow standing clap from me boys!

    • Le_Sigh


      I also flashed to Russell Crowe in Gladiator yelling “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”

  • MilaXX

    She makes a shitty template upon which one should model their life, but she sure as hell knows how to work a dress and a camera.
    “Nuff said.  I wish her well, just as much as I hope Lilo dropkicks her shitty parents and figures out how to stay sober, but I don’t pattern my life on either of them and I hope any young women their age don’t either.

    • RebeccaKW

       But, if you don’t allow kids to look to celebrities as role models, what’s a parent to do?  Actually parent?  P-shaw.  So much easier to plop them in front of the t.v. so they can be bombarded by Kardashians and pregnant teens while you go out to the club on a Tuesday. 

      (Note: I know not ALL parents are like that.  But enough of them are.  I know 2 girls who spend more time worrying about finding a babysitter so they can hit Wednesday Ladies’ Night than worrying about if the kid did his homework.)

    • AnaRoW

       I don’t think kids actually do pattern their lives after celebrities.  I’ve known kids to dress like celebrities or aspire to be celebrities but I’ve never heard of anyone taking drugs or making poor relationship choices because of a singer.  Kids who go down the wrong path are usually inspired by those they deal with on a daily basis, parents, friends, teachers, etc.  Maybe it happens, but I find it implausible.

      Also, I made this point on another site: If it’s that important to a parent that Rihanna be a role model, then talk to the kid to make sure she’s a role model for not what to do.

  • Nicole Chubb

    Amen! I teach at an all-girls high school, and the best way I’ve found to handle this situation is to have discussions about why it’s not a good idea to ever talk to your abuser again, and how they could support a friend in that situation and avoid it themselves. It’s also a good lesson in letting go things that are out of your control, which may include your own friends’ crappy decisions. Ultimately, you’re in charge of your own life; they’re in charge of theirs.

    • formerlyAnon

      **This is spot on.** 

      Young people are going to be fascinated with successful public figures no matter what one says. The antidote is to make sure they have real life role models AND to have explicit discussions passing on better/more useful/more mature tools and values. Including pointing out the real life role models and how they contribute. Questionable behavior by celebs is (IMO) sometimes valuable because it makes it more difficult for families & educators and community leaders to fall into a false complacency about what they need to explicitly address with kids.

      You can’t fight whatever snags a person’s attention as glamorous or enviable. The trick, IMO, is to make sure they have useful tools in their arsenal when they have their own personal run-ins with problematic situations.

    • Qitkat

       It’s also a good lesson in letting go things that are out of your control, which may include your own friends’ crappy decisions. Ultimately, you’re in charge of your own life; they’re in charge of theirs.

      Such a good point that is worth remembering for one’s entire life.

      I’ve recently begun to deal with some on-going in-law issues which frustrate me no end. It’s especially difficult to watch your own grown child grapple with defending actions of others and seeing extended family members making choices that seem so counter-productive to a happy, sane, rewarding life.

  • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

    Love her with the Rosemary’s Baby hairdo!!!!

  • http://www.djplaw.com/ Tadiana

    And while we’re on the topic, can we add pro athletes to the list of People We Should Not Be Considering Role Models?

    Rihanna looks great and I love these looks on her, but I kind of feel sorry for her. 

    • sanja_ramic

      THANK YOU! I never quite understood why athletes are constantly referred to as heroes, I’m not sure if it’s common in America but in Oz being good at sport seems to give you instant admission to the hero club.

      • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

        “hero” comes up a lot here when people talk about athletes. For what? Throwing/kicking/hitting/running with a ball really far?

        No lives saved/changed = not a hero.

  • annie_wonder

    The first photo, in the Valentino lace dress, screams America’s Next Top Model to me but that’s probably my own fault. Other than that, she is working it big time. What a photogenic creature.

  • warontara

    I like her music, and love her style (most of the time), and leave it at that. Her crappy life choices are her own to make, and really, knowing the psychology of abuse, I don’t understand the massive amounts of surprise about it all.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    It’s a nice editorial, though they really need to lay off the photoshop on the covers. When’s the last time you saw someone not looking like a damn robot on a Vogue cover?

    I want to touch on the heavy discussion, but really, the question is whether the demographic Rihanna panders to actually buys her statements outside the internet. Some celebrities are worshipped online, but are a footnote in real life. Is Rihanna any more than someone whose style young girls like to emulate?

  • Judy_J

    She’s a natural in front of a camera, that’s for sure.  Those photos are killer.

  • kolokOlchik

    Just wait till the next time he beats her up…  

    As far as the shots go, the cover is not flattering at all, but the shots on the inside are gorgeous

  • afabulous50

    I don’t care how dressed up you are – or how editorial it is – when you lie on your back and spread your legs apart its a bad look.  Plain & Simple.

    Edit: Celebs as role models? They are farthest from that in any classification of humans. They’re too far removed from real life.

  • Sobaika

    So feel free to ignore me and my rambling, but a lot of the commentary on the Rihanna/Chris Brown situation bothers me. Not from TLo, because I agree that no pop star/role model point. But I believe it is a large pattern among domestic violence cases for women to return to or forgive the abuser? And I can’t really recall any time Rihanna has purposefully exploited the incident; she seemed to want it to go away from public consciousness and is having to deal with the fact that it probably never will. 

    I hate Chris Brown and refuse to support his career (but it’s not like I had been a big fan pre-incident) but Hollywood has a long history of forgiving tons of vile behavior (Roman Polanski, Mark Wahlberg, Sean Penn, etc.) and it feels like there is a larger conversation to be had about domestic violence, relationships, and the expectation we have of our celebrities, and it always defaults to how sad/bad Rihanna is.

    • Squarah


    • http://twitter.com/phd_tv Heather Barkman

      I agree with you about the problematic nature of domestic violence victims returning to their abusers . . . but Rihanna DID actually exploit the incident, whether explicitly or not, by releasing shortly afterwards both the song “S&M” (in which she sings about pain being pleasure) and her duet with Eminiem, “Love the Way You Lie” (in which she portrays a domestic violence victim who “loves the way it hurts”). I don’t think either of those songs were accidents.

      So, you can boycott Chris Brown if you want (I personally do it because I think his music is shitty), but Rihanna is playing the media angle of this too, make no mistake.

      That having been said, I agree with TLo that neither of them (nor any celebrity) should be seen as a “role model”.

      • Sobaika

        We can disagree about her exploitation of her relationship with Chris Brown, but if your gut reaction to this are

        a) just wait until he beats her again/she’s an idiot for going back (comments I’ve seen here and elsewhere)
        b) how you can’t stand the choices she made personally and professionally after an abusive relationship and stomach-churning police pictures of her swollen and teary face were paraded on the internet for the world to see

        I would still say neither is a reaction I can get behind and even still this is part of what should be a larger discussion on the matter.

        • http://twitter.com/jelenawoehr jelenawoehr

          I’m a volunteer victim advocate, and I do have concerns about how young women who look up to Rihanna romanticize her devotion to Chris Brown — but even worse is how Chris Brown fans look up to Chris Brown! Every syllable of outrage about Rihanna’s bad choices should come with three syllables of outrage and shock that Chris Brown is not being more proactive in addressing how his young female fans handled and continue to handle his violent behavior. There were some tweets after the beating along the lines of, “Stupid Rihanna calling the police just because she can’t handle her man.” Brown is obviously (and predictably) prioritizing his career over doing the right thing here. He’d rather just not talk about his assaulting Rihanna ever again, but in refusing to directly engage with his fans and tell them “No man has the right to hit you, not me, not anyone,” he is missing an opportunity to help women who are much more at risk than Rihanna’s fans. Looking up to Rihanna as a role model isn’t a great idea, but seeing a pre-counseling, pre-anger management Chris Brown as an ideal spouse is even worse!

      • Hundzahn

        Very true, although I would like to note that S&M was released at least a couple years after the incident and Love the Way You Lie as well. S&M’s not a great song, but to me that felt more like it was her reclaiming her position in society rather than being constantly seen as an “abuse victim”; who wants that baggage hanging over their heads ever, let alone two or three years after the fact? And I always saw Love the Way You Lie as a character piece more than anything; the listener isn’t meant to be completely okay with Rihanna’s lyrics in the song or the situation she’s in, but merely relate or empathize with the sentiment.

        Her first music releases post-Brown are much closer to what I’d call exploitive of her situation, and even then I’d hesitate to call them meaningful insight onto her mindset, and I’d say they are the closest her image consultants got to exploiting the incident, but I felt like they took a lot of ownership to how dark the situation was. There was a strong sense of power fantasy in some of them, but none of them ever romanticized anything in an unironic way.

        TL;DR You say exploit, I say reclaim her sexuality and agency over her songs. I don’t think she’s a paragon or someone to look up to, for sure, but I think it’s troublesome that everything she’s gonna do for the foreseeable future will be in light of an event that made her a victim.

    • RebeccaKW

       What pisses me off (well, it all does, but this even more so) is how people will try to shift the blame back on Rihanna b/c she came out with the S&M song.  “What does she expect, if she likes violence in the bedroom?” A. it’s a song.  B. just b/c you like a little rough stuff sexually, doesn’t mean you want to beaten in every aspect of your life.  BDSM is controlled and can be stopped anytime.  Getting a beating is just abuse. 

      • Sobaika

        I thought having Rihanna on the Eminem track added a bit of poignancy that wouldn’t have existed otherwise, but even if you found it distasteful or the S&M song or what she wears or her attitude or life choices or whatever – none of that is relevant. There are larger issues to be discussing here. I just don’t get how blaming the victim is necessary or productive. 

        After the insanity that must have been going through that ordeal (in general but in the public eye to boot??) I get how changing the conversation was priority #1 for her and her people.

        • http://twitter.com/phd_tv Heather Barkman

          I don’t think it’s blaming the victim to point out that she used the public’s perception of her after the incident to her advantage through the release of some songs that would have understandably brought the incident to the forefront of people’s minds.

          The only part of your original comment that I was really addressing was when you said that Rihanna “seemed to want it to go away from public consciousness” — I think at first she probably felt this way (hell, I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have to deal with all of that in public), but then she moved on to releasing related songs and doing interviews about it, thereby ensuring that people would continue to associate her (and her music) with it. It doesn’t mean she wasn’t hurt, it doesn’t mean she deserved it, it doesn’t mean that I’m blaming the victim, it doesn’t even mean that she necessarily would even do things the same way now. It does mean, though, that she’s a celebrity and that she’s good at making sure her name (and her brand) stays in the public consciousness, no matter what. 

          • RebeccaKW

             I don’t think there is any way she could avoid being interviewed about it.  Look at all the comments now-it is still a ‘hot topic.’  Yes, I guess she could have avoided all media, but that’s not practical. 

            As far as releasing these songs merely to capitalize on the public’s reaction to events.  Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t.  However, the S&M song is in no way related to domestic abuse.  And maybe she used Love the Way You Lie to help heal herself.  No one is griping about Adele exploiting a past relationship for her music.  Because it wasn’t violent?  But whether Rihanna did or didn’t shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Chris Brown beat her.  Domestic abuse should be in the forefront of consciousness-the conversation should be about how to get this to stop, rather than how you shouldn’t sing a song about it.

      • http://twitter.com/phd_tv Heather Barkman

        I mean . . . look. Obviously no one deserves to be abused, regardless of whether a person is into BDSM or not (and anyway, you’re right, it is just a song). And I agree that Love the Way You Lie isn’t glorifying domestic abuse so much as it is a commentary on a cycle that happens far too often. 

        BUT, I guess I just think that celebrities like Rihanna know how to work the media to their advantage and they (or the people they’re surrounded by) know how to spin a bad situation in their favour. These songs certainly played on the notoriety of the incident and delivered the message that Rihanna is powerful, and not weak like she looked in those awful pictures. If people were inspired/helped by the music, then that’s great, but I don’t think that that was the main intent behind releasing those songs when she did – pop stars are there to make money first and foremost, and that’s why I think it’s different than going on a speaking tour with the purpose of giving people hope/advice. If she donated all of her earnings from that song to a domestic violence charity, then I might think differently, but as far as I know, only Megan Fox donated her video fee to a charity. If I’m wrong, then that would change my view a bit.

        Maybe I’m just too cynical. I see almost everything celebrities do as just another way to promote themselves, make more money, or solidify their brands. If people are inspired by them, that’s just a secondary benefit. Rihanna did a great job of rebuilding herself and her career after that incident. And, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she’s “back together” with Chris and doing a million interviews about their relationship now, right before her next album comes out.

        • formerlyAnon

          I’d add that even if the celebrity doesn’t think in terms of spinning almost everything to support their brand, they owe much of their success to hiring people who instruct them/do it for them.  You see it in the legions of artists who at one point or another start trying to separate themselves/their “art” from what they see as the machine that perpetuates their success.

        • RebeccaKW

          I didn’t get the message they are back together.  I got the message they are friends.  But whatever the case may be, this whole thing has been going on non-stop since it happened, and I don’t think it has anything to do with anyone’s album. 

          Your point about donating $-she may or may not have donated money to a charity.  We don’t know.  Because if she did, she didn’t make an announcement about it, which I would take to be exploitative.

      • instantkarmalr

        AMEN.  I would like this post 800 times if I could.

      • Hundzahn

         Here here!

  • Roosevelt 85

    Please, she is a role model by being in the public eye just like she knows a trip to the grocery store still subjects her to attention (even if it’s not a “formal” appearance. But I’ll accept that she shouldn’t be a role model. She’s an idiot for going back

    • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

      “Please, she is a role model by being in the public eye”

      Explain that. Because it makes no sense.

      • Roosevelt 85

        I agree with you that she SHOULDN’T be a role model. Who the hell would base their decisions on an entertainer…but the sad reality is that she IS a role model to SOMEONE JUST by being in the public eye. She/we can’t just say that it shouldn’t be and expect reality to conform to that paradigm. Merely by being the public eye, she should know that her choices will be seen by many people. It’s irresponsible. Public figures can’t decide which aspects of their life are “public” and “private”.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          Your answer amounts to “She just IS,” which, we’re sorry, we don’t accept as an answer. People don’t automatically become role models just because they’re famous. That’s ludicrous. 

          Once you reject her as a role model, it doesn’t matter what she does in her private life. If you think it matters, then you’re buying into the idea that she’s a role model. 

      • Squarah

        No, it definitely doesn’t. It will be highly amusing if the poster makes an attempt to cobble together a rational argument for that one.

      • formerlyAnon

         My take is that people don’t make themselves role models.  That is conferred upon them by persons who take them as role models, and is completely outside the individual’s control.

        How a celebrity or anyone else reacts to the realization that others may be taking them as a role model is a personal choice.  You or I might judge them for their choices (of which we know all too much in this day & age) but they’re free to live their lives as they wish. Like all of us, they then reap the consequences.

      • http://kingderella.tumblr.com/ kingderella

         … i dont think what roosevelt is saying is so stupid. rihanna chose to be an entertainer who 1) is working actively to be in the public eye as much as possible, and 2) makes a product that is at least partly marketed towards kids and teenagers. so kids and teenagers will idolize her, and she knew that will happen when she made the career choices that led her to where she is today.

        now, i dont think she is obliged to live up to that role if she doesnt want to (or isnt able to) because, after all, she is primarily a singer, and in any case, she can do whatever she wants. but being percieved as a role model by some is part of the career she chose, not something that has been thrust upon her against her will, or something that we can just deny like its not a reality.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          We just don’t agree that because she’s a celebrity and because some people think of her as a role model, that makes her one. Kim Khardashian is a celebrity. People think that guy who shot up a movie theater or Adolf Hitler are role models. It doesn’t make it so.

    • Bree The Vole

      She’s an idiot of succumbing to the noise of the public that made fun of her for getting beaten, blamed her for it happening in the first place and got back to liking Chris Brown again before she did, and not being the ideal, correctly reacting victim who deserves to be felt bad about. I mean, she’s a //person// for all that. You have no idea how easy it is for victims of violence to normalize and rationalize the violence away and believe in the redemption of someone who they once cared about, especially as your status as wronged person is constantly questioned. Only black and white fact about violence and abuse is that it should never happen.

  • nannypoo

    Fabulous.  Well, the one in the red dress is pretty trashy, but the rest are fabulous. Now she needs to admit that the haircut was a mistake and begin the long and painful process of growing it out.

    • Squarah

      Please solicit the aid of an optometrist because your vision is clearly failing. This lady looks consistently stunning with a short cut.

    • tereliz

      There’s also a quick fix to the long and painful process of growing it out that I’m sure Rihanna is familiar with. It’s called a weave. 

      Personally, I’m a fan of this hair on her, because I think fake hair can look pretty fake. It highlights her eyes and cheekbones to great effect. 

  • KML

    “If there’s one thing we’d love to get across with this site (and it’s the entire thesis of our book), it’s that celebrities should be treated like the court jesters they are instead of like the messianic figures the media tries to turn them into.”I love that!!!!

  • krelnick

    The face she seems to be giving in every photo is “damn!” as in:
    1. “Damn, my wig blew off.  Now I’ll never be in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert II:  Dusty Bugaloo.”
    2. “Damn, I still can’t find my wig.  Maybe I stowed it in the ridiculous hips of this dress.”
    3. “Damn, this straw is extremely pokey.  But since I am a woman, I am required to be photographed on my back with my legs open.”
    4. “Damn, now I lost a contact.  And these rocks are hell on my knees.  But since I am a woman, I am required to be photographed on all fours with my ass sticking out.”
    5. “Damn, I think I threw my hip out.”
    6. “Damn, I think I missed my bus.  Now I’ll never get to my audition for Third Light Fixture in Moulin Rouge II:  Hackneyed Bugaloo.

  • Mary229

    I think she’s such a pretty woman but these pictures to me look so predictable for her.  I’m so tired of seeing her vamp out and pose sexy.  What I would have loved would have been a pictorial that gave us a different perspective for once. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AYQCICXEN2CCDBFV5HED4Z2RUA Dee B

       I don’t think sexy when I look at these photos.  These to me, are some of the more fierce/unsexy pics she’s ever taken. 

  • VanessaDK

    I don’t know anything about Rihanna or Chris Borwn, But is Annie Liebowitz creating all her spectacular effects by Photoshop now, cause I can’t see her putting the model in that array of locations.  This would be really sad to me, because her creation of classic photos of celebrities through real life creation of settings has been so spectacular.

    • tereliz

      Yeah, they all look pretty obviously composited. While those backgrounds may be locales that Annie has visited, I doubt Rihanna set foot in any of them.

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    Gawd she is so DULL. “I love to have fun” – what an Earth-shattering revelation! That said, she looks incredible in the cover shot. Her eyes are piercing and she looks almost engaged. The hair is enhancing the face, for once. The color palette for that shot was an inspired choice. 

    The rest of the shots are gorgeous, more beautiful palettes, but I think Annie Leibovitz and the set dresser did most of the heavy-lifting there. I love the composition of the shots and the placement/use of Rihanna’s figure (except that mid-coitus pose) until I get to her face. A big dead spot in every frame.

  • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

    Frankly, at my house, Rihanna has been held up as a model of how NOT to make life choices.  It’s been a great opportunity to talk about the dangers of abusive relationships and how easy it is to fall into one and not be able to get back out.

    That said, maybe he has changed — I know we all want to say that a leopard doesn’t change his spots, but it does happen.  I’ve known several men who have been abusive and turned themselves around when they hit rock bottom.  They were split for quite awhile, and maybe that was his rock bottom.  (On the other hand, I also knew a wonderful woman who was murdered by her abusive husband, so not something I would recommend waiting for)  

    • formerlyAnon

       I could have written every word (except knowing personally someone who was murdered).

      I personally think dreadful celebrity choices are great teachable moments. Perhaps they have less impact than dreadful family-member choices as teachable moments, but there are so many downsides to dreadful family-member choices.

    • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

      Yea unfortunately Chris Brown hasn’t hit rock bottom. His celebrity and weirdly aggressive fans created a very nice cushion in the fall out, and then he immediately put out an album that mostly consisted of complaining about an exgirlfriend.

      I know I don’t know him but I really don’t think this leopard has changed his spots. We’ve seen repeated instances of violence and anger from him since then and I don’t think it’s going to stop soon.

  • EditKitten

    I so dig that hair.

  • Rand Ortega

    Malala Yousafzai is a role model. She’s a 14 year old who risked her life so little girls like her could continue to go to school amid death threats & being shot by the Taliban, who vow to kill her if she comes back to school when she recovers.
    Rihanna is a pop star.

    • twocee


    • tereliz

      Thank you!!

  • http://twitter.com/carnivaltenten Ten Ten


  • kcarb1025

    I wish she would go away.

  • http://twitter.com/GuidosDaddy Jason M. Galloway

    You lost me at “talented pop singer”… 15 minutes and counting…

    • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

      talented pop performer (not singing)

  • formerlyAnon

    I like the pose on the cover and the photo with the black lace Valentino (a LOT), though either the lighting, some unnecessary photoshop or the angle give her cover face an oddly alien aspect.

    But I LOVE when she tones down all the drama in hair & makeup and lets us see how effing beautiful she is.

    [I am going to have a full-on snit happening if she succumbs to surgery that changes that face as she ages.]

    Y’all’s take on celebrities is sensible, and therefore doomed to be, too often, ignored. Keep up the good fight.

  • KateWo

    I think the role model thing is tricky…Tlo has always done a good job, in my opinion,of focusing on the fashion and not the gossip. But most other blogs and magazines don’t. If Rihanna or whoever is used to sell clothes and accessories and idolized for her fashion, it can be hard for impressionable people to separate that from her life choices. Especially when the publications ask her about it. It is not Rihanna’s place to be a role model and I don’t think she’s trying to be but if she doesn’t want people to focus on the Chris Brown thing she shouldn’t answer questions about it.

  • http://twitter.com/Jutz Jutz

    She wants a man to “take her on a date?” Really? Vomiting on a bar in Vegas followed by a threesome with prostitutes isn’t a lovely and romantic date?  Can’t this chick just hide and play coy about Chris Brown (ala Jay Z and Beyonce)? Why flaunt it? She’s a young stupid girl and no role model, but she does seem like she is giving a big FU to everyone.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AYQCICXEN2CCDBFV5HED4Z2RUA Dee B

       A threesome with prostitutes?  Somebody’s been reading the gossip blogs.

  • kimmeister

    That last picture is completely wackadoodle.

  • MaryAtRealityTea

    I really love what you had to say about celebrities as role models. Celebrities are interesting because their lives are so drastically far from most of ours in some way, but in other ways we’re all humans and we all do human things. She’s a young girl, she’s making dumb choices – and if you are desperate to make a role model out of her as some are wont to do, than base your role modeling on the fact that even people you like and admire make stupid choices so it’s best to follow your own heart and do your own thing. /Rant over. Thanks for the post. And fabulous photos. 

  • http://kingderella.tumblr.com/ kingderella

    her face looks a little corpsy to me on that cover.

    the ‘red dress, lying in the straw’ shot is spectacular,
    and the rest of the editorial is pretty good as well.

    as for the whole chris brown thing… i dont particularly care about the ‘role model’ aspect (because i dont have kids, i guess), but i do kind of care whether the popstars and actors i watch and listen to appear to be halfway decent people, or whether theyre completely fucked up. rihanna doesnt seem to be making the best choices right now regarding chris brown (judging from where im standing, which is admittedly a kazillion miles away from where shes standing); and i do find it a little off-putting how she sometimes seems to be ‘milking’ that occurence for controversy (with certain song lyrics, or now with the reconciliation). nothing so bad that it would make me stop enjoying her music, but it does leave me feeling a little iffy about her.

  • Bozhi

    If she wants to date so bad, why doesn’t she just do what Madanna and JLo do?  Hire hot backup dancers and singers and date them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508965562 Amanda Choo Quan

    So a question. If you’re in a relationship with someone, and you’re young, and you think it’s amazing, and then all of a sudden your significant other snaps, and you see a side to him/her you never thought possible that ends in abuse — do you stop loving him/her? I used to be harder on Rihanna before that interview with Oprah, and before I really stopped to consider the situation. I do think Chris Brown is vile, and of course I don’t think that Rihanna deserved it, but I’m not so sure if she’s the fool the public seems to be making her out to be for still being drawn to him. I’m not so sure how the wisest of us would deal with a situation like that, especially under such a burning spotlight. I mean, we’d have all loved her to totally cut him off and stop talking about him, but if I was still affected by something like that, I don’t know if I even could.

    • formerlyAnon

      This is the kind of conversation that adults need to have with young people. It is a hard, hard, HARD fact of life that you can love someone who is not good for you. And that if you choose (because, after that first time, it IS a choice) to be with someone because “the good outweighs the bad” that’s okay, in my morality, as long as you aren’t imposing that choice on others (children, for instance.)

      There is very little black and white once emotions come into play, for most people. Pretending to our children that there is, that their choices will be easy to make, doesn’t prepare them.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AYQCICXEN2CCDBFV5HED4Z2RUA Dee B

         There’s so many layers to the Rihanna/Chris thing, the major point being, she sees her father in him, and because she  forgave her father she forgave Chris too. 

        Do I think it’s smart, not really.  Do I think Chris has changed/gotten counseling? No.  But I get it.

  • http://frankbettecenter.org/ sleah_in_norcal

    absolutely stunning photographs.  i wonder where they were shooting.  and i love the color in the clothes.  such a relief after all the black we’ve been seeing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1596747014 Fatah Cooper

    Ah she is so amazing

  • Dhammadina

    My second Wow of today. 

  • Larkin21

    On your take on the Chris Brown thing: exactly. And thank you.

    Also, she really does look stunning.

  • http://twitter.com/AShinyOConnor A Shiny O’Connor

    Make-up’s not doing for me. All too severe. Eyes or lips on a face that strong.

  • p_capet

    just off the top of my head, and just in general, i’m sure the media helps with the whole role model/messianic thing, but it’s more basic than that.  there is something in us that wants, that has always wanted, our household gods.  this goes way back before monotheism.  we like to have these larger than life folks/images that have alluring qualities and then we turn them into demi-gods.  it’s not even completely a conscious choice, and while it’s goofy and strange, it’s not really anybody’s fault.  just imho.

  • http://vhanna26.typepad.com Vera

    She’s a stunning woman who has yet to mature. Hope she does.

  • Miguel Molina

    *slow clap*

  • Christine Marie

    Court jesters? Damn. I love y’all even more now. 

  • Trisha26

    Who says she’s a talented pop singer & who says she’s stunningly beautiful? Eye of the beholder. And like it or not she is a role model and I will rail forever…

    • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

      “Who says she’s a talented pop singer & who says she’s stunningly beautiful?”

      Uh… we did. And if you don’t think she’s talented or beautiful, why exactly are you holding her up as a role model?

  • http://heartprintandstyle.blogspot.com Vivi N

    Talented pop singer? Okay.

    The 2nd photo is pretty darn good.

  • crash1212

    Stunningly beautiful is correct. She got game. 

  • malvernite

    i like the cover shot and the last shot. the rest…meh.  i agree that she’s a talented pop artist. someone on here i think once said she parties all night but shows up for work in the morning – i like that about rihanna too. work ethic in spades.  re chris brown, i think she considers him a friend and not a romantic partner – choosing to go by the excerpts posted from this article and not other gossip websites.  rihanna has a lot of people in her life, including what appears to be a good and close relationship with her family, and she appears grounded, so i trust that she knows what she’s doing with her relationship with chris brown.

    in many ways, she’s a particular and familiar type of caribbean woman – independent, empowered, arrogant and indifferent to other people’s opinions.

  • Peeve

    I so agree with you both, TLo. It amazes me how the media treats every pronouncement by these “court jesters” (love dat!) as profound pearls of wisdom, as well as a large segment of the population. I have to admit, though, that although Rihanna is definitely not a role model, she does indeed make me sad. I was so hoping she’d slap that son-of-a-bitch to the curb for good–she seemed the type to do it…

  • http://www.facebook.com/vdunbarjones Valerie Dunbar Jones

    Ah. I have been looking all over for couture appropriate for hay rolling.  And a mink-and-fox skirt in which to crawl on rocks, and a crinolette to wear to Lubbock. Thanks, Vogue.

  • Qitkat

    I love this editorial except for the horribly posed one in the hay. She is stunning. And no worthy role model. However, it’s kind of sad her obvious longing for an ordinary relationship having fun and conversation without expectations. Just like non-celebrity folks.

    I’m looking forward to TLo’s book and how they take on the issues of fashion, celebrity, culture, and entertainment as America’s *real* religion. That is not trying to put words in their mouths, just how I’m imagining it.

  • guest2visits

    Agrreed. – every time I hear her in conjunction with Chris Brown it just confirms what we already know about Rihanna.
    I just think she’s basically gorgeous (sans tattoos), and sometimes has a good pop sound.  I’m not looking for her biography.
    These are pretty too, except in the last pic the bustle is competing with her face/head and the entire background. 

  • Aaron Blair

    I don’t think Rihanna is a role model, and I don’t think it’s a standard she should have to bear, the same way I never thought it was a standard that the likes of Britney or Christina should have to bear.  I agree that “being famous” and “being a role model” are not synonymous and should probably not be, especially considering all of the pratfalls of fame.  That said, I haven’t listened to Chris Brown since the incident came to light, and I stopped listening to Rihanna earlier this year, after she released the remixes that they made together.  I can’t support someone who will endorse asshat behavior from the ex who beat her, just to promote her music, and to further her bad girl image.  I don’t expect everyone else to share my position.  I’m a product of really violent domestic and child abuse.  If I hadn’t had a mother who was willing to go back, repeatedly, my life might have been completely different.  So, I have a problem with women who go back.  And I think “it’s okay to go back” is not a message that women in that situation need to hear.  So, even if Rihanna’s not a role model, she is responsible for that message, at least.  Just like my mother was responsible for that message.  My teenaged sister ended up in a physically abusive relationship that lasted the entire time she was in high school.  They broke up several times.  She always went back.  It’s not okay to go back.

    All that aside, she does look very beautiful here.  She’s a beautiful woman.  I wouldn’t have looked at these pictures anywhere else, though.  Such is my love for TLo.

  • lucasuk82

    The Marc Jacobs picture is amazing – totally a Klimpt painting.  I just looked up Rhianna’s age because I figured she was about 24 and that forgives a lot of stupid actions in my book.  She’s 29!!  Shitty template is right.

    • NC_Meg

      No, she actually is 24. Still a shitty template, though.

  • LambeeBaby

    The cover is a bit rough, but its true, she knows how to work a camera.

  • TieDye64

    The camera sure loves this chick.

  • quiltrx

    I think all the other pictures are miles better than the cover.  Girl sure can wear clothes.

  • http://www.nahuli.blogspot.com cjcris23

    As a parent of a young daughter, yes, indeed on the role model business.  It makes no sense to have a celebrity as a role model, but if our kids begin to follow that route, than our obligation as parents is to keep communication open with them and talk to them about the concerns we might have.  And not like “Oh you like Rihanna?  Well, let me tell you why that’s not a good idea to have her as a role model!” But talking about things openly and honestly always, so that our sons and daughters are already very clear on the fact that abuse in any kind of relationship is never ever okay.  So then if something like this comes up, we can just continue dialoguing on the topic.
    I have a four year old, and you’d better believe she has already heard many times from my husband and myself “No one has the right to treat you badly” and “Your body is your own. No one is allowed to do something to you that you don’t want them to do.”  If a girl is really swayed into thinking an abusive relationship is okay because Rihanna’s cool with it for her life…well then I have to think she’s been missing some very important messages leading up to that point, and that’s the sad part…

  • pokokpuding

    The landscapes are stunning. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

    Yes, it is tragic but she makes a point. Only an asshat has enough nerve to ask someone like Rihanna out. That is how the world works.

  • neofashionista

    I cant agree with you gentlemen more about the celebrity thing, they are not role models at least not usually, they are entertainment

  • granddelusion

    Makes me laugh. All I see when I look at these pictures are studio backdrops. Talk about illusions.

  • Bree The Vole

    Rihanna the person will never lose my sympathy. Rihanna the person and the celebrity made Love The Way You Lie parts 1 and 2, two songs that NAIL what it is like to be caught in a dysfunctional fucked up relationship (and be dysfunctional and fucked up yourself) and that I will always identify with, as disturbing as that is. Rihanna the celebrity makes entertaining music, is beautiful and generally rocks her photoshoots. I’m content with this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/renate.yerkes Renate Yerkes

    that last photo. talk about a court jester!!

  • ccm800

    And that is not all this girl is about.