Dua Lipa Covers ELLE’s May 2024 ‘Music’ Issue

Posted on April 18, 2024


Dua Lipa covers ELLE’s May 2024 ‘Music’ issue photographed by Dan Beleiu and styled by Patti Wilson.

For the queen of the dance floor and everyone’s big sister, life is only worth living if you’re having a good time. Dua Lipa shares more about the inspiration for her new album ‘Radical Optimism’, her relationship with her family, and how growing up in Kosovo informs her stance on social justice.

She also reflects on life in the public eye and what motivates her: “Whether I’m performing or going out, if it’s not fun, I don’t want it,” she says. “You have to make room for joy. The world can be burning down, but god*mn…if you didn’t spend any of your life trying to be happy, I don’t know what you’ve done.”





On how clubbing is a Lipa family tradition; it’s also why she wasn’t fazed when, while out one night on New York City’s Lower East Side with Charli XCX, she ran into her parents partying at The Box: “We celebrate everything and anything, and we just love a party,” she explains. “When I go to my aunt’s house, it all starts off pretty tame….Then the music comes on, and we’re all dancing in the house. And that’s a Tuesday!”

On how “Training Season,” written in November 2022, is a reflection on a string of dates and long-term relationships, mostly set up by her friends. Lipa’s previous relationships include Bella and Gigi’s brother Anwar Hadid, and French director Romain Gavras; more recently, she was spotted vacationing in Mexico with British actor Callum Turner: “As long as everyone knows where they stand, then you’re good,” she says with a shrug.

On how she speaks only obliquely of her love life these days, preferring to drop hints in song: “I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to write down what I want,’” she says of “Training Season.” “The power of manifestation and writing things into existence with the power of words. When you know your worth, you know what you want and what you don’t want… I was talking about this with one of my dancers today, because she was going through a breakup—when I was single, I didn’t wish it away. You learn so much about yourself, you know, whether it’s going on a date or spending that time alone. In the silence, you figure out who you really are,” she says. “In the grand scheme of things, I was doing research.”

On how as she grew into her teens, Dua began to meditate on the horrific stories of ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed against Kosovar Albanians. It prompted a critical perspective shift for her, one that informs her values to this very day—whether that means being a fierce advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, or calling for a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza: “I heard stories from friends [in Kosovo] who lost family members. Houses burned. I saw them. When you have that direct communication with people who have been through [war], it opens up a completely new world, and it did for me,” she says. “I feel very close to [those suffering] injustices in the world, or inequality. Whether that be war, or coming out to your family, everyone’s got a different experience…It’s about support and learning together.”

On returning to London alone at 15 to pursue a music career and how after watching her younger siblings grow up themselves, it was a move that’s almost unfathomable to her now: “I said to my parents: ‘I don’t know how you let me do that,’” she admits. “But I knew that I didn’t have the same opportunities that I would have in Kosovo. I was so determined. I think my parents saw parts of themselves in me, and that allowed for them to be so open-hearted and generous with that trust.”

On how by 17, she completed her GCSEs, or secondary school certification, and worked as a restaurant hostess to make ends meet: Working in nightclubs as a teen inevitably steeled her for the misogyny and exploitation baked into a male-dominated music industry. If she sounds well beyond her years in her songs, it’s because she earned it. “When I started [songwriting], I worked at La Bodega Negra, a Mexican restaurant that looked like a sex shop,” she recalls. “I’d finish work, then go out to whatever nightclub was happening until, like, three in the morning. Then I would wake up and go to the studio until I had my shift again at, like, 8 P.M. The music I [made] was reflective of my every day, or every night.”

On her work ethic and the internet dubbing her the “Vacanza Queen” poking fun at her for presumably going off gallivanting for months at a time: “I’ve been busy for almost 10 years” she says. “Every single day, I’ve had some bit of work to do. But people are going to say something anyway. People say a lot of mean things about a lot of people.” And if being Vacanza Queen “is what I’m getting, then I’ll take it. Whether I’m performing or going out, if it’s not fun, I don’t want it,” she says. “You have to make room for joy. The world can be burning down, but god*mn…if you didn’t spend any of your life trying to be happy, I don’t know what you’ve done.”

DUA LIPA COVERS ELLE’S MAY 2024 MUSIC ISSUE – On Newsstands May 7th.

[Photo Credit: Dan Beleiu for ELLE Magazine]

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