Rihanna is the face of Essence Magazine’s January/ February 2021 issue in what is an exclusive collaboration with Fenty Beauty and celebrated artist Lorna Simpson in reinterpreting modern-day glamour.
It’s not the regular photoshoot but is anything else normal or regular with the island beauty? According to Essence, as a first in the brand’s 50-year history, they commissioned the esteemed Lorna Simpson to work with the global star. The shoot offers a series of original photographic collages for the cover and 12-page portfolio entitled “Of Earth & Sky.”
Rihanna is quoted in the magazine referring to Lorna as a legend as her career spans three decades. “Honestly, I just didn’t think I could get her,” Rihanna says of the idea she and her creative director came up with and then decided that Lorna would be the best person. “but I like reaching for the stars and I like challenging myself,” she said.
Simpson is known for her art that re-contextualizes images of black women from vintage pages of Ebony and Jet magazine. In 2018, she was awarded the Paul Getty Medal, and she was also honored by the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.
The collages feature crisp images of Rihanna in various outfits and styles as she embodies various elements of earth and sky, giving full 70s vibes.
Meanwhile, the makeup artist who prepped Rihanna shared on Twitter her experience working with the artist- “I was so nervous before the essence shoot because obviously I met Rihanna before but doing her makeup is another level you know. I remember just saking in my bed then I had to remember ‘you got this’. I was like she choose me for a reason. It’s so fab.”
The makeup artist, who is also of Guyanese heritage, as is Rihanna, reacted to a fan saying, “Guyanese girls unite.” She said, “exactly and people don’t even realize she is and she mentioned it many times.
I was so nervous before the essence shoot because obviously I met Rihanna before but doing her makeup is another level you know. I remember just shaking in my bed then I had to remember you got this. I was like she choose me for a reason. It’s so fab