Pop’s rebel without a cause is featured in the Novemeber 2013 issue of Glamour and she talks about everything from being bullied as a child to being simply misunderstood.
GLAMOUR: You left Barbados 10 years ago as Robyn and became Rihanna. Who are you when you’re back home?
RIHANNA: When people call me Robyn, my head just flies around because I feel like that person knows me. But Rihanna, that tends to be people’s own [creation]. Robyn is who I am. Rihanna—that’s an idea of who I am.
GLAMOUR: You grew up not too far from here. But I’ve heard that school wasn’t easy.
RIHANNA: I got teased my entire school life. What they were picking on I don’t even understand. It was my skin color [which was lighter than her classmates’]. Then when I got older, it was about my breasts. But I’m not victimized—I’m grateful. I think those experiences were strategically put together by God for the preparation of being in the music industry. It’s so easy for me to deal with the bullsh-t now.
GLAMOUR: You were clearly prepared. You just edged out your pal Katy Perry for having the most number-one pop songs.
RIHANNA: Oh, right! That was the thing my fans tweeted me.
GLAMOUR: Wait, you heard about that from a fan on Twitter?
RIHANNA: Yeah! [Laughs.] My fans are on it. That’s where I hear about most of my stats.
GLAMOUR: They definitely keep their eyes on you. Do you ever feel too watched, or trapped?
RIHANNA: There’s stuff like not being able to walk around as I please. I feel like I’m being watched. Always. Like, I want to tan topless somewhere, and I know I probably could never do that. Even if I’m upstairs in my bedroom, and the curtains are pulled, I feel like a paparazzo’s outside on a boat somewhere or somebody’s peeping.
GLAMOUR: Yikes. You’ve said before that you get misunderstood a lot.
RIHANNA: I know I am. That’s why it’s important for me to know who I am. There’s no way for people to know me. All they have are a couple of pictures and some crazy headlines to go off of.
GLAMOUR: Well, they’ve got your music.
RIHANNA: One hundred percent. Music helps me tell my story. That’s where I can really be heard. But there’s so much focus on the things that aren’t music.
GLAMOUR: Ah, the haters. Do you pay attention to what they say?
RIHANNA: I can’t run from it. You can’t change who you are. It’s important for me to know who I am and work with that. They’re gonna keep knocking away until all this comes crashing down. But I’m not gonna ever crash. I’m in control.
GLAMOUR: You seem pretty fearless these days.
RIHANNA: I had to regain my fearlessness because it did go away for a little bit. My mother said something to me a few years ago: “I’ve seen something in your eyes I’ve never seen before: fear.” She was like, “No, this is not you.” I just got back to being OK with myself.
Photos Via Glamour