Rihanna Reveals Her Turnons & Turnoffs

When you think of Rihanna, chances are you don’t think of women like Miranda July. In fact, you may not even know who Miranda July is (in which case I recommend you pick yourself up a copy of either The First Bad Man or No One Belongs Here More Than You immediately). However, like everything else Miranda July tries her hand at, her interview with Rihanna for the New York Times Magazine is eerily and blissfully real, reading more like a short story than an traditional interview.

July beings her interview by noting that “I dressed very carefully for her, the way I would for a good friend, thinking hard about what she likes. What I think she likes.” Understandably, July is a little nervous about meeting the world’s most famous good girl gone bad, although she’s also so excited that she can’t resist telling her cab driver where he’s taking her. Naturally, her cab driver was also incredibly excited. After all, who in their right mind isn’t a fan of Rihanna?

“You have a special body.  Nothing you can Google applies to you.”

Starting off her interview with the question, “Do you search the Internet? And if so, what do you look up,” July’s interview is peppered with the kinds of questions we don’t often hear Rihanna addressing. As it turns out, Rihanna spends a lot of time “Googling childbirth…searching the size of certain things, and how much they expand, and then what happens after…” Noting her apprehension, July wants to assure Rihanna that, “You have a special body. Nothing you can Google applies to you,” but instead settles for a simple, “It’s gonna be fine.” Same, Miranda July. Same.


Rihanna also dishes on her favorite app (Squareready), what kind of person she is (a ‘next-moment’ person rather than a ‘in-the-moment’ person), her bad girl reputation (“don’t believe the pictures – in between every poolside party photo is an untaken one in which she’s simply working”), and everybody’s favorite subject, why she hasn’t dated anybody since Chris Brown.

“Guys need attention,” Rihanna explained to July. “They need that nourishment, that little strike of the ego that gets them by every now and then. I’ll give it to my family. I’ll give it to my work – but I will not give it to a man right now.”

However, don’t worry guys, even though Rihanna doesn’t have time for you now, she was kind enough to elaborate on what turns her on. “I’m turned on by guys who are cultured. That’ll keep me intrigued. They don’t have to have a single degree, but they should speak other languages or know things about other parts of the world or history or certain artists or musicians. I like to be taught. I like to sit on that side of the table.”

I’ll let you read the rest of the interview for yourself, but as one last enticement, I should probably let you know that somewhere in the middle Rihanna looks up what the phobia of a big vagina is called. Who knows whether this trend of interviewing will catch on, but I’m telling you, it’s by far the best interview on Rihanna you’ll read this year, and quite possibly ever.

All photos taken by Craig McDean for New York Times Magazine.  

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