As she gears up for her eighth album Anti (which finally has a title and cover art), Rihanna graces one of six covers for T: The New York Times Style Magazine‘s “The Greats” issue alongside Quentin Tarantino, Steve McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld, and more.
The writer—an unabashed Rihanna stan—caught up with RiRi for a revealing chat at a restaurant in Malibu, where they discussed everything from Googling childbirth to what kind of apps she has on her phone (a layout app for Instagram called Squaready) to her dating life to, umm, vaginas (“Trust me, if they can’t feel the end, it’s like, Cannonball!”).
Rihanna and the writer hit it off, and by the end, the two were best friends—or at least one of them thought so.
Read highlights from the issue, which will be available Oct. 25.
On being a “next-moment” person instead of an “in-the-moment” person: “Only now are things hitting me, like I’m feeling them emotionally. I used to feel unsafe right in the moment of an accomplishment—I felt the ground fall from under my feet because this could be the end. And even now, while everyone is celebrating, I’m on to the next thing. I don’t want to get lost in this big cushion of success.”
On why she’s single: “Guys need attention. They need that nourishment, that little stroke 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.”
On when she first learned about sex: “Well, there’s always this human instinct about that, even from a very, very young age. I agreed that we are born with a sort of innate sexuality. But by like age 11, girls were talking about what they had and hadn’t done. I hadn’t even kissed a boy yet, so it always made me feel insecure, like I was never gonna be good or ready or know what to do—I didn’t even have boobs.”
On impressing her mother: “She’s always impressed when she sees me being a little sassy or sharp, when she sees me defending myself. It makes her feel safe, like she doesn’t have to worry about me.”
On dealing with race issues in her career: “You know, when I started to experience the difference—or even have my race be highlighted—it was mostly when I would do business deals. And, you know, that never ends, by the way. It’s still a thing. And it’s the thing that makes me want to prove people wrong. It almost excites me; I know what they’re expecting and I can’t wait to show them that I’m here to exceed those expectations.”