Rihanna doesn’t fancy herself a rebel, at least when it comes to love. For Bazaar‘s August cover story she opens up to Laura Brown over Italian food, and admits to being “rebellious through my music, through my fashion, tattoos, and my hair. I have been conservative in my love life… it’s pretty much nonexistent. If I come across someone who I find really cool, I’ll hang out. But the minute I find that we’re getting too close I just—I don’t let people in.”
However, the 24-year-old still racks up the drama in the tabloids with her infamous ex, Chris Brown. While she wanted to choose someone “shocking” to collaborate on the remix of her song “Birthday Cake,” she says she had no idea of the backlash it would cause.
“The fans could have said, ‘We don’t want anything to do with it,'” she says. But she makes one concession: “I understood that people had every right to be concerned about it. But I didn’t see it that way because I’m in a different place.”
Rihanna tells Bazaar that she has yet to open up again in relationships, after being so badly hurt in the past.
“When I was in love, I fell so hard. I was really, really, really in love. The way it made me feel was priceless. And in a blink of an eye my whole life changed. Everything that I knew was different. I never thought I’d feel that pain in my life. I’m afraid of feeling that again.”
Although she may be cautious in love, Rihanna continues to push the boundaries of personal style—the singer has recently stunned in everything from lowcut Armani dresses to slouchy Stella McCartney jumpsuits. At her shoot for Harper’s Bazaar, shot by Camilla Akrans, Rihanna glows in gowns by Tom Ford and Calvin Klein. And her body? Sleeker than ever.
“I don’t know if there’s something going on with my body right now, but I’m eating everything in life!” she laughs. “I miss my ass. It just went away! I need a butt. I have an idea of one, but it’s not living up to its full potential right now.”
There is no doubt that Rihanna is living up to her potential—she has her prized “swagger” in spades. But despite all she has achieved, she is far from done.
“I’m still in denial that I’ve proved that, so I have to continue,” she says. “I will not lose.”
Read the full story in the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar, on newsstands July 17.