Kathryn MacLeod, senior photography producer: “This was taken while Rihanna was getting in the mood to descend the staircase for the shot at La Guarida, a famous restaurant in Cuba. We basically took over the whole place. The staff was incredible to us. I think they were a little shocked when Rihanna walked in, because we didn’t really tell people what we were doing. We probably told them we needed a place for her to change. They were serving really incredible food and kept the mojitos going. We stayed up there far too long.”
MacLeod: “This was after the cover shot. Throughout the shoot, Rihanna wanted to walk into the crowds and meet the people of Cuba. Annie [Leibovitz] would be photographing her, and the next thing you know, she would just be off, greeting her fans. After we wrapped the cover, Rihanna just walked up to this gentleman with his flower cart, he handed her a bouquet, and she walked up and down the street with those flowers. She just looked so happy and so radiant. It was nothing that was scripted.“
For more photos, head over to Vanity Fair.