May 24, 2024

Rita Ora, GLAMOUR’s May Coverstar, On Misogyny, Mental Health & Her Secret Marriage

Rita Ora is GLAMOUR’s May coverstar. Here, the multi-talented entertainer talks new music, mental health, misogyny, and her secret wedding to Taika Waititi.

Rita Ora and I didn’t get off to a great start. She’s spent six months thinking I’ve ignored her WhatsApp message. We had met in November at last year’s GLAMOUR Women Of The Year Awards where she won her third GLAMOUR Award, this time for Entertainer. She was sitting at my table. I liked her instantly.

As a cynical Northerner, I’m not that easily charmed, but she was effusive, warm, cheeky, fun and surprisingly earnest, genuinely thrilled to be winning another GLAMOUR Award, “because GLAMOUR has championed me from day one and I haven’t forgotten that. ”

We’d exchanged numbers. She’d apparently WhatsApped me the next day to say “Thanks”, but sent it to the wrong number. “But I saw the tick had gone blue,” she laughed. “I thought you’d ignored me! ” As if I would. I giggle to myself at the thought that someone random unknowingly has a WhatsApp message on their phone from Rita Ora. I thought she’d just been polite asking for my number, never to be heard from again.

The fact she’d WhatsApp to thank me personally for an award, reveals a not-often seen show of manners and down-to-earthness from a star of her calibre, but which I’m starting to realise is classic Rita. All alongside an underlying steeliness, determination to succeed and an innate confidence that I’m curious about; I wonder what her parents did right and how can I infuse my young daughters with it?

We meet in her hotel suite and she welcomes me like an old friend. Her fridge is stacked with her own mini health food shop; CBD drops, bone broth packets, mushroom health snacks. At 32, she tells me she’s in the best shape of her life, doing reformer Pilates twice a week and weights once a week. Her hair is waist length and naturally curly, highlighted blonde; her eyes painted with a graphic eye design.

She’s wearing a Stella McCartney grey, box-shouldered, long suit jacket, white Stella T-shirt and knee-length black cowboy boots, which she kicks off revealing short grey socks that hide her new ankle tattoo – a heart shape with the letter ‘T’ tucked neatly inside it. Her husband, Taika Waititi, 47, a New Zealand Oscar-winning film-maker tattooed it on her with his own hands, she created a matching one with her initial on him, when a friend came round to theirs with a tattoo gun. But more on this later.

Rita Ora’s GLAMOUR Unfiltered interview by Emily Maddick

We’re here to discuss her new album You & I, her first in more than four years, it’s almost 11 years since the launch of her first album Ora. Music aside, she hasn’t stopped working, she’s been prolific, punishing at times. She recently co-hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards with Taika, launched tequila brand Próspero, acted in Fifty Shades Of Grey and in the past decade has collaborated with Prince and Ed Sheeran.

Having previously left Jay-Z’s Roc Nation because they hadn’t put out any of her music in three years, Rita signed with Berlin-based music label BMG in February 2022 and now owns all her own masters.

She has also been a judge on The X Factor, The Masked Singer and The Voice in the UK and Australia, travelled around the world, and is currently between London, LA, Australia and New Zealand. Earlier this week she was in Liverpool, performing at the Eurovision Song Contest’s semi-finals. Oh, and she acts as a Unicef Ambassador, too, helping refugee children create a new life. It’s impressive.

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