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Gladys Chung
Urban, The Straits Times
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

Hot right now: Rita Ora

Urban, The Straits Times | Gladys Chung | Friday, Aug 15, 2014

British hip-hop singer Rita Ora is the face for DKNY's new fragrance My NY. DKNY My NY fragrance.

Skim through the 2,500 posts on British hip-hop singer Rita Ora's Instagram account - she has 2.6 million followers to date - and it is easy to see why she is on her way to becoming a fashion and beauty icon.

With her signature bottle blonde locks, wide, lined eyes and bright red pout, the fashion chameleon can effortlessly pull off everything from a glamorous red carpet Saint Laurent dress to a floral Adidas tracksuit.

The 23-year-old says she never plans her looks beforehand.

"When it comes to my outfits, it is very spontaneous. I just wake up and go with what I feel," says Ora in an exclusive phone interview with Urban from New York.

"I have a stylist who is also a best friend; so basically, I choose my own clothes."

Mentored by music mogul Jay-Z, Ora scored her first hit single Hot Right Now with the DJ Fresh two years ago and has since topped it with another two party anthems, R.I.P and How We Do (Party).

In 2012, her debut album Ora made it to No.1 on the official albums chart in Britain.

Recently, she appears to be making waves more in the fashion and beauty scene. Her edgy sense of style has caught the eye of top fashion and beauty labels, and she has racked up some impressive projects in her fashion portfolio.

In 2011, she was featured in the Calvin Klein CK one Lifestyle campaign.

Last year, she was picked as the face of Material Girl, the clothing line by pop star Madonna and her daughter, Lola.

Ora attained official fashionista status when she closed DKNY's spring 2014 show during New York Fashion Week and walked down the runway alongside singer Katy Perry at Moschino's fall 2014 collection during Milan Fashion Week.

Ora was also made the face of DKNY's resort and fall 2014 collections.

Earlier this year, Adidas announced that it would collaborate with her for its fall 2014 collection. Ora currently helms Roberto Cavalli's new fall 2014 campaign too.

On the beauty front, Ora teamed up with British make-up label Rimmel for a lipstick and nail polish line last year.

She is also the face of DKNY's new fragrance My NY (above), which hits Singapore today at selected department stores. It costs $99 for 50ml.

Of the My NY campaign, she says: "It was a journey actually, having been a big fan of Donna Karan for years, connecting with her and being offered to be a part of the resort 2014 campaign.

"So it felt natural for me to take this up."

A self-proclaimed perfume junkie, Ora says she collects "loads of them" in her bathroom, because she likes to line them all up. "I just love the way the bottles look," she shares.

Not surprisingly, she names My NY as her current favourite scent. "I like its fresh berry scent and the green mossy notes that capture the earthy grittiness of the city," says Ora, who grew up in London.

"It is a city girl fragrance."

She says she has a habit of wearing it in her hair, behind her ears and on her wrists.

To keep her skin clear and red-carpet ready, her beauty routine is surprisingly low-key.

She scrubs her face in the shower every day, uses a mask once a week and sleeps with a treatment oil to get rid of the dry skin around her nose.

On days when she is not working, she puts on eye cream to get rid of puffiness and dark circles, and finishes off with a tinted moisturiser.

And the one thing she would not step out of the house without?

Her red lipstick.

"Even when you have no other make-up on, it makes you feel made up. I have my own lipstick shade with Rimmel called Colour Rush and it comes in the form of a crayon pen, so it is easy to wear."

To keep her platinum blonde locks - which are often plaited into a high bun or worn in loose waves - looking healthy, she says she brushes her curly hair as much as possible and uses plenty of hair serum.

She also has a few tricks up her sleeves when her hairstylist is not around.

"I use dry shampoo to give it life and finish with a light hairspray to set it."

Despite all the attention paid to her sense of style, Ora is adamant that people view her first as a musician.

Her new album will be out next month, and Prince, Jay Z and Will.i.am are rumoured to be collaborating with her on it.

"This is the moment to show the world what Rita's world really means and what I stand for. I don't want to do a million things at a time and confuse people.

"I don't want them to forget that music is where everything started for me."

gladysc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on August 8, 2014.
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