The singer has created a name for herself in the music realm but Robyn Rihanna Fenty is much more than just an artist. She has developed herself into an entrepreneur with several business ventures. Fenty even adds the title of philanthropist to her list as she delved into giving back throughout her career.
Staying true to her island culture from the very inception of her career, Rihanna’s 2005 debut studio album included the Creole-infused “Pon De Replay.” The Barbados-born songstress has never been one to shy away from her Bajan culture, but she also comes from an Afro-Guyanese mother.
Before creating her own fashion and beauty lines, she built a name for herself as a world – renowned fashion icon. This made her more enticing to several companies like River Island and Mac Cosmetics—who she developed partnerships with. As part of her sneaker deal with Puma—who brought her on as a creative director four years ago—it saw a spike in its sales after six months, according to Business Insider.
Her tactic is proving to be so successful because numerous fans are recognizing her ability to fill a gap in the market that longtime lingerie producer, Victoria’s Secret, cannot get comfortable with. “Everybody keeps talking about Rihanna’s show. If we had done Rihanna’s show, we would be accused of pandering without question,” Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer said. With Victoria’s Secret’s prototype of what a model should be, refusing to include transgender or plus-size women in their annual fashion show, Rihanna preaches a mantra of inclusivity with her line.
Her September 2017 launch of Savage x Fenty featured prominent names like Bella Hadid but also included a lot of unfamiliar models across the melanin spectrum. Full-figured women as well as two pregnant models were co-opted by Rihanna to walk the runway.
Having begun her career at the age of sixteen, a now thirty-year-old Rihanna has an estimated net worth of $210 million due largely in part to her music but now also in part to her super-successful Fenty Beauty line.
“Fenty Beauty was created for everyone: For women of all shades, personalities, cultures and races. I wanted everyone to feel included. That’s the real reason I made this line,” Rihanna said about her makeup line.
Fenty Beauty, which was released in the fall of 2017, rolled out with 40 shades of its popular Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Foundation. It was an unusual feat for a beauty brand to consider such inclusivity because most brands typically include half those shades. Thanks to Fenty Beauty, however, several brands like Dior are now venturing into more shades to cater to the wide spectrum of colors for their customer base.
The decision from Rihanna to have so many shades made her brand soar to the top with raves from women across 17 countries where the foundation was released. Women were thankful to finally find their skin color represented by a makeup line—some for the first time ever.
Celebrities have also taken an extreme liking to Rihanna’s line. Precious actress, Gabourey Sidibe, took to Twitter last fall where she confirmed the foundation’s use on dark skin. Cardi B donned a whole face full of Fenty products for one of her looks. Model Naomi Campbell offered her congratulations to the singer for finally creating a line that serves many women.
She took an active role in creating the products, which may be why certain shades were sold out from Sephora shelves during the product’s initial release and is still seeing massive sales.
During its first 40 days, Fenty Beauty reportedly made $100 million. For Rihanna, it was more than just making a shade for pale to dark skin pigments but also catering to the undertones in a person’s skin. The brand has now expanded its availability to 29 countries.
Dana Mathura is a senior at Baruch College majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Journalism, class of Spring 2019. Dana has written for the online publication Odyssey and is currently a News and Feature Writer for Caribbean American Weekly, as well as Workers World Today. Her work has been published both in print and online. Fascinated with journalism from a young age, she is an aspiring Broadcast News Analyst, hoping one day to write her own memoir. Dana’s interests include fashion, photography and film.