1. Rihanna won a beauty pageant in high school.
In 2004, a year before her first hit single “Pon de Replay” was released, Rihanna won her high-school beauty pageant.
She was crowned Miss Combermere, in part, because of her performance of Mariah Carey’s “Hero” in the talent portion.
She told The Daily Mail in 2007 that she’d joined the pageant on a dare.
2. She received military training in Barbados.
Before she became a worldwide phenomenon, Rihanna was an army cadet in a sub-military program in Barbados, the singer’s home country.
In the same Daily Mail interview, she told the publication that her military training actually helped her to compete in the beauty pageant.
“My military training came in handy for learning to balance books on my head for the catwalk,” she said.
3. Rihanna signed her first record deal at 16 years old, and Jay-Z played a role in the offer.
After an audition for record producer Evan Rogers in 2003, Rihanna produced a demo in 2004 and was later flown to New York to meet with Jay-Z, the then-president of the Def Jam record label.
He wanted to sign Rihanna so badly that the label’s meeting with her reportedly went until 3 a.m. while the lawyers ironed out all the details.
At the age of 16, Rihanna signed a contract with the label.
4. “Umbrella” wasn’t originally written for Rihanna.
Rihanna’s hit song almost wasn’t hers.
According to Vice, the song was originally written for Britney Spears, who rejected the offer. It was then offered to both Mary J. Blige and Def Jam Records.
Blige wasn’t able to finalize the deal, so the record label was able to purchase the song for Rihanna.
5. She was the first woman to launch a fashion line for LVMH.
In 2019, Rihanna became the first woman to create an original fashion line with the luxury fashion house LVMH, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
6. Rihanna wasn’t allowed to wear makeup growing up.
Although she’s now a beauty mogul, Rihanna wasn’t allowed to wear makeup growing up.
“My mom wasn’t flexible. I wore no makeup,” she told InStyle in 2017.
Rihanna also said her love of all things beauty-related came from watching her mother work at a beauty counter when she was growing up.
7. Rihanna has gotten vocal lessons from fellow musician Ne-Yo.
Although she never received formal vocal training, Rihanna did take informal lessons from fellow R&B singer Ne-Yo in 2007.
“When I’m in the studio, he’ll tell me how to breathe and stuff,” she told MTV that year.
The pair were reportedly working on new music together when the lessons occurred.
8. She has a street named after her in Barbados.
According to Billboard, the street Rihanna grew up on in Barbados was renamed from Westbury New Road to Rihanna Drive.
The superstar attended the naming ceremony on Barbados Independence Day in 2017.
9. She has a quick drink before she goes on stage
There’s no denying it everyone gets nervous and even more so if they have to perform on stage.
You’d think Rihanna would be over it now, but even she gets wobbly legs before standing in front of an audience.
Firstly, she ensures her throat is ready to go by sucking on lozenges and steaming her vocal cords.
10. Rihanna never finished high school
When she signed up to Evan’s label, Rihanna flew out to America and started to record demos.
Of course, most 15-year-olds are still at school.
In order to fully chase her dreams and take advantage of the amazing opportunity she was given, Rihanna had to drop out of high school.
The singer said that she “hated” school, but she did eventually want to graduate.
She said that if she had stayed in school, she would have gone to University to study psychology.