If you’ve been on the internet in the past couple of months, you’ve seen evidence of fashion history being made as Rihanna continues to outdo herself with one jaw-dropping pregnancy look after another. Although she looks like the Queen of Pregnancy, the icon’s experience as a mom-to-be sounds refreshingly similar to what the rest of us go through when we gestate our own plebeian young.
This will be the first child for the singer and her partner, rapper and producer A$AP Rocky. The pair announced their news with a weekend stroll around Harlem at the end of January. Rihanna immediately made a visual statement with an unbuttoned hot pink Chanel coat, ultra-long designer jeans, and belly jewels.
Being pregnant feels surreal sometimes, the megastar told Vogue for their May cover story. “As much as it’s happening, it’s also not happening,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll walk past my reflection and be like, Oh sh*t!”
The star is experiencing the transformation internally as well. There are the cravings, which she says have been running to the sweet end of the spectrum as of late. “I usually hate desserts, but all of a sudden you come close to me with a chocolate-covered donut and you’ve got my heart forever,” she told Vogue.
Another favorite snack these days? Tangerines, sprinkled with salt. “It has to be with salt and only with salt, because in Barbados we take our fruits to the ocean and soak them,” she explained to her interviewer. “Trust me, it really is a thing.”
Nothing like the hormonal onslaught of pregnancy to send someone back to her roots, hunting for comfort food. It’s worth nothing that A$AP Rocky’s late father also hailed from the Caribbean island.
While she’s aware of the impending changes that the baby’s birth will bring, she’s also retaining a sense of her true self amidst all the transformation. Despite the pressure, for example, there will be no gender reveal party for this child, and no traditional baby shower — although she likes the idea of a co-ed party to celebrate.
“I think I even say yes to more now because I know it will be different on the other side of this,” she told Vogue. “At first I expected some magical change, but really I remain who I am.”
“None of the dials are turned down,” she added.
Resplendent Rihanna, in other words, is now resplendent Rihanna with child. Regular maternity wear, like elastic-waisted jeans, was out of the question from the start.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I thought to myself, There’s no way I’m going to go shopping in no maternity aisle,” she told Vogue. “I’m sorry—it’s too much fun to get dressed up. I’m not going to let that part disappear because my body is changing.”
‘That part’ has only been amplified by the star’s physical metamorphosis.
Speaking of the work — indeed, the art — that she and her stylist have created over the past several months, Rihanna said, “I’m hoping that we were able to redefine what’s considered ‘decent’ for pregnant women.”
“My body is doing incredible things right now, and I’m not going to be ashamed of that,” said the fashion and music icon. “This time should feel celebratory. Because why should you be hiding your pregnancy?”
While she looks sublime, the star has to contend with quotidian details as well, such as how to feed the baby — she plans to try to breastfeed — and whether COVID protocols will mean that she can have all her support people in the delivery room. She also worries about the possibility of postpartum depression.
Hopefully the example of Rihanna’s very public celebration of her pregnant self will trickle down to us commoners, who may feel inspired to command a little more attention and respect during a surreal and significant chapter in our lives.