You have turned your creative eye to perfume, tell me more about Pink Friday?
‘I have always wanted to create a perfume, I mean it’s every girl’s dream right? But I didn’t think anyone would want to take a chance on me, a female rapper. Now it’s an extension of my personality and a way for my fans to feel closer to me.’
Did you enjoy the new creative process of choosing notes and helping design a flacon?
‘I loved choosing and experimenting with the different scents. I loved the fact that I could say that I liked a certain note in a certain perfume and then the perfumer would create a new combination and I would see it come to life as Pink Friday. It’s fun it’s almost like playing with makeup and playing dress up. You put all of these things together and hope it comes out well. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s a mess, but when it works perfectly then that’s when you have a new fragrance.’
Talking of dressing up, tell me about the new Couture clothes for the bottle?
‘I really enjoyed choosing what the bottle looks like and, seeing my vision come to fruition, was one of the best parts of the process because I know my fans will love the bottle and the smell. For the Couture the designers took direct inspiration from my outfits, so there is a dark, sexy moment, a fun, pink moment and more of a fairytale, fantasy moment. It’s indicative of my personality; I like to change my hair, my clothes, my makeup a lot so we thought that because I am so close to the UK and I always have such a great time when I visit, we are like soul mates, I wanted to do something unique just for the UK. This is like icing on top of the cake. I know my UK fans are getting the scent later, but now they get to pay dress up with it, and no one else does.’
You are famous for creating different characters in your music, do the same characters influence your style?
‘Not really, when it comes to clothes I just put on whatever I want to wear and when it’s all on me then it creates a character but I never get up and say “I want to dress up as Barbie or Roman” . I like change but I think all women do, they have to create characters even when they are not an artist, whether you wear a ponytail or your hair down, whether you’re a sexy character on a night out or the girl next door at work. It’s what every woman does; it’s just magnified in my life.’
You have also created two best selling lipsticks as part of the MAC Viva Glam campaign, tell me why you got involved?
‘I am honoured to be part of this movement. It is important for our young generation to understand that HIV/AIDS will continue to be a global issue unless we work together to fight the disease. Awareness leads to education, education leads to empowerment and empowerment leads to change.’
You have great skin, what’s your secret?
‘I never go to bed with my makeup on – ever. I drink tons of water and slather myself in cocoa butter. I have a dermatologist in LA who gave me some great advice; never use anything to wash my skin that contains alcohol or oil, and those rules really work for me. Before I would buy something from a store and I would either dry out or break out.’
You are as experimental with your makeup as you are with your fashion, what are your makeup favourites?
‘I’m really into contouring to change the shape of my face. When it comes to putting on fake eyelashes, I use a little imagination, a lot of eyeliner, a steady hand and no fear! For me, more is more!’
Do you have any salon treatments?
‘Right now I am wearing a lot of sparkly gel nail polish; for me they look good and last a really long time, which is great when I a travelling.’
You wear lots of wigs, how do you look after your natural hair?
‘I do a wash and set, I go to a Dominican hairstylist who uses a lot of hot oil treatments and I use really moisturising Mizani shampoos and masks.’
You’re famous for your curves but they are very firm curves, how do you stay in shape?
‘I’m not really into working out; not that I’m proud of that as I do want to start. But when I am on tour singing and dancing and moving around for ninety minutes is a real work out. Then if I’m not on tour and I have to do something on camera I will follow a quick diet and drink lots of water, cut out all carbs, all sugar, all dairy and all fried food. So I would rather diet than exercise.’
What’s your one indulgence?
‘Normally I’m a real chocolate person and I love snacks rather than food, so when I have to lose a little bit of weight I just cut back on my snacks and drink water instead of soda and juice. That’s really my thing; working out puts me in a bad mood, it’s annoying to me.’
Who are your style and beauty icons?
‘Cyndi Lauper because she is the first person who used colour in a way that made me feel excited. She used it on her face and hair, her clothes, her accessories. She would put different coloured shapes and cut outs in her hair, and that made me want to explore the world. I remember thinking ”I want to get to that part of the word where people dress like that and act like that”. And of course I am obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, and for high fashion Naomi Campbell, Iman and Grace Jones. All of the pictures I would see for references for my early photo shoots were of Grace Jones and I got to meet her about two years ago in Hong Kong, and that was a really great experience for me.’