If Vogue hopes to sustain itself after the Kardashians have been replaced by whatever TikTok celebrity the Zoomers rally behind, it should pivot from starting celebrity profiles off with a sentence about the weather, a café, or the blouse the subject gracefully swoops in wearing. Some writer inevitably spends a paragraph or two reacting to the celebrity’s disarming beauty. Or they postulate how their own outfit compares before spinning another 500 words out of the light splayed across whatever metropolitan landscape they’ve wandered with the famous person. But very few show up completely unprepared, and even less publicly admit it. Unlike Vogue!
Rihanna rescheduled her interview with Abby Aguirre for Vogue’s November issue three times. Perhaps the singer could sense that, upon arriving at the Hotel Bel-Air, she’d be informed by her interviewer: “I’m winging it, so you have to help me.” I could spend the same amount of time this cover story spends talking about the broad shoulders on a Fenty Maison blazer opining about journalistic integrity or common sense. I’d rather not! Instead, I have an announcement for my editors, future employers, and the entire fucking internet.
If I have one job—interview Rihanna—and I come unprepared, without a single tweet draft or Notes app scribble to show for myself: Please fire me. I’m begging you! I will expunge every last secret I have, embarrass my family, and even get myself canceled if I can scrounge a noteworthy blog from the experience. (And I have, frequently!) But embarrass myself in front of Rihanna, let alone her Navy? I’d rather die.
However, I think that speaks more to my own journalistic chops (and lack of decorum) than Vogue or Aguirre. Instead of meticulously documenting and tweeting about her every thought on the greatest creative mind of a generation—she shows up, barely showered, and treats Rihanna like your average person. (I’m serious, she showered minutes before showing up at the Bel-Air Hotel.) It’s a legendary flex, and maybe I’m the hack! But also—please fire me, Jezebel. If that’s impossible, I’d welcome being canceled! At least then I can spend more time working on my questions for Rihanna, or writing anything other than the following paragraph:
At the Bel-Air, a hostess shows me to a small courtyard table tucked behind the trunk of a century-old sycamore. I’m sitting under its dappled canopy when Rihanna arrives. She sweeps in quietly, enveloping the area and probably the swans outside in an invisible cloud of her famous scent—an intoxicating olfactory assault that, in the words of Lil Nas X, “literally smells like heaven.” (The internet has decided it’s a Kilian fragrance called Love, Don’t Be Shy, which contains notes of neroli, orange blossom, and marshmallow.) We order Champagne.
You can read the rest of the interview here.