From her golden Marilyn Monroe curls to her signature bold red lip, London-based pop star and fashion fixture Rita Ora knows how to make a statement. In other words, she’s a natural choice to helm DKNY‘s latest campaign, set to debut next month. (Consider it an added bonus that she’s a lifelong fan of the brand.) Hot on the heels of one-time BFF Cara Delevingne, Ora takes a classic New York City cab for a spin in the soon-to-be-released ads. As for where she’s headed next, we got the It Brit on the record about her current fashion direction, her teenage style, and why she can’t pass through Manhattan without eating pizza and seeing at least one movie−the scarier, the better. Buckle up!
How did the collaboration with DKNY come about?
Well, I was a fan first−I’ve been a fan for a long time. And the campaign to me is just really historical. I always thought that maybe one day I could be one of those girls. I didn’t think I could be the girl in the DKNY campaign, but I thought I could be a girl that looked like that.
Are there any specific campaigns that you remember?
I remember them being in the city, being fabulous, and the models looking like people you could see every single day, which is what I love about DKNY. It’s such an approachable line. I fell in love with it, and then slowly but surely they sent me some really nice pieces. I was obsessed and I wore them a lot. I would take photos and post them on my Instagram, and DKNY contacted me and were just like, “We love that you really love us.” The relationship naturally built from there. I performed at the DKNY Artworks party in London earlier this summer, and now we’re doing this. I was over the moon when they asked me.
How would you describe the DKNY girl?
She’s a girl you can aspire to be. It’s always so simple at DKNY! They really look for three things: confidence, clarity, and inspiration. Every woman should be very, very clear with who they are. And every photo you see of the campaign, it’s such a strong pose and an empowering moment, and it’s in such a crazy city. It’s always very energetic, kind of like my shows. It’s very easy to be the DKNY woman: You just have to believe in you.
Do you have any favorite pieces from the resort collection?
Yes, I have a look that includes every single color of the rainbow. It’s so cool. It’s got a bright skirt, a yellow scarf, and a green-ish hat.
You’ve become quite the fashion fixture lately, sitting front row at shows and starring in campaigns. Why do you think there’s such a synergy between music and fashion?
They go hand in hand. You need the music for the catwalk shows, and you need the clothes for your videos. I always say that music is my husband and fashion is my mistress.
What are your favorite things to do when you’re visiting New York?
I love New York City shopping, pizza, and going to the movies. Your movies are newer than ours, so I always try to catch one when I’m here. I just saw The Conjuring−I love horror movies.
Do you have an all-time favorite horror movie?
Oh, of course! The Exorcist. I watched it again the other day. Growing up it was like the scariest movie of my life. But seeing it now, I’m like, “What was I so scared of?” The music is so funny, and you can see when her head’s turning around that it’s totally fake.
How has your style changed and evolved since you were a teenager?
Well, I definitely have opened the door to clothes I never thought I’d ever be able to physically touch. I grew up near Portobello, which is [an antique and thrifting] market. So I would buy T-shirts for like two pounds. I would kind of rip them up and shred them. I was not a kid who saved up a lot of money for one big piece. I would just buy lots of little things. Although I was definitely the person who bought magazines and wished I could have what was in them…and then it started to happen.
Did you go through any wild style phases as a teen?
I feel like I’ve never come out of my crazy phase! I dye my hair blue sometimes. I always do crazy random things. Like, I buy loads and loads of wigs. You just have to play. You should never take anything too seriously.
Any current fashion or beauty obsessions?
I always love a bright color, and I’m really obsessed with changing my hair color with spray dye. I tend to change it with what I’m wearing. That’s my new thing this summer!
Any fun summer plans?
I just bought a really nice holiday house by Croatia for my mum and dad, so I think I’ve got a few days off to go there and visit. It’s on the beach. I haven’t physically been yet−my mom picked it out−but I trust her judgment.
How did you spend your summers growing up?
I’d always go back to my grandmother’s house in Albania. Now I know why…because my mother and father would just drop us there, and then they went off on their own! I was usually on the beach. We’re really like a hippie family.
August is the beginning of back-to-school season. Do you have any favorite fashion memories from your high school days?
I went to Silver Young Theatre School, and we had a uniform−a blazer, tie, shirt, skirt, and black shoes. I remember we had to wear a specific shade and weight of black tights, and I always tried to wear thinner ones. I would wear a sheer one because I thought it was sexy. So I’m walking into school, and I have the tights you can see my leg through, and everyone else is wearing tights that are opaque black. And every year, I would try to find thinner and thinner ones! School for me was always really, really fun. I loved going. I actually really loved the uniform, too. I always ironed my shirts the night before and made sure my tie wasn’t creased. I was very specific about my wardrobe from a very early age!