Not all celebrities are created equal. While I love accomplished actors and singers, I prefer famous people with a little more confusing resumes. Case in point: Rita Ora. While you’ve probably heard of her, you also probably have no idea why. Why was she at the Met Gala? Why does every tabloid cover everything she does? Even if you could name one thing she’s done, you’re most likely still blissfully unaware of how much of a clusterfuck her career has been. Luckily, I’ve done way too much research and am prepared to talk about Queen Rita’s myriad accomplishments so none of you have to waste the energy typing her name into Google and figuring out the timeline of her career yourselves.
Here’s some background on Rita Ora. She was born in 1990 in Yugoslavia, but her family moved to the UK a year later because of major political turmoil and ethnic persecution. I’m not going to explain the entire Yugoslavia situation (you have Wikipedia, use it), but it was bad. Fast forward, when Rita became one of the first artists signed to Jay-Z’s record label and started making YouTube videos. She started getting big in the UK after she was featured in this EDM song “Hot Right Now,” which you have absolutely never heard if you live in the US. Early Rita Ora is very 2010, kind of like Rihanna’s “We Found Love” phase, but obviously not as good.
For some reason, I first became aware of Rita in 2012, when she released her debut album. It was really only big in the UK, but there’s a slim chance you might have heard the songs “R.I.P.” or “How We Do (Party).” No? That’s okay too, none of this matters. She started making announcements about her second album in 2013, but there’s still no word on when this album is coming. I’m not like, a music industry insider, but I feel like it can’t be a good thing when your album has been “coming soon” for a full five years. In terms of music, you most likely know her from being featured on Iggy Azalea’s song “Black Widow” back in 2014. Classic stuff. She’s actually released a few new songs in the past few months, and they’re not bad. I particularly like “Anywhere,” and this makes me think that there might be an actual album that exists.
In the half a decade that her second album has been allegedly in the works, Rita has stayed busy with a wide variety of projects. She’s been a judge/coach on the UK versions of both The Voice and The X Factor, which really says a lot. Going on one singing competition show is one thing, but judging two is a pretty good indicator that your music career isn’t exactly breaking records. Like, there’s a reason you don’t see Drake judging the new American Idol.
Rita has also done some work as an ~actress~, and by that I mean she was in Fifty Shades of Grey. She played Christian’s sister in all three movies (they look nothing alike), and in the third one she even got a juicy kidnapping subplot. Yes girl, act! For the most recent movie, she even got to do a song with Liam Payne for the soundtrack, which is actually more impressive than being in the movie itself. Fifty Shades is probably how half of you know about Rita, which is one of the saddest things you can say about someone’s career. It’s like the Hollywood equivalent of being known in the office for bringing a lunch that smells weird.
If you’re not aware of Rita’s legendary acting work or iconic music career, perhaps you know her from her brief stint on America’s Next Top Model. Remember back in 2016, when they tried to do a season without Tyra Banks? Remember how everyone hated it? Yeah, Rita Ora was the one who hosted that train wreck. I’m not sure who thought this was a great idea, considering that Rita is not actually a supermodel, but I can commend her people for getting her that gig.
So what is Rita Ora up to right now? Well, she just started a new European tour, which is supposedly in support of her second album that does not technically exist yet. She also just released a new song, “Girls,” featuring Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, and Cardi B. It’s impressive that Rita got all these people (especially Cardi) on her song, but the song itself unfortunately got started off on the wrong foot. Notably, there was backlash claiming that the song is disrespectful to the LGBT community, because the song is all about how sometimes girls just want to make out with girls—but it’s implied they mean it in like, a drunk way. Because of the criticism, Rita was forced to clarify that the song is actually about her own experiences having relationships with men and women. This week, Rita dropped the video for the song, and I honestly love it. Rita looks hot AF, and things are great until Cardi B appears in her Jackie-O wig as some sort of hologram thought bubble. I love Cardi B, but I have to admit I’m confused why she’s here. At least Rita saved the best outfits for herself, a true betch move.
Also, this unintentionally shady tweet from Cardi B is my favorite thing to ever exist.
Maybe someday Rita will have a singular accomplishment that turns her into an A-list star, but for now we will just have to watch as the Daily Mail covers her every outfit change as if it’s a breaking news story. Hopefully she’ll continue being invited to every single red carpet event for no apparent reason, because at this point I would miss her. Next time you’re looking at red carpet photos and see Rita, take a moment to appreciate her. You’ll probably still have to check the caption to figure out who the fuck she is, but at least now you’ll know how hard she’s tried to become famous.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (2); @ritaora / Instagram; @iamcardib / Twitter
Halloween is like, here, and you’ve procrastinated your costume, your plans, and undoubtedly your playlist. While we can’t really tell you what to wear or what to do (if you didn’t grab a Shop Betches costume while you had the chance, you’re SOL, but we tried), we can help you on the playlist front. We asked singer-songwriter on the rise Nick Hissom to do the hard work of creating a Halloween playlist everyone at your party/pregame will love, and he came through. Wait, who’s Nick Hissom? He’s a 25-year-old British singer-songwriter who just dropped his first single, “He Ain’t Better,” which has already racked up over a million streams on Spotify. He’s got an album on the way, which, spoiler, has features with the likes of Bryson Tiller and Rick Ross. 2017 might not be anyone’s year but Nick’s. (Maybe 2018 will pan out for us.) We also sat down with Nick to talk about his music, his former fuckboyish ways, his partying, and more. Check out the interview and playlist below, and listen to “He Ain’t Better” on Spotify.
How did you get into music?
I started writing songs from my college dorm room, which is a pretty common starting place for a lot of artists. I sent them out to some DJs that I knew, who invited me to collab on a song, and from there started working with producers. started making songs, and sending them to people all over the place—flying back and forth to LA, Miami. And several years later, here we are.
Who are some of your favorite up-and-coming artists?
I really like Samantha Harvey; she’s from the UK. I wouldn’t say that Conor Maynard is up-and-coming anymore, he’s more of an established star, but I still think he’s really cool and very talented, and doesn’t get as much cred as he deserves. I also like Stanaj; he’s new. Met him in the parking lot at the VMAs. We were both wrecked haha.
How did you link up with Rick Ross, Bryson Tiller, etc? What was it like to work with them?
The whole thing with Rick Ross and Bryson Tiller came about through Miami. I knew a bunch of the writers that worked with Bryson on his first album, and they connected us. Then with Rick Ross, he had done a track with Scott Storch, who’s a friend of mine through my manager, Derek Jackson. We all spoke and they let me cut it, , “Let’s see what it sounds like,” and uh, yeah, it was awesome! I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
How would you describe your sound? What do you think sets you apart from other artists?
I would describe my sound as R&B or rhythmic pop. I think what sets it apart from other artists’ is that it’s a lot to do with my vocal tone and the swag. That’s really my signature, because that’s me. I also collab and work with a lot of hip hop producers and artists, so there’s a bit of that too. I’m a mix of everything that’s edgy, urban, but still danceable and fun.
What do you like doing when you’re not making music?
When I’m not making music, um.. I party. Honestly, making music is so stressful that when I’m not making music, I wanna go crazy, go to Vegas, New York… Any city I’m in just as long as I’m with good people. I also like to vacation and chill out too, but normally I don’t have enough time off to go anywhere too far from where I’m at, so I just hit the club or my bed—either one.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When people leave doors open, or clothes on the floor. I have so much OCD. You know, I live with all my friends a lot of the time, so the worst thing is when I’m going to bed, and people are partying in my bedroom, and someone’s leaving, and they forget to shut the door!! I spend all night walking around my house shutting doors and stuff, before I can go to sleep. I’m weird; it drives me crazy
What’s your most overused emoji?
Probably the praying hands because I say thank you a lot. The heart is pretty overused as well, and the platinum record emoji, because that’s the dream. You gotta stay motivated, gotta stay music. I use the smiley face a lot, too. I’m a pretty chill guy. I try to send good vibes to people. Or memes. Whatever.
What’s the biggest fuckboy maneuver you’ve ever pulled (and do you feel bad about it now)?
Mmm, I was 18. I was pretty out of control. I took this one girl as my date to a big weekend party in Paris, very formal, and ended up leaving with a different one…I definitely felt a little guilty. May have had a girlfriend too while this was happening…not good, I apologize. Now I care a lot more. I’m more considerate. If I care, I care a lot. I’m great, when I care. “He Ain’t Better”, you know, haha.