rihanna and miranda july fell in love during maybe the best interview ever
It was just two girls drinking white wine and talking about their vaginas.
In a new interview for T magazine, Miranda July got nervous (who wouldn't), consumed carefully balanced quantities of white wine and bread, got a gentle buzz on, and chatted to Rihanna for two hours about everything from the body-changing consequences of childbirth to the star's racial awareness. Calling this conversation an interview is a discredit to both its seemingly unmediated realness and narrative beauty. It reads like a personal account of the meeting of two souls. July: "My understanding, from the moment she sat down, was that we were in love." Reading the feature triggers the same kind of endorphin levels you get from hearing about how your parents first met.
Here are the best parts: Miranda July fans out with her Uber driver before arriving at the designated interview spot, and later shares snippets from her voice recorder with him, like an excited kindergartener during show and tell. After Rihanna arrives (wearing a diamante "FENTY" necklace), the two gaze into each other's eyes before moving onto July's first question. What does Rihanna Google? Childbirth, apparently. Specifically, what happens if you don't do your Kegels. This revelation leads, after more white wine, to July double-checking that Rihanna is not pregnant. No, she says, she just has a "phobia of a big vagina."
Other interesting disclosures: Rihanna is turned on by cultured guys. "That'll keep me intrigued," she confides to July (the two are now sitting side by side at the table). "They don't have to have a single degree, but they should speak other languages or know things about other parts of the world or history or certain artists or musicians. I like to be taught." July then cautiously brings up the subject of race and summarizes Rihanna's feelings as: "everyone's cool with a young black woman singing, dancing, partying and looking hot, but that when it comes time to negotiate, to broker a deal, she is suddenly made aware of her blackness." Rihanna says that almost excites her. "I can't wait to show them that I'm here to exceed those expectations."
At the end of their conversation, July muses on the nature of Rihanna's soul. If reading last week's Nicki Minaj profile in the New York Times Magazine felt like observing a swift but painful break-up, reading July's interview feels like third-wheeling on the first date of two soulmates.
Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Paolo Roversi
[The Music Issue, No.335, Pre-Spring 2015]