Rihanna Magazine Covers: The Best Features

Superstar Rihanna has been the muse for countless magazine covers, delivering megawatt style and ambition along with her natural glamour.

BYErin Haley
Rihanna Magazine Covers: The Best Features

Rihanna has graced so many magazine covers that her photogenic magnetism is undeniable. Make no mistake; it is not just a matter of beauty. When examing and unpacking the mythical 'it' factor, Rihanna has an abundance, channeling a mystique that has given her a long list of 'best magazine covers.' Her accented vocals have been her calling card, and she can transition from contralto to mezzo-soprano with perfect ease. Equally important to her vocals is that she can juggle raps while parlaying introspective choruses. In addition, she is a master of infectious beats and singalong verses. With the magic of one album, she can make a person party, slow dance, and weep.

Consequently, her craft, artistry, and innovative genius are as much a factor for her fame as her beauty. Therefore, seeing her on any magazine cover is never a surprise. Her hazel eyes are forever purposeful yet ludic and coy, telegraphing that she comes for both play and business. In essence, she constantly tests the boundaries of a musical world. Even when fans cannot attend her concerts, her many appearances in magazine layouts like Vogue and GQ bridge the distance. As for the many covers that have helped build her empire and solidify her reputation, here are some of the best.

British Vogue, September 2018

Whether it's the British or the American version, September is always Vogue Magazine's mega month. It is the thickest issue; even the advertisements are artful and glamorous. It was in September 2018 that Rihanna appeared on British Vogue's cover. She sidestepped gloss and artificial sophistication, looking like a woodland sprite from an haute couture fairy tale.

Yusef Williams did her hair, and Isamaya French was responsible for her makeup. The photos feature fantastical playfulness run amuck. Flowers crowned her head in brilliant citruses and pinks. Her razor-thin eyebrows temporarily resurrected the plucked looks of Jean Harlow circa the 1930s. In addition, the liquified plum lipstick signaled a love for goth-glam themes.

GQ, January 2010

GQ's January 2010 cover featured Rihanna in an article titled "Good Girl Gone Badass." It showed her rapidly coming into her own regarding her creative prowess and ability to call the shots in a multi-hyphenated career. Her hair was playfully teased, and her arms were casually crossed over her bare chest. The photoshoot occurred days after the singer's now-famous interview with Diane Sawyer, where she discussed the turmoil of her Chris Brown relationship. Despite the intimacy of that interview, the GQ cover was a reminder of how strong and self-assured Rihanna was and continues to be.

Dazed and Confused, Autumn 2021

For the Autumn 2021 issue of Dazed and Confused Magazine, Rihanna embraced the unorthodoxy of a femme fatale who doesn't need validation. In Rafael Pavarotti's photos, she modeled a futuristic and retro look. On the cover, she wore a coppery catsuit with material that fit like metallic snakeskin. Her cropped hair might have advertised androgyny on anyone else; on Riri, it was a superhero look, heralding her daredevil ethos. Additional photos showed her in a lipstick-red catsuit. She also wore an oversized hat that looked sprung from the Mad Hatter's closet.

Vogue, November 2019

Let it never be said that there isn't a love affair between Rihanna and Vogue. The November 2019 issue showed the singer in her own Fenty designs. In addition to talking to the magazine about her 'gothleisiure' looks, Rihanna also discussed the inclusivity of her brand. Her makeup line has 50 shades of hydrating foundation for various skin types, and her clothing comes in sizes for every body type. Rihanna sported a Fenty tulle coat for the cover and accessorized with Forevermark x Jade Trau earrings. Once again, Yusef Williams did her hair. Makeup artist Kanako Takase did her makeup in a soft tableau of natural shades. The Fashion Editor for the entire shoot was Tonne Goodman.

Vogue, May 2022

The behind-the-scenes footage of Rihanna's Vogue May 2022 cover shoot showed a megastar entirely at ease with her success. She wore various looks that flaunted her baby bump. In some photos, she also donned Savage X Fenty briefs and a Marc Jacobs coat. She admitted to surrendering and enjoying her journey as a musical megastar, even as she slipped into a cinched white latex gown that revealed the belly as much as the décolleté. On the cover, she sizzled in a red lace catsuit. With photos by Annie Liebowitz, the camera embraced Rihanna as much as it captured her. The camera angles force readers to look up at the chanteuse as if daring anyone to underestimate her.

British GQ, December 2013

For their 25th Anniversary cover, British GQ transmogrified Rihanna into Medusa. Though Medusa is a monster of Greek mythology, it is worth noting that her powers often persuade audiences to think of her as more of a goddess. In the myths, Medusa turns onlookers into stone even as she mesmerizes them with her snake tendrils. Taking on the come-hither deceptive seduction of that most famous Gorgon, Rihanna's name was emblazoned on the magazine's cover; she needed no subheading or logline.

Like so many mononymous stars - Cher, Madonna, Beyonce - Rihanna only needed her name to capture the public. For the magazine, she collaborated with Damien Hirst, one of Britain's richest and most acclaimed artists whose past work has included various installations and collaborations with the house of McQueen. Together, the singer and artist took the magazine's images to the very edge of fashion.

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