Rihanna, From the Very Beginning

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It was early this past Tuesday morning that The Biebs, the man—he’s 19 now, we can call him that—we've grown to love (or love to hate?), was dethroned from his position as the most-watched artist on YouTube. And considering that Bieber was practically birthed on the video-sharing site, this is quite remarkable. To whom do we owe the coup? None other than badgalriri. Coming in at 77 videos, 8.73 million subscribers, and an insane 3.784 billion views*, Rihanna is pulling far ahead of all Dem Haters. Take a bow, girl.

Not that we ever need an excuse to listen to RiRi's entire canon (sure, you could say we're fans), but it seemed only appropriate to celebrate her triumph by watching our way through her music-video archive. And, in doing so, one thing became clear: the superstar we know today bears only a slight resemblance to the peppy Caribbean teen we met way back in 2005, when her first single, “Pon de Replay,” dropped. Then came "SOS" and a bedazzled 19-year-old crooning in a flowing green dress, auburn Posh Spice bangs, and hints of a bikini tan. Things started to shift in 2007, with the release of her appropriately titled third album, Good Girl Gone Bad—out with the long Delia's ringlets and mall rat wardrobe, and in with the leather, attitude, and asymmetrical haircut. Year by year, video by video, her naivety has worn off, and, we’ll be damned if Rihanna hasn’t become the reigning champ of outrageous-yet-somehow-still digestible fashion choices that have us constantly wanting to buy.

We know Bieber, too, loves himself a nontraditional ensemble—commonly featuring animal prints, or that awesome Chanel ski mask—but Rihanna manages to do it with a bit more...grace. And the J-B, well, let’s just say he’ll be getting shit for his Prime-Minister-greeting outfit for the rest of his career. So, without further ado, a visual map of how Rihanna went from just another blip on the teen scene to MAC lipstick designer/Barclays Center headliner. Congrats on the YouTube win; it's well-deserved, if only for the confetti puke in "We Found Love"...

*All statistics courtesy of Billboard.com.

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  • k8

    she was so cute when she still had a lil baby fat on her face aww

  • babs

    Whatever you think of her music and her antics, there is no denying that she is totally beautiful.

  • Robin

    There is something so violently angry about her. I wish people would quit being so busy celebrating and exploiting her and get that girl some help (and Chris Brown for that matter). It's gross to watch. All the money, fashion, and fame is wasted.

    • k8

      "There is something so violently angry about her"

      like.......what, exactly?

      • Miss Y.

        You've never come across a tweet of RiRi in the media? She does come across as an angry person. Oh. And during her concert in Antwerp she shouted the F word to the audience because they wanted to show their love by throwing cuddly toys on stage. Not to mention that actually most of the show totally sucked. Yep. Unprofessional and lots of anger.

      • Robin

        My sense is that she is angry because beat someone at one of her concerts with her microphone. Also, she allows herself to be manipulated by a man who beats her which leads me to believe that she either beats him back or gets out her elevated emotions in some other way (have you seen her twitter/instagram)? I am not saying that her anger is misplaced. I would be pissed too if I was her. I just don't understand why she is celebrated so much. Why do young women think she is so great? She's skinny? She wears great clothes? She has that stuff handed to her and has amazing stylists. My sense is she needs desperate help and all the people around her are exploiting her to make as much money off her as possible. If anything it's very sad.

  • http://www.jacquelinefonte.com/ Jacqueline Fonte

    Also, does anyone else remember her days in neon or electric blue or emerald green red-carpet dresses? She's really the one who brought bold color back to the red carpet. (Amen, because neutrals so often remind me of baby vomit.)

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