"My beauty icons—and this sounds cheesy—have a beauty that comes from inside. Freddie Mercury was an amazing beauty icon—anybody who has balls and owns their look. Debbie Harry was it for me. I was always a fan of masquerade and Cabaret and covering things up, like Barbara Streisand and people that wore outfits that really made a difference with their appearance. Jimi Hendrix, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Gwen Stefani—you remember them; you remember what they wore, they made moments. That’s what I love, that’s beauty inspiration.
If I’m not working and getting my makeup done, that’s my chance to do a hair mask and a face mask and my plucking and waxing and all of that. I’ve got really dark circles, so I always focus on those. I do the whole cucumber thing—but it really doesn’t work for me—and I do eye serums. I love the brand Fresh, I really do. The rose collection is great, and I love their Black Tea mask. That’s my thing right now—lots of masks.
It’s always a toned mask for my hair. My blonde needs to be toned every other wash. You should always have one shampoo, like a Kerastase or something to treat it, and then every other day you should use that purple-y shampoo with a built-in toner for blondes. There are a lot of different brands; it doesn’t matter as long as it’s purple. The one I’ve got now is Bed Head Dumb Blonde, and the L’Oreal Professionnel Silver Shampoo is also really great at bringing the blonde back. It’s work, but it’s important—I wash my hair all the time and my blonde just…goes.
If I go out and I’m not getting my makeup done, I’ll do a luminous moisturizer. I have this Laura Mercier Illuminating one that I just bought—it’s tinted, but it’s really good tinted. It has shimmer, but it’s not, like, a disco ball. And it’s not too watery, which is always nice, and I’m a big fan of the SPF. I’m all about not having any wrinkles. I know I’m only 23, but even now I do the anti-wrinkle cream and all that kind of stuff. When I get spots, I put toothpaste on them. It really works to dry them out—my grandma taught me that.
Eyebrows are really important because they structure the face. In school it was funny because I was always the one walking around with tweezers plucking my girlfriends’ eyebrows. I was really good; eyebrow tweezing runs in my family—my mother used to do mine, and I picked it up. Then I started plucking my friends’ brows when I would see them at school. Suddenly there ended up being a line at lunchtime of people who wanted to get their eyebrows tweezed.
I’ve been wearing gel for so long, and I’m finally back to regular nail polish again. In London I have this place I go to in Shepherd’s Bush that’s really nothing fancy—it’s called, like, Five Star Nails. Literally, the sign’s got like five stars and then the word ‘nails.’ I’ve been going there since forever. The woman’s always like, ‘Oh honey, any new songs?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ And she’s like, ‘Because we hear you on the radio all the time! And what’s with the cameras outside? I don’t understand!’ I’ve known them for ages but they still charge me, no discounts! They fully are hustlers."
—as told to ITG
Rita Ora photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on August 19, 2014 at the launch event for DKNY's MYNY, the brand's first new fragrance since 2004's crazy popular Be Delicious. Check her out as the face of the campaign.