If you had to close your eyes and think of one celebrity who’s the epitome of confidence, there’s a high likelihood that Rihanna would come to mind. After all, in addition to being one of the top artists in music, she is a style icon and even handles body-shaming from the media with ease, proclaiming: “I have the pleasure of a fluctuating body type.” (All hail RiRi.)
In a recent interview with InStyle, however, Rihanna admits she used to be really shy (I gasped, too). Though she knew “what she was about,” the fashion designer-slash-beauty entrepreneur-slash-musician says she wasn’t vocal about it because of the environment she grew up in.
“In the Barbadian culture there’s this thing we say: ‘Speak when you’re spoken to,'” says Rihanna. “It’s polite not to blabber. It took me a couple of years to come out of my shell.”
“The biggest mistake you can make is to compare yourself with someone else.”
Thankfully, she figured it out (as you can tell if you’ve seen any of her badass hairstyles or daring outfits, worn with an enviable attitude)—and learned some serious lessons about confidence along the way.
“The biggest mistake you can make is to compare yourself with someone else,” she says. “I hate the pressure that’s being put on us by social media. Young girls don’t know which way to go; they’re still figuring themselves out.”
Rihanna then (correctly) points out that everyone’s taught this idea of perfection via their Instagram feeds, which she completely rejects. “I only know how to be me, and people thrive when they’re who they’re meant to be,” she says. “I can only try my best to encourage girls and women to respect their uniqueness and be 100 percent true to themselves.” Preach—seriously, is Rihanna ever not #winning?