Rihanna wasn't always an edgy, sexy trendsetter.
Back in 2005, the then-16-year-old was an inconspicuous newcomer with a lukewarm album and one Top 10 single, "Pon de Replay," to her name. Safe was the operative word. The platinum success of her second LP, "A Girl Like Me," still wasn't enough to make Riri a household name. Despite adding two smash hits to her catalog, "S.O.S." and "Unfaithful," the Bajan singer's resume was still bigger than her buzz.
All that changed with the release of her third LP, "Good Girl Gone Bad," in May 2007. The video for her single "Umbrella," featuring Jay-Z, set the stage for Rihanna's transformation. The first visual impression was of the singer in the buff, covered in silver paint.
Out with the long locks and standard wardrobe. In with the fashion-forward risqué get-ups. During an interview with Bang Showbiz, the singer revealed that she approached her label about changing her image.
“I had a ridiculous schedule," Rihanna said. "It was kind of unfair. But I kept going. I was focusing on getting people to respect me as an artist, making my stamp in the industry." Years later, with her latest single "What's My Name" featuring Drake burning up the charts, she has done that and then some.
“I wasn’t 100 percent or even 75 percent in control of my image or my sound," she continued. "I said, ‘If you guys keep this perfect image of me, people will never notice me.’ I kind of blended in. It was safe, the blonde, curly hair. It was a formula. I didn’t want to be like all the other artists. I wanted to stand out.”