Mar 31, 2020

    Rihanna Said That Being On Camera Is "Not Normal For Me" After Opening Up About Her Anxiety And Walking Out Of The Grammys

    Rihanna was scheduled to perform at the 2016 Grammys but pulled out hours before the event, citing illness and vocal rest.

    In case you missed one of the only good snippets of news we've had in the last couple of weeks, Rihanna was just unveiled as the cover star for the upcoming issue of British Vogue.

    Steven Klein / British Vogue

    And, of course, because it's Rihanna, she doesn't just have one cover — she has two.

    Steven Klein / British Vogue

    These latest covers add to her already extensive catalogue of Vogue shoots. Casual flex, but she's now fronted various editions of the fashion bible 24 times. Not too shabby.

    Rihanna's 24 @voguemagazine covers 👑 She's also covered Vogue's special Met Gala edition 3 times.

    Rih's also been the cover of Vogue's Met Gala special edition magazine three times, taking that total to 27. If you want to see them in all their glory, I've got you covered right here.

    Anyway, back to British Vogue. In the accompanying interview, Rihanna opened about everything, from the new album (apparently it's coming soon but we've heard that one before) to having "three or four" kids in the next 10 years.

    But one of the more interesting points of the conversation came when Rihanna admitted to still getting nervous before doing literally anything in public.

    Alberto Pizzoli / Getty Images

    "Oh, I'm nervous before even getting in the car to go to something," Rihanna said. "It can be devastating."

    Angela Weiss / Getty Images

    She added that when she arrives at a red carpet, her anxiety really kicks up a gear, and she finds herself "crisis breathing" in the car.

    In fact, Rihanna's anxiety got so bad at one point that, in the middle of preparing for a huge Grammys performance, she pulled out at the last minute.

    Joe Scarnici

    She revealed: "I left the Grammys one time. Left! In the middle of my hair and makeup. My hair half up, half of my lash on…"

    You might remember this particular situation. It was 2016, and Rihanna was due to perform at the Grammys after releasing her eighth studio album, Anti, the month before.

    Christopher Polk / Getty Images

    According to reports, the performance was said to be an ode to the '80s and included James Corden as a chat show host.

    "I get this phone call saying Rihanna has got this big thing planned for her song 'Kiss It Better' and she's doing like a whole '80s talk show thing and it's going to be really cool," James said of the performance at the time. "I'd introduce Rihanna, and she'd come out and do a song and then at the end she'd come and sit with me, like it was its own talk show which they called As It Lays."

    However, James noted that the star was "a bit under the weather" during rehearsals and, sure enough, Rihanna was forced to pull out just hours before the show started.

    Christopher Polk / Getty Images

    "Based on Rihanna's examination, after Grammy rehearsal today, Rihanna's doctor put her on vocal rest for 48-hours because she was at risk of haemorrhaging her vocal chords," a rep for Rihanna announced. "The antibiotics she has been on for 3-days did not kill the infection adequately therefore she cannot perform safely."

    After the announcement was made, Rihanna tweeted: "#NAVY so sorry I couldn't be there ..... Thanks Grammys and CBS for your support tonight."

    But it looks like the illness did little to help her nerves over the performance, with the interviewer for British Vogue writing: "At the time she was said to have left because of issues with her voice, but anxiety can be just as flooring."

    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    Rihanna added: "Being on camera, being in a room full of celebrities is still not normal for me, by the way."

    Aaron J. Thornton / Getty Images

    Despite the drama of her 2016 performance, Rihanna attended the event the following year and graced the Grammys stage the year after that.

    Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images

    Elsewhere in the interview, there were further inklings that Rihanna gets nervous just like the rest of us. At one point, she revealed that she "can't listen to [her] voice" back during interviews or speeches.

    And she also said that she prefers to be "invisible" in public so she can relax a little more, which is why she prefers to hang out with "bougie" people who couldn't care less about her.

    You can read Rihanna's full British Vogue interview here. The May issue of the magazine hits newsstands on April 3.

    Ben Henry is a celebrity reporter for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Ben Henry at ben.henry@buzzfeed.com.

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