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33 Crucial Lessons To Learn From Rihanna In Your Twenties

Happy 26th birthday, Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Thanks for taking us on your journey through 21st century womanhood.

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Last year was the first in now 26-year-old Rihanna's career that she didn't put out an album. Halting a seven-year cycle, she gave us something better: an unfiltered look at her life as she toured the world with a rotating cast of girl friends, pausing for respites in Thailand, New York, and Barbados. Some 12 million gawkers followed her hard work and downtime on Instagram. What they saw was loose and imperfect — Rihanna drunk at home, her nose painted red with lipstick — if not exactly documentary journalism. (She sometimes commissions professional photographers to take her selfies.) The access has hard limits, but to fans she feels "real," like a friend. It's hard not to think that Rihanna's no-bullshit manner didn't push Beyoncé to release her surprise 2013 masterwork, or to market it as the record where she "dropped that fourth wall" and got real.

Rihanna doesn't consider herself a role model; most other people wouldn't call her that either. But if her experiences speak to flawless 32-year-old mothers like Bey, they certainly merit a closer look from Rih's twenty-something peers.

1. Never apologize for your success. Share your milestones freely.


Rihanna has charted 13 number-one singles. Last year she did 96 shows on 5 continents. #histoRIH

2. Don't feel the need to play nice with someone who doesn't respect you.


When a writer called Rihanna a "poisonous princess" in 2013, Rihanna poked fun at her word choice and fact checked the research.

3. Value the friends that ride for you above all else.

Bwaaahaaaaa!!!! Yo I LOVE my friends ya cunt!!!


Bwaaahaaaaa!!!! Yo I LOVE my friends ya cunt!!!

11:15 PM - 28 Aug 13ReplyRetweetFavorite

4. Don't worry if those friends are not men.

5. But when they respect you, it’s totally cool to make new friends.

Grimes recently joined Rihanna on the Roc Nation roster. Wouldn’t it be amazing if she wrote songs for Rih’s next album?

6. Hooking up with someone casually doesn't mean you won't be their peer down the line.

Rihanna dated Drake a couple years back; now they party together as friends.
Jeff Gross / Getty

Rihanna dated Drake a couple years back; now they party together as friends.

7. Don’t let anyone, even your friends and fans, shove you around.

When a fan grabbed her in the UK, Rihanna swung her mic.

8. Let people know when you feel you've given them enough.

View this video on YouTube

Rihanna is not here for free concert tickets.

9. Don't overthink social media.

“I don’t really think about [what I post] too much. Literally, I can be sitting in a car and be bored, so I do a selfie just because I’m bored. Or if my dog is running around in circles and I think that’s funny, I put it on Instagram," Ri told Vogue earlier this month.

10. Pose for #filtafree pictures proudly.

If any followers are scared, they can call that reverend.

11. If something doesn’t interest you, don’t feel the need to pretend that it does.

Larry Busacca / Getty

12. You can say everything without saying anything at all.

MTV / Via

13. Phuck FOMO: it's okay to sit out some parties.

Rihanna won a Grammy this year, but didn't attend the ceremony.

14. When you go out, make sure your friends get home safe.

View this video on YouTube

At the end of a night out with Charlamagne Da God in LA, Rihanna called the radio host a car. "Rihanna is the realest n**** in the game since Tupac," he said.

15. When celebrating a culturally significant holiday, like Crop Over in Barbados, stay out until the festivities are done.

Woke up in paint and a veil from partying in de street all morning!!! #Barbados #FOREDAYmorning CROP OVA almost here! #heauxm


Woke up in paint and a veil from partying in de street all morning!!! #Barbados #FOREDAYmorning CROP OVA almost here! #heauxm

11:22 AM - 3 Aug 13ReplyRetweetFavorite

16. The next day, kill your hangover with Chinese takeout.

Alcohol is the devil and I need Chinese food


Alcohol is the devil and I need Chinese food

08:49 PM - 5 Jan 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

17. Show up for a big moment wearing what you want, even a doobie wrap.

John Shearer/Invision / AP

18. And no matter how far you travel, take pleasure in repping your home block.

View this video on YouTube

19. Stand up to name calling and shaming.

20. Remember to take time to go home and recharge.

View this video on YouTube

21. Change your hair to entertain yourself, not to please others.


"That’s the good thing about a weave. You can do whatever with it," Rihanna explained.

22. When you want to master a skill, identify a pro you admire and ask for help.

Rihanna/Def Jam / Via

Rihanna hired dancer Secret Moneii to appear in her "Pour It Up" video, then asked for some pointers. "I taught her how to make her booty go up and down separately. She was getting it!," Moneii said.

23. Don't bother with expensive jewlery.

“My jewelry’s all fake — from Claire’s. Or I get it from my mom’s boutique in Barbados. Her shop’s called FAB-U-LUS," Rihanna said.

24. Invest in bodysuits.

The perfect, no-slip base to layer under dresses, sheer tops, and denim.
River Island / Via

The perfect, no-slip base to layer under dresses, sheer tops, and denim.

25. Shop the boys section.

Especially for coats.

26. Savor opportunities to celebrate your elders.

27. And be a cheerleader when women who are younger than you accomplish something great.

28. If you have a relationship with god, make it your own.

29. Don't pass up a sure thing.

View this video on YouTube

Rihanna and Eminem have done three singles together. They're all global monster hits.

30. But never resist the thrill of doing something you’ve never done before.

Meet a baby lion? Go ahead and hug it.

31. You can spend money on others and yourself at the same damn time.

32. But don't pile up on possessions.

This year, Rihanna moved her home base from Los Angeles to New York. “I’ve downsized. I want a smaller closet. I want simpler. I want to just take it back to what’s important,” she explained.

33. Create a world for yourself where people support each other. Make every day a No Basic Zone.

View this video on YouTube

"My bitches twerk on water. No basic zone! No basics!"

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