October 2017 issue editor's letter
Rihanna stars on the cover of ELLE Malaysia's October issue
There is a group email for ELLE's 46 international editors-in-chief that keeps us informed of upcoming projects and major cover shoots. I love receiving all of these emails; they make me feel part of something bigger (easy to forget here at my desk on the 36th floor in KL), and remind me that what women can accomplish together is so much bigger than what we can accomplish alone. But there are none I've loved receiving as much as the one that landed a few months ago, with a oneword subject line: "RIHANNA". (I haven't moved so fast to open an email since last year's incendiary "BEYONCÉ".)
The alchemy of Rihanna's appeal is hard to explain. Obviously she has immense talent, an ear for a hit and the ability to make jaws drop in everything she wears (and she does wear everything), but so do thousands of others. Beyond that, it gets a little murky. I think part of the fascination lies in the way she is both completely relatable and completely removed. She has an ordinariness we can identify with, including the work, family and relationship dramas, while also radiating the kind of unteachable star quality that only a handful of people truly have. She gets in trouble with her mum, she sells out arenas around the world, and both these lives feel 100 per cent authentic. I also love that she actively fights against the role model tag and in doing so becomes many women need. So I am thrilled to have her on our cover this month as she launches her revolutionary Fenty Beauty line – and yes, when a beauty line offers 40 foundation shades, it is revolutionary. Turn to page 72 to read Rihanna's honest, hilarious answers to 19 questions from 20 of her famous friends and distant admirers.
Back to that group email for a moment: today I learned that one of its recipients, the legendary Robbie Myers, is stepping down after 17 years leading ELLE US. I'd like to think Robbie will be devoting more time to herself, perhaps by taking up pottery or basket-weaving, as her fellow big-time ex-editor, Deborah Needleman, and so many other high-flyers are doing, post-high-flying. After reading our feature on page 64 about the return of arts and crafts, part of a wider movement that takes in gardening, cooking, hiking and "earthing" (or what I prefer to call "walking in bare feet"), a return to the offline world sounds very appealing.