She frolics on the beach in a Lanvin silk dress blown over her thighs, and her curves are on full display in an Herve Leger one-piece as she strikes a back bend in some Alexander Wang open-toe booties. Rihanna is in the best shape of her life after preparing for her role in the blockbuster "Battleship," and it shows. She's given up her staples of junk food and pasta. Her trainer Ary Nunez has been strapping weights to her hands so she could multitask while working out.
"I hate going to the gym and doing it the old-fashioned way," Rihanna admits to the mag. "I hate anything that's too straightforward, too routine. I get bored really, really quickly."
Style has always mattered to the 23-year-old, but she has recently embraced a grown-up version of her funky, down-to-earth look that keeps beauty bloggers on their toes.
"When I was fourteen and first started going out, I always wanted to be the opposite of everyone else," she says. "So I would go to the club in a polo T-shirt and pants and sneakers and a hat on backward, just so I would not be dressed like other girls. And I got desperate for things that weren't available in Barbados. I would cut things out of magazines. I was obsessed with creating a visual with clothing, and the way things are combined."
Hey highly publicized breakup with Chris Brown, which included him pleading guilty to assault, hasn't been the hardest part of the past couple of years for Rihanna. Finding out her father, who was a crack addict when she was growing up, sold childhood photos of her to a tabloid magazine was much more painful.
"It really makes me question what I have become to my father. Like, what do I even mean to him?" she says. "It's really strange. That's the only word I can think of to describe it, because you grow up with your father, you know him, you are part of him, for goodness' sakes! And then he does something so bizarre that I can't begin to wrap my mind around it. You hear the horror stories about people going behind people's backs and doing strange things, but you always think, Not my family. My father would never do that to me."
But the earlier incident with Brown prepared her for the worst, and she says it liberated her and make her stronger.
"It made me look at the world in a much bigger way because my life was suddenly superduper magnified; all eyes were on me. I needed that in my life to know how to say, 'F*** off,'" Rihanna says. "To know how to keep my head high even in the worst of situations. I keep using the word unapologetic. But there's a freedom that has come with all of that. Where you feel like you don't have to make an excuse for being yourself."
For the entire interview and to see behind-the-scenes video of Rihanna's cover shoot, head over to Vogue.com.