She’s broken down barriers in beauty, fashion, music, and now maternity style—Rihanna isn’t afraid to make a name for herself in everything she does, with a confidence that is hard to match. But confidence isn’t something that happens overnight, and everyone, even Rihanna, has bad self-esteem days, especially as a woman in industries that aren’t historically welcoming. Confidence is not something you’re born with; it’s a muscle that needs to be continually worked.
If you feel like a lack of confidence gets in the way of opportunities, you are not alone. But as women such as Rihanna continue to break down these barriers, we get closer and closer to breaking the confidence gap. If you still need a little help reaching Rihanna-level confidence, Riri’s got you covered. She’s shared some game-changing confidence secrets over the years, and we’re breaking it all down below.
Do everything for you, not for others.
It may sound cliché to say “love yourself” and you may have seen it in every self-help book or cheesy wooden sign from Home Goods, but Rihanna knows that loving yourself isn’t as simple as a book or quote. In an article with Emirates Woman, she explained that loving yourself is actually about doing everything for yourself, not for others. For example, she said that makeup and fashion can be big influences in helping you feel confident, but you have to “make sure you are doing it to make you feel good and aren’t trying to impress anybody else.”
Start living your life for you and not for others. Repeat an affirmation every morning so you wake up for yourself instead of for that morning meeting or even to let your dog out. When you pick out the clothes you wear or decide to post that picture on Instagram, don’t do it for anyone other than you: Maybe those boots make you feel sexy or that photo was taken during a moment when you were having fun. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to impress someone with what you think they’ll like or following a trend you don’t fully love (been there), but those things never end up making you feel better in the long run. We’re all uniquely beautiful, and the sooner we realize it, the faster we can become more confident versions of ourselves.
Fake it ’til you make it.
Rihanna has some pretty iconic red carpet moments, but one of my personal favorites is not her outfit but an interview (although the outfit is fierce too). When asked what she does on days where she doesn’t feel as confident, she responded, “I pretend. It’s either that or cry myself to sleep, and I mean, who wants to do that? You wake up with puffy eyes the next day—it’s a waste of tears.” It’s so true. As the founder of multiple successful companies and a huge public figure, Rihanna probably has had to pretend once or twice. While sometimes it is nice to have a good cry session, other times, we have to pretend we know what we’re doing and power through.
As women, we often feel we have to be fully qualified to apply for the dream job or know all the answers to be successful, but we’ll never reach our dreams or achieve new things if we’re not putting ourselves out there. Maybe it’s easier to be confident when we know we’re 100% qualified, but the truth is, we rarely will feel totally ready for anything new (especially when we’re challenging ourselves). Perhaps pretending to be confident is the stepping stone we all need to embrace confidence fully.
Choose your role models.
Rihanna might be one of the best role models, but she has great role models of her own. In an interview with Emirates Woman, she opened up about the women in her life who taught her about the power of self-love. “Both my grandmother and my mum were strong independent women—they had to be,” she said. “They were both independent women who made things happen for themselves, and I am so thankful I grew up around women like that.”
They say the people you spend the most time with are reflections of you. Spending time with confident people who can help guide you can help you become more confident too. Rihanna was able to identify her role models early on and look to them for guidance to become the confident person she is today. Maybe for you, it’s a coworker or your boss. Maybe it’s a mentor or your best friend, or perhaps you have yet to meet your confidence clan, but you can work to do so. Having someone you look up to and to help guide you is a great step to embodying confidence.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
In the age of the internet, it’s no wonder comparison is a major confidence buster. As a woman who grew up in the spotlight, Rihanna was constantly compared to other women. Whether it was her body, music, or opinions, she was unfairly pitted against others when she should have been admired for being uniquely herself. Today, she is shining a light on the importance of not comparing yourself to other women. “The biggest mistake you can make is to compare yourself with someone else,” she told InStyle.
Social media can sometimes feel so overwhelming that it’s hard not to compare yourself with an influencer, celebrity, or even a friend. But behind the photoshopped images are real people who have good and bad days too. Rihanna knows that the most confident women stay true to themselves and don’t fall down the hole of comparison (it’s the thief of joy, after all). She said that she wants to “encourage girls and women to respect their uniqueness.” Well, if Rihanna says so.