On first encountering Rita Ora, I felt thoroughly bedraggled by a gale-force embarrassment. If she flickered even for a second on a television screen near me, I would reach for the remote and speedily punch in random numbers, not caring to which channel these numbers would take me – ITV 3, Bloomberg, XXX Mums. It did not matter. I could not bare the reddening of the face and the sweating of the palms that possessed me whenever my eyes caught her image.
This was not due to any fault or failings of her own creation. Instead my embarrassment was visited upon me by the inane idiocy that often pervades popular culture in general. For who looked at Rihanna – a popstar of genuine magnetism – and thought “Bring me a slightly lesser version of her! Now!” ?
Well, Somebody did. She looked like Rihanna, dressed like Rihanna, and sang the same type of commercial pop music as Rihanna. Her management and her record company had forever sentenced her to a lifetime of Rihanna impersonations. Instead of nurturing and tending to her own talents, she would now run the risk of becoming a glorified celebrity lookalike.
None of this is her fault. It is the fault of a culture too safe and sanitised and adverse to genuine …… wait……hang on……sssshh……look …look …look at her flawless, timeless, cherubic face … did I not see that face in some masterpiece painting by Raphael? … Gaze at that vermilion smile, a smile you could no more refuse than the earth could refuse the rain … imbibe the mystery of those purely bewitching eyes … and marvel.
Marvel how she so nonchalantly and freely wears this daring neck-to-ankle Moschino outfit, with the casual nature of a woman strolling the isles at Boots with ten minutes to spare before the bus arrives. Marvel that she is dressed like a McDonald‘s employee from the 1970s – and she is doing so with a glamour and elegance that most women will not obtain in their wedding dresses. Marvel that she is enthralling you in a belt that looks like it came free with a Happy Meal.
It does not matter by what means she arrived in the public eye. The light of the camera lens has always sought those that hold impossible beauty. And Rita Ora holds a beauty of impossible proportions.