A Look Back at Rihanna's Rise to Become a Global Icon (Exclusive)

A Look Back at Rihanna's Rise to Become a Global Icon (Exclusive)
Video rihanna before fame

Rihanna is a pop icon, a fashion mogul and the youngest self-made female billionaire in history, with an estimated net worth of over $1.4 billion.

She’s one of the most celebrated and streamed artists, her first pregnancy was headline news for weeks, only upstaged by the announcement of her second pregnancy – which came during her commanding performance at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

All along the way, ET has been there as the talented songstress took the world by storm with her music and her fashion.

ET first met an 18-year-old Rihanna in 2006, when her first No. 1 US hit, “SOS,” dominated the charts. At the time, she was still finishing high school. She spoke with ET at Wango Tango that year and explained that it was like being a rising music star and still being in school.

“It’s a little disappointing sometimes because I’m used to having the summer off,” she explained at the time. “Especially when it’s at the end of my day and I just want to chill! But it’s OK.”

In 2007, Rihanna’s next No.1 hit, the JAY-Z collab “Umbrella,” catapulted her into global superstardom, and she told ET at the Billboard Music Awards that year that her life “couldn’t be better.”

That single earned Rihanna the first of her nine GRAMMY Awards – as well as 33 additional nominations.

Now – 16 years after “Umbrella” was first released – Rihanna has become the second-best-selling female music artist of all time, with sales of over 250 million records worldwide. And, she managed to do it all while remaining unapologetically true to herself.

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“I think a lot of it is honesty, and I think not being afraid of the truth. I think that’s something that I guess you don’t come by it very, very often,” Rihanna said of the reason behind her success, while speaking with ET at the 2012 TIME 100 gala. “And that’s what I’m really encouraging my fans to do, to live like that.”

Rihanna’s empire includes her lucrative Fenty lifestyle brand, which launched in 2017, and in 2022, she took on a brand new role as a mother to an adorable baby boy when she and longtime love A$AP Rocky welcomed their first son together.

Amid motherhood, her fashion line, her beauty brand and her various other endeavors, however, it’s been more than seven years since she dropped an album, and her vocal fandom has been begging her for new music.

That being said, she told ET in 2022, on the red carpet at her Fenty fashion show party, that fans are “still gonna get music from me,” for sure.

Check out the video below for more on the latest news from the global icon.

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