ELLE (Malaysia) - - BEHIND THE COVER - kate guest ED­I­TOR-IN-CHIEF

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 ex­actly the role model so 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.

Amanda Seyfried’s cosy cabin is hygge heaven (page 114)

This sea­son you can match your ac­ces­sories to your wine. Start with this Cé­line bag (page 43)

I may be a lit­tle bit in love with these Jimmy Choos

I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this. Grand Pi­galle is my new favourite ho­tel in Paris. Find out why on page 119

Estée Lauder's Ad­vanced Night Re­pair Syn­chro­nized Re­cov­ery Com­plex II is one of my sta­ples; this month I plan to up­grade to this pink ver­sion and sup­port breast cancer re­search.

The Well Read Black Girl news­let­ter is full of great book sug­ges­tions in the vein of WhatWeLose (top) by Zinzi Clem­mons. See more on page 69

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