Rita Ora: 'I Was Definitely Overworked Before Lockdown'
She may have only just turned 30, but it's safe to say Rita Ora has done it all.
From performing in her dad's pub in west London as a teenager to sell-out shows at Wembley Arena, the 30-year-old has been catapulted to international superstardom over the past eight years, with an expanding business empire to boot.
Even a global pandemic hasn't even stopped Rita from working at full-throttle - releasing new single How To Be Lonely during lockdown and working on her third album.
So it's little wonder the singer says lockdown has been a welcome break as she sits down for a chat with Tyla, looking impossibly glam over Zoom.
"Before this pandemic hit us, I was really... not rundown but I was definitely overworked," she says. "I feel like everyone was, and hadn't really realised. It made me think [I hadn't] really stopped since I first got into this industry in 2012.
"There was always a film or another album or a tour or a TV show. I've always had something going on. It has been nice to have a break. I'm not suffering that usual FOMO; like I'm not missing out on anything."
After breaking into the industry aged just 21 with her strong vocals on DJ Fresh's Hot Right Now, the singer skyrocketed into mainstream success, with a number one album, four hit singles and a performance at Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage in 2013.
Hollywood beckoned, and she made her silver screen debut as Christian Grey's sister, Mia, in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, before taking the reins from modelling legend Tyra Banks for the 2016 edition of America's Top Model.
She also established herself as a reality TV judging staple, with a spot on The X Factor, a brief tenure on The Voice, as well as more recently starring as one of the judges turned detectives in ITV's hit show The Masked Singer.
However, this year's involuntary hiatus from the public eye - and the party circuit - has given her time to reflect on what she misses about her job.
"I just love going out and dancing all night," she laughs. "Honestly, next year I don't think I'll be home at all. I just cant believe I'm saying this but I just definitely want to go on the road again and feel that tired, exhausted feeling! Just getting on stage and being like, oh wow, this is why I love doing what I love so much.
"Music will always be my passion. I'm releasing new music at the top of the year so I'm really looking forward to that."
With lockdown set to ease for a short period over Christmas, Rita says she's hoping to let her hair down with her family for one of their legendary festive blow-outs.
"I actually love hanging out with my parents. They're really fun. Any birthdays, Christmases, New Year's. If we're all in town, we definitely try and get together. We drink, we have a good party, we dance, we eat loads and loads of food," she says.
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"We always try and outdress each other at Christmas - which my mum always wins even after all these years, she's definitely the most glamorous of us all."
And true to form, the star is already busy on her next project: bringing her tequila range to the UK for the first time. Rita teamed up with tequila master distiller Stella Anguiano to create Próspero; but despite her reputation as one of London's elite hard-partying crowd, Rita insists she fell into the project by accident.
"I have always been a fan of tequila," she tells Tyla. "I love to host parties, do dinners and have a good time. I had no real plans of getting into the industry, but when I met Stella and felt her authentic, artistic drive, I just felt, 'why not?'
"That's how I've approached things in my career thus far, that 'why not' sort of strategy."
However, the strict lockdown restrictions were still very much in place for the star's birthday on November 26th, which saw her resort to cocktail making over Zoom for her special day.
Launching the drink, it turns out, has been a bit of a godsend during this time stuck at home.
The drink was first launched in Mexico last year, as it was produced at the Don Roberto Distillery in Jalisco.
And it's been an eye-opening experience for the star; while Rita is certainly not the first celebrity to foray into the spirits market (George Clooney, Jay-Z and Ryan Reynolds are among just a few A-Listers that own their own tequila brands), she is one of the first woman to make it among the big leagues - winning the Gold spot at World Tequila Awards for Best Blanco Tequila in 2020.
"Before I got into this game, I never realised how male-dominated the spirit industry was," she explains.
"In general, as women we have to fight twice as hard - I can only imagine what it's like in offices. But so many industries are so male dominated, even the music industry. In the spirits industry it's like next level, you know?
"I don't think it's about changing. I think it's us being there is enough of a change. It was a reason why I wanted to be a part of it - to push another boundary and not be afraid to be in there with women.
"I'm really just expanding as much as I can and be a real businesswoman and inspiration for people."
Prospero Tequila is available to order from Selfridges, with a 700ml bottle worth £62.99.
Featured Image Credit: Próspero
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