When I met my boyfriend, I didn’t see him first, my friend did. It was in high school, in a cement courtyard in the Bronx. And whenever I think of that exact moment I smell old AP English textbooks and sweaty soccer uniforms. Teen spirit is a friend raising her chin up slightly with wide eyes, to alert someone that a cute boy is standing right behind them. Truth be told I haven’t thought about this moment for a long time. And then I met Rihanna.
This time I wasn’t in the Bronx but in Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue at a New York Fashion Week party for Fenty. It was 10:30 p.m. and I was getting ready to leave, three champagne glasses in and thirty minutes late to an already-late dinner with friends. After staring at my phone, I looked up to see my friend gazing behind me, looking possessed and alarmed and giddy. Twenty-seven-year-old spirit is apparently raising your chin up with the widest eyes you’ve ever had to inform your friend that Rihanna is breathing your air behind you. Or, sorry, that you are breathing Rihanna’s air.
It was delicious.
I remained silent and in awe of the Bad Gal herself glowing iridescently six inches in front of me. Three of my friends somehow parsed together a sentence that drew her towards us and she touched every one of our hands. I wasn’t really planning on washing mine but then 2020 happened and, well, you know. Luckily she gave me something else to remember her by: a compliment on my $95 Lili Claspe pearl hoop earrings. While I was thanking Rihanna for being Rihanna she told me she “loved” my earrings, twice. And yeah, that’s how I died.
Which is exactly how I found myself here, reporting from my grave, reminiscing on high school and fashion week and how I fell in love with my boyfriend and Rihanna. I needed to inform the general public that Rihanna loves oversized hoops with pearls on them. Considering she rarely does interviews, this feels like important intel.
People who have famously met Rihanna and written about the experience seem mystified. Miranda July’s profile for The New York Times reads almost like a love letter. Abby Aguirre’s cover story for Vogue was infamously picked apart because she admits to winging the interview without much prep. But now, having been someone who has met Rihanna, albeit for a short few minutes, I understand where they’re both coming from. To be in her presence is both dizzying and exhilarating. It’s hard to get your grounding. In a span of seconds I saw my life flash before my eyes. I laughed. I cried. I literally clutched my pearls. It is nearly impossible to describe with words.
But I try because it’s the closest thing I’ve ever felt to giddy high school love at first sight. Except, my boyfriend didn’t compliment my earrings when we first met. Rihanna did. And I would ask to have this engraved on my tombstone but it already is. RIP me.
Shop the exact pair of earrings that Rihanna loves and some similar styles below.
Lili Claspe Molly Hoop in Gold
Shop now: $95; revolve.com
Tory Burch Pearl Fringe Hoop Earrings
Shop now: $178; nordstrom.com
Lele Sadoughi Pearl Huggie Hoop Earrings
Shop now: $75; nordstrom.com
Sole Society Imitation Pearl Hoop Earrings
Shop now: $35; nordstrom.com
TEN79LA Imitation Pearl Hoop Earrings
Shop now: $75; nordstrom.com
Ronllna Pearl Hoop Earrings
Shop now: $12; amazon.com
Greentail Pearl Hoop Earrings
Shop now: $11; amazon.com
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