Insta Spotlight: @badgalriri Throws Shade(s)
October 25, 2017
While one would be hard pressed to find a celebrity without any social media presence in 2017, we’re taking a closer look at one who had embraced the culture from the start. Rihanna, better known as @badgalriri on Instagram, has been a fixture of the site since she uploaded her first post, honoring an artist she considers truly inspiring, Bob Marley.
Currently, with over 57 million followers, Rihanna shows off her looks, and beauty wares, daily. Each post garners hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of likes and comments. Instagram clearly has love on the brain for the songstress—even for her famous clapbacks—so why isn’t Riri feeling the same?
#badgirlriri #rihanna #instagram #fentybeauty #instalove #unrequitedlove #sooverit
Last week, Billboard announced that Rihanna is the top artist in the Pop Chart’s 25 year history. Rihanna isn’t satisfied with success in music; she has ventured into the world of business. In 2014, she was named the creative director of PUMA. As a brand ambassador, she would collaborate with the brand on apparel and shoes. Rihanna announced the partnership—where else?—on Instagram.
At the time, Forbes ranked Rihanna the second most powerful celebrity on social media (behind only Beyoncé). Her social influence was definitely a factor for PUMA to choose her as a brand ambassador; they even mentioned her Twitter and Instagram handles in the press release.
Rihanna’s first PUMA line sold out within three hours of its pre-sale launch. As of 2017, Rihanna is still with the company and continues to release both shoe and apparel collections.
In September of this year, Rihanna released her latest foray into the business world: Fenty Beauty. The collection included sleek packaging and gramworthy promo photos. What’s more, the foundation comes in 40 shades—an almost unheard of amount for one line—which led social media to praise the brand and, in a savvy move, made it possible for every influencer to try it out.
In October, she released a limited edition holiday collection called Fenty Galaxy. This time, the packaging featured a rainbow metallic sheen; a stark contrast to the first collection’s packaging, but just as, if not more, suited for Instagram.
Rihanna has historically used her Instagram influence to generate buzz for both her music and her business pursuits. On average she posts one to three times a day on her account, many featuring photos of her products.
It seems, though, that while she’s mastered the leverage of her following, she herself is not a fan of the platform. When asked by The Cut about possible Instagram inspiration, Rihanna fired back: “Instagram is the death of all trends. Once it gets there, it’s too late. It’s gone. I’m so over it. I can’t; I can’t deal.”
On one hand, it’s easy to understand why Rihanna is “over” Instagram. She has deleted her account in the past (only to revive it months later), and she continues to defend her brand. When rival makeup company Make Up For Ever “shaded” her Fenty Beauty line (by claiming that they provide many skin shades and did it first), Rihanna struck back.
“Still ashy,” Rihanna commented on Instagram. “Shook.” Rihanna asserted that while she wasn’t the first to provide a wide range of foundation shades, her influence overtook those who did. (Make Up For Ever’s Instagram account has 4 million followers—less than a tenth of Rihanna’s).
The singer may feel like the app is the “death” of trends, but that doesn’t stop users—including influencers—from giving her free publicity. Both the #fentyxpuma and #fentybeauty tags have amassed over 300,000 posts (and the latter collection has been released for around one month).
A look at the top posts on the beauty tag shows that top makeup influencers, including @mua_ashley_, not only use the products, but praise them. These influencers drive engagement to their posts, likely resulting in clicks to Fenty Beauty’s site, and a high conversion rate.
Perhaps Rihanna believes Instagram is where trends go to die because she herself is the trendsetter. It’s impossible to tell where her Puma and Beauty lines would be without Instagram (her music less so, as there are still music videos and radio play), but they would arguably not have seen such success without it.
Regardless of how Rihanna feels about Instagram, it’s clear that Instagram—and its users—love her. We’ll see if the infatuation with her, and her businesses, continues in the years to come.