When Amber Rose sat down with the Refinery29 team this week, no questions were off-limits. The bold, multi-hyphenated star isn't afraid to speak her mind (especially when it comes to taboo topics) — and we love her all the more for it. This week, Rose is bringing her fearless confidence and boundary-pushing conversations to the industry that needs them most: beauty.
As the face of Flirt Cosmetics — a new brand from the Estée Lauder Companies — Rose is doing more than just smiling and hawking products. She's using the opportunity to challenge beauty ideals, fight for better representation for women of color, spread her message of sex positivity, and shut down slut-shaming. Not exactly what you're used to hearing during a glitzy faux-lashes launch, but just what we all needed.
We sat down with Rose to discuss her thoughts on beauty, fame, finding confidence in the bedroom, and how she spent her first million. Check out the full interview below, then hit play on the video above to hear it straight from the Muva's mouth.
What excites you most about being the face of Flirt Cosmetics?
"We have a Flashes lash applicator and it's really amazing. For anyone who has trouble putting on eyelashes, and I know I do, it's super-easy. There's nothing like it on the market... I think everyone has beauty in their own way, and it's all about women feeling confident in their own skin. This is a product that helps with that."
What's one thing you would change about the beauty industry?
"I don’t think there’s enough brown-skinned women being represented in the beauty industry at all. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I feel like this is why a lot of us have complexes, and we try to be super-skinny or stay out of the sun. We’re getting there and it's great that we’re moving toward that, but we’re not quite there yet and I can't wait until we get there."
You're known for your buzz cut. What inspired you to first take the plunge?
“I think that I'd definitely seen Sinéad O'Connor's 'Nothing Compares 2 U' video. I was inspired by her. And I grew up in Philly...Eve was really popular, and my friends said, 'Please don’t do it, Amber, you're gonna look crazy.' And, of course, me being me, I rebelled against everyone and went straight down the middle at a barber shop. Fourteen years later, I still have it."
What are the best and worst parts about having a buzz cut?
"The best is that once you cut and bleach it, you have a good three days of waking up and literally your hair being done. But every three days, you have to cut and bleach it, which becomes a process. It's maintenance."
You've been experimenting with long wigs lately. Why?
"I never want my fans to be like, 'Hey, you have to stay bald-headed Amber for the rest of your life.' It's unfair to me. I'm a girl. I love to experiment. I love to have fun. I miss having hair; it's been 14 years. I know people aren’t used to seeing me with hair, and they get a bit weird about it, but I thought, Why not try it on TV, on my own show?"
How does beauty empower you?
"That comes in very different forms. For me, personally, I'm a nail girl, I'm a lashes girl, I like blush, and I like lip gloss. Those are my things. Feeling pretty helps you with your confidence, and I like to feel pretty. I think every other girl likes to feel pretty."
What's the weirdest beauty treatment you've ever tried?
"After my son [was born], I got this vacuum thing. It wasn’t like surgery, [but] it's like a sucky vacuum thing and it's supposed to kill all your fat cells and eventually you’re just skinny...right? This is what they told me. I go in and they do it, and I'm like, Oh my god, my baby belly is gonna go away, this is amazing. And then, I had the worst pain in my stomach for like two weeks. It's called the cool-freeze fat something. Don’t do it, ladies. Just try to work out and eat right if that’s what you want ultimately."
What’s your real secret to your great skin?
"I use raw African shea butter. It comes in a yellow paste that I put in the microwave and it turns into a really thick oil. I don’t have any stretch marks from my son because I lather myself in it. But you have to have a shea-butter robe. Go to Ross or Marshalls, get a cheap-ass robe, and it will be your shea-butter robe. Because shea butter will stain all your sheets."
What was your first tattoo?
"My first tattoo [laughs]; I'm so honest, this is why I have problems. It was my first boyfriend's name years ago, back in Philly."
Did you get it covered up?
"Yes, I did. I was like 16; I shouldn’t have even been able to get a tattoo at that time..."
I've thought about covering my tattoo, but I might just roll with it...
"I mean, I have my son's father's face on my arm. I am completely fucked forever. Unless I get it removed, I can't cover that. It would just be a black blob over there."
Any sentimental tattoos?
"I got this tattoo [on my forearm] and it says, 'The world is a vampire,' which is a Smashing Pumpkins lyric. I got this when I felt like I was getting bullied by the internet, when people really didn’t know who I was and I didn’t talk much at the time because I didn’t want to be famous — it kind of just happened for me. I was having a very difficult time accepting the fact that I was famous even though I didn't try to be."
What was your first big splurge?
"I spent a million dollars in 2011, and I don’t know on what; I have no idea. And then, I had to pay taxes and I was extremely fucked at that point. I was like, I'm broke again. But then, I got it back. It was mostly like trips and hotels and thinking I was just rolling in the dough, and it just went. I've had this conversation with other successful people and they say everyone spends their first million very fast like that, doing a bunch of stupid shit."
What's your favorite fragrance?
"Moschino Cheap and Chic, the black-and-red bottle. I've been wearing that for years. When you smell that, you know I’m coming."
And your favorite scent that’s not a fragrance?
"I love the smell of weed. I don’t smoke it, but I enjoy when my friends smoke weed around me. And my son’s baby lotion."
How are you raising your son to respect women?
"Well, I’m just raising him as a feminist, and, really, all we want as feminists is equality. It's very simple."
How does it feel to be multiracial and have your identity constantly questioned?
"It’s irritating as fuck. It really is. I feel like being multiracial, a lot of people expect you to pick and choose a side. And I'm uncomfortable with that... I embrace all of my culture. I love my mom and my dad equally. I feel like we don’t have to pick and choose a side. That’s what makes racism still alive."
You always seem so confident. Are there any times when you aren't?
"Nope, I always feel confident. I never allow myself to not feel confident. I try to tell girls to wake up, say, 'I’m going out there, I’m gonna kill it today, I look fucking amazing.' And that’s just what it is. You talk it into existence."
What's your key to taking a perfect selfie?
"Front-lighting. Anytime you take a selfie and you have a window behind you, just turn around the opposite way."
What’s your best piece of sex advice?
"Stop thinking that guys give a shit about your cellulite or your boobs flopping around. Because they don’t care. It's almost better."
What would surprise people about your sex life?
"I’m not really that freaky. People think that I've had threesomes; I’ve never had a threesome. I’m a very selfish lover; I like to be with one person and focus on that person. I’m an extreme lover... I don’t like casual sex; I’ve never had anal. And I don’t play with toys. I wouldn’t say I'm lame, but I'm very traditional. I'm very open to talking about it and that's not to say I would never do those things, but I just haven’t yet."
How does it feel to be the face of sex-positivity?
"It means the world to me. Women get the shitty end of the stick if we’re confident in our sexuality, and it really pisses me off. And a lot of women deal with it and they won't step up and help me, which is very frustrating. I think women are afraid of what their boyfriends are gonna think. It's unfortunate that you see a lot of celebrity marriages [in which] most of the women kind of have to dim their light and let their man be more successful in order for it to work. I'm not that girl. I'm never gonna dim my light for anyone, especially a man."
What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about you?
"I get a lot of shit [like], 'You don’t do enough for women. You always say you're a feminist, but you're not out there with it.' They don’t see how much stuff I do behind the scenes, and the phone calls I make every single day to women who are cyber-bullied, slut-shamed, and even rape victims. I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a professional counselor, but I'm a positive person and I love women, and if I can make them feel better in any way, that’s what I do."