by Gina Ponce. Photography by Mike Ruiz. Styling by Darius Baptist. Hair by Christian Marc. Makeup by Samuel Paul
Amber Rose is a name that easily brings thoughts of glamour to mind, and the woman who bears that moniker possesses just enough mystery and intrigue to keep the paparazzi swarming around her every move. Born into an underprivileged circumstance in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Cape Verdean/Italian beauty learned at a young age to keep her head up and persevere despite the hurdles that life may bring.
“I grew up very poor, raised by a single mother,” Amber says. “We didn’t have much as far as material things, but we had love and we had fun all the time. She raised me to have confidence and always taught me to be humble no matter what God brought my way… I’m confident in everything I do in life.”
For Amber, that confidence has been key in dealing with her rapid evolution straight into celebrity status. With that notoriety has come a great deal of interest and questions relating to her sensual nature captured in photographs and her possible bisexuality. Where some may say there’s a fine line between purely being in touch with your sexuality and self-exploitation, Amber simply explains, “I’m very comfortable with my body, even in my home I’m always naked. I love being free – no hair and no clothes!” And regarding her preference of gender in a relationship? Gender isn’t the real issue as far as she’s concerned – “The thing that people don’t understand when it comes to a relationship with a man or woman is that it’s not about sex at all, even though that’s the first thing that pops in your head. It’s about the love and the vibe you get from the person, and I believe you can find that in anyone.” And even with being in a bit of denial about her newfound place in pop culture, she still recognizes the need for privacy every now and then.
“Well, I don’t look at myself as [a celebrity]. I’m just a dope chick from South Philly!” Amber laughingly proclaims. “I mean, it’s crazy when fans come up to me and cry and just want a hug from me. It bugs me out! But it’s really cool. Sometimes it does get overwhelming because, for example, I like to be on the beach with my man with no top on… I’m very comfortable with my body… But there’s no privacy – that’s the only thing that overwhelms me. Every time I see a light flash I think it’s the paparazzi. Those fuckers give me anxiety.”
Despite her aversion to flashing lights, Amber has handled herself with a composure that has never been known to waver since being suddenly catapulted into the public eye – first due to her broadcasted relationship with acclaimed musician Kanye West, then with her candid honesty and openness about her sexuality and, most recently, as she becomes more recognized as a fashion symbol in her own right. Continuously popping up on the most popular blogs for a little over a year now, Amber has been referenced as trying too hard to stand out. But with her natural good looks and poised demeanor, she’ll be the first to admit she’s always stood out.
“I was always a ‘weirdo’ – well that’s what people would call me,” Amber confesses. “I had a mohawk when mohawks weren’t cool… I would get different pieces from the thrift store and put them together and make it dope. People would ask me where I got my outfits from, and I would always say the thrift store. I never denied it. I did my own thing ever since I was a little girl.
“I still do my own thing! Whatever makes me feel good. If I want to wear clown pants and a church hat then that’s what I’m gonna wear. [Laughs] Well, maybe not that extreme, but I could definitely pull it off.”
After consistently seeing the buzz surrounding her unique look and wardrobe every time she walked the streets of New York, Ford Modeling Agency snapped her up and finalized the deal just last year. Staying true to that aforementioned self-assurance, the trendsetter doesn’t seem as though she’ll be falling into any stereotypical anorexic model behavior any time soon, stating, “I’m lucky because I get to keep my womanly figure, and that’s very important for me and the young girls that look up to me – that they can have curves and breasts, hips, and ass and still feel beautiful.” As she made the transition into her new career earlier this year on the catwalk at NYC Fashion Week for the Celestino by Sergio Guadarrama show donning a bridal gown (juxtaposing her edgy image with a little femininity), it’s apparent fashion designers must also see just what Amber can “pull off.”
“It was amazing,” Amber says. “I have always been a fashionista ever since I was a kid, so it was a dream come true. It’s an adrenaline rush to walk down the runway. I never thought this would happen to me… [Modeling] is just the beginning for me. I want to explore all different avenues of life and build a career for myself. But I would love to keep modeling for campaigns and magazines. It’s fun to get glammed up!”
Exploring is now what’s on Amber’s agenda as she dives into the fashion world beyond the runway and into projects that she gets to be in control of creatively. Although rumors are swirling of an Amber Rose eyewear line (which would be fitting, being that she’s often seen in stylish shades), she’s currently sworn to secrecy on the details of her ventures for now. But giving just a little hint, she declares, “…Of course I do love sunglasses. They’re my babies!… Right now I’m not focusing on clothes, but I’m focusing on other really dope things.”
Outside of fashion, Amber has been well-received in the hip-hop community, making appearances in music videos such as Young Jeezy’s “Vacation” (as a long-haired hottie), Ludacris’ “What Them Girls Like” and this year’s much talked about single by Nicki Minaj, “Massive Attack.” And when she’s not dancing as a video vixen or sitting front row at Fashion Week, you might just find Amber taking part in her unpublicized pastime – “I love karaoke!,” she exclaims. “I really can’t sing, but I will definitely throw down on karaoke night!”
Even though many have declared her as nothing more than the arm candy girlfriend of Kanye West – and she gives him due credit as well, saying, “Honestly, Kanye saved my life, and I don’t even think about what I would have been; I just think about what I’m gonna be” – Amber proves more and more each day that she’s come into her own, turning heads in her wake, and deserves to shine in the spotlight whether that’s what she was striving for or not. Because it’s not just Kanye she’s cast a spell on.
SHE LOOKS AMAZING!! i love her outfits/makeup/shoes. ugh shes beautiful!