A guide to Rihanna’s business partners and best friends
They now go by #TheCorp.
Three years ago, we introduced you to Rihanna’s girl crew as we anxiously waited for what we now know as Anti. Since then, Rihanna released the best album of 2016 and followed it up by starting her own clothing and shoe lines, lingerie company, charity foundation, and makeup juggernaut. Here’s a refresher on all of the people who keep Rihanna’s businesses moving — including the tight-knit core group of old friends and business partners who call themselves #TheCorp, and some more peripheral names you might not yet know about.
Can any list of Rihanna’s associates begin without Forde? As we wrote back in 2015: “Melissa is the most visible member of Rihanna's lady squad: holding Rihanna’s hand at red carpet premieres, hanging behind the scenes at music video shoots, and snapping intimate portraits as they crisscross the globe. As the one friend that has been by Rihanna's side moving from Barbados to America together 14 years ago, Forde and Rihanna have become each other's family, Melissa a constant and unchanging presence during Rihanna's dizzying rise to mega-stardom.” She’s also a photographer who has her own hat company, M$$.
Pardo is the Chief Creative Officer of Rihanna’s Fenty Corp, a title she acquired in 2014 when Rihanna incorporated her company. She’s also handled Rihanna’s art direction since 2007, eventually becoming her official creative director around the release of 2011's Talk That Talk. Born and raised in the Bronx, Pardo worked in finance before transitioning to the creative world of art directing and producing. She’s overseen much of Rihanna’s video production and tours, and the whole of Fenty Corp — from the new product lines to the Diamond Ball — is under her watch.
Another of Rihanna’s longtime friends and partners, who we’ve described as having “a playful and super-protective demeanor.” When we first rounded up Rihanna’s crew in 2015, Jenn was Rihanna’s personal assistant and day-to-day liaison (she'd also recently gotten married). Now, she’s the official Project Manager at Fenty Corp — and she just had a baby.
The newest member of #TheCorp, Weaver was previously an assistant to Rihanna's former full-time stylist Mel Ottenberg during the Loud tour. When Rihanna started Fenty to house all of her creative projects, she asked Weaver to work for her directly; since then, he’s taken on Rihanna’s styling full-time and became the official junior creative director at Fenty Corp.
The design director at Fenty Corp used to work for Ecko, Sean Jean, Champion, Fila, and Tory Sport before joining Rihanna’s team in 2014 to design her very first collection with Puma. They’ve worked closely ever since, with Battifarano overseeing initial designs and presenting them to Rihanna for feedback and adjustments. Battifarano said in a 2016 interview that she was initially designing gym clothes for Fenty before Rihanna asked instead for more luxurious fabrics. Would we expect anything else? No.
Creative director at Rihanna's Savage x Fenty lingerie line, Price first partnered with her for her sci-fi performance during the 2016 Brit Awards. They also worked together for Rihanna’s “Wild Thoughts” performance at this year’s Grammys. Before Price got into visual video art, she started her own fashion line, [GG$] Guns Germs $teal, so it made sense when she got back into fashion design for Savage.
Rihanna’s muse. She’s said that Rihanna saw a photo of her on Instagram, reached out, and they hit it off. Now, she has the word Fenty tattooed behind her ear.
James Kaliardos, Hector Espinal, and Priscilla Ono
The Executive Director of the Clara Lionel Foundation, which works to fund education, health, and emergency response programs around the world. Before starting there in 2016, Lucas was the director of programs at GlobalCitizen. Now she runs the foundation that is responsible for Rihanna’s Diamond Ball.
He doesn’t work under Rihanna, but Jay Brown is the CEO/co-founder of Roc Nation who, according to Billboard, oversees most of her deals. Billboard also reported that Roc Nation hired a new president of management this year, giving Brown even more time and space to focus on his work with Rih.
The executive assistant at Fenty Corp. We suspect that when Rihanna thanks a mysterious “Michelle” on Instagram for throwing her a #BossAppreciaionDay, it’s Cornielle.
Chef Debbie Solomon
Instagram bio: chef to da baddest in da game. Job: Rihanna’s personal chef. Chef Debbie’s travelled the world with Rihanna for the past five years, since the singer poached her from her job as a chef de partie at the Sunset Marquis Hotel. Solomon's called Rihanna a “moody eater” because she’ll only pick what she wants to eat the day of and she told Bon Appetit that she brings the following spices with her wherever she goes: “bouillon-like maggi cubes, curry, jeera (also known as cumin seeds), Old Bay seasoning, adobo, and five-spice, as well as garlic and onion granules”
Matthew Adams Dolan
In 2014, the stylist Alastair McKimm saw Dolan’s Parsons graduate presentation and showed it to Rihanna. She fell in love with his designs and has been wearing his clothing ever since. She's also since enlisted his help in her Puma collections.
Other who’s whos
- Monica Fenty: Rihanna’s mom!!!! Duh. Follow her on Instagram for inspirational bible quotes.
- Yusef Williams: Rihanna’s hairstylist. He’s been with her so long he’s basically a member of #TheCorp.
- Noella Alstrom: Rihanna’s younger cousin and mother to Majesty, practically the only baby Rihanna posts about on Instagram.
- Tanisha Scott and Parris Goebel: Rihanna’s choreographers who’ve worked on tours and Grammy performances.
- Sonita Alexander: Rihanna’s friend since elementary school who has since become a doctor.
- Alexa Lanza: Associate creative director of Savage x Fenty, Lanza works with Phillipa Price and Rihanna to bring the lingerie to life.