Over a billion YouTube views, the most streamed female artist in Britain, the only woman ever to get five Brit nominations in one night, and the youngest person to make Vogue’s list of influential women, Dua Lipa isn’t just the most exciting thing to happen in pop this year, she’s also the voice of a whole generation.
The 22-year-old Kosovan-British singer/songwriter of New Rules, Be The One and One Kiss has become famous for what she refers to herself as ‘dance crying’ music, saying, ‘It’s all quite fun to dance to, but if you listen to the lyrics, it’s quite sad,’ packaging up her emotions in empowering and relatable pop that’s also guaranteed to get you up on a night out. Hits like Hotter Than Hell, which was written about an ex-boyfriend who ‘made me feel like I constantly wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want him to know I was sad, so I made it seem like he couldn’t get enough of me’ have her fans approaching her to tell her how she makes them feel. ‘They say, “My God, this made me empowered,” and I thought it’s really interesting that something that felt so therapeutic is also helping someone else.’
She started her musical career at the age of just six (although herfather thinks she was even younger) with a song about her mum featuring the lyrics, ‘When I grow up can I use your lipstick?’ Then, after a stint at the Sylvia Young Theatre School (the talent hothouse attended by stars such as Amy Winehouse, Emma Bunton, Billie Piper and Leona Lewis) and performing covers by Pink and Nelly Furtado on YouTube in her early teens, she began her singing career in earnest at 17, signing with Warner in 2015 and releasing her first song New Love.
It’s her attitude and opinions as much as her talent that has garnered her millions of admirers. Her personal brand of feminism calls for kindness, support, inclusivity and realism. ‘Equality is crucial,’ she says. ‘Everything is about amplifying your voice for those who don’t have one. One should always consider all women, even the ones you probably don’t like. Feminism and wanting the best for women doesn’t mean liking each and every woman.’ She’s also tackled the way she and her fellow female stars are treated in the media. ‘For so many years, the media has pitted girls against each other, but it’s important to be happy for people. You do your thing and I’ll do mine,’ she’s said. And she’s spoken out about the lack of women topping festival bills this year: ‘I think people need to start opening their eyes and ears and realising that there’s so much female talent out there.’
Away from music and Dua’s obvious affinity with clothes and style has led to her working on a fashion collaboration with the H&M-owned affordable luxury brand Nyden. ‘My first love is music, but fashion also plays an important role in my life because I believe it’s so vital to self-expression,’ she says. ‘I look for clothes that reflect strength and fearlessness.’ The range, which will be made up of four capsule collections, is expected to drop in late 2018 and will be ‘a collection that’s completely suited to me, both on stage and off, and for my fans’. There’s one fashion item she’d never be seen in, though. ‘I would never wear Crocs. Apart from them, I think you can do anything.’ Speaking of doing everything, what’s next for Dua? She’s hinted at some super-exciting new projects, saying, ‘I’ve got some surprises coming this year,’ confirmed that she’ll be working with Diplo and Mark Ronson, and admitted that Frank Ocean or Anderson. Paak would be her dream collaboration. Watch this space.
DO IT LIKE DUA - HER BEAUTY RULES
+ On stage, I tend to use more matte products because when I get all sweaty, I don’t want to be really, really shiny at the same time. That reflects a lot of light, and I’d look like a glazed doughnut.
+ I’m traveling so much, and my skin gets tired, so anything I can take like eye cream, face cream, face mist, oils – just anything to keep my skin moisturised because flying dries it out.
+ I love lashes, so individual lashes are my thing – the more the merrier, the fluffier the better.
+ I keep my look natural with tinted moisturiser, concealer, mascara and lip gloss.
+ I still love the 90s and all the looks from that decade. Everything is really natural with either a bold eyeshadow or a lip colour.
+ I especially freak out over Pat McGrath’s Instagram. I just love looking at it with all the cool colours and everything she does. I
try to recreate the looks for my live shows with all the glitter.
+ In my everyday style, I like wearing something and feeling comfortable, but then adding some glitter or extra sparkle.