One thing that quickly becomes clear when riding on an airplane with Rihanna is that one of her favorite words is the F-word.
“Hello, f–ing 777! Who is ready for Mexico? Who is ready for tequila?” she calls over the speaker system.
That she likes to party is no secret either. She concludes her welcome greeting with a “Let’s get drunk!”
The pop star then serves true bubbly from a golden bottle into plastic cups, handing them out left and right to fans and journalists when walking down the center aisle of the private jet that is taking us to seven cities in seven days. The star and her entourage sit in business class, but now she is walking past our video cameras and iPhones, a tiny figure in a black top, shades and gold jewelry. The short hair — a cut made on impulse — now has long extensions. She offers a hand to some, blows some kisses and is happy to pose for pictures. The love for her fans is genuine.
Journalists and fans from five continents and more than 30 countries are on the plane. Takeoff is two hours late and the scheduled press conference is cancelled. Rihanna seems to be the only one who knows what’s going to happen next.
“This is what my life looks like. You better like it,” she hollers at her fans on the plane before returning to business class.
Jesper Melin, a 23-year-old plumber from Stockholm, is one of the lucky fans onboard. He was snoozing when Rihanna came past his seat.
“Are you asleep, baby? Here, have some champagne,” she said to him.
Jesper’s friend Daniel Thunell, a 22-year-old tinsmith, said hello to the superstar.
“It feels unreal and great. I took her hand; it was small and warm,” he says.