Power Players

Rihanna has a tattoo about failure—it reminds her of this important lesson

Caroline McCredie | Getty

Chart-topping singer turned entrepreneur Rihanna has had a lot of success: She's earned nine Grammy awards, her Fenty Beauty By Rihanna generated a reported $72 million in sales in just its first full month in 2017 and her estimated net worth in 2018 was $210 million.

But that doesn't mean Rihanna, 31, hasn't made mistakes. In fact, she even got a tattoo to remind herself of the importance of failure — it's always a learning experience.

"I have a tattoo that's written backward so I can read it in the mirror: 'Never a failure. Always a lesson,'" Rihanna told T: New York Times Style Magazine.

"How you gonna learn without making mistakes? Did you believe your mom when she said, 'Don't touch the iron?'

"You had to touch it, right? You had to get burned," Rihanna said.

In fact, Rihanna says she has a lot to learn with her latest endeavor.

Her new luxury fashion label, also called Fenty (her last name), is slated to launch this spring. For the label, Rihanna is partnering with fashion house LVMH, the world's largest luxury group. Rihanna is the first woman of color to have a label under LVMH and the first woman to start an original brand for the fashion group. Her line will also be the first new house created by LVMH since Christian Lacroix in 1987.

"[I]t's the beginning of a new world," Rihanna told T magazine. "Everything was a collaboration, so I've plugged my DNA into theirs, but there was already a blueprint. I'm learning so much: about the tailoring, the fabric — I'm seeing fabrics that I've never seen in my life."

Rihanna does not only use failure to her advantage — she also uses criticism as fuel. She told T magazine that after her first single "Pon De Replay" (which hit No. 24 on Billboard in 2005) was dismissed by music critics as a one-hit wonder, it motivated her to work harder and eventually branch out to other creative endeavors, like her Fenty beauty line and her lingerie line, Savage X Fenty.

"[T]he one-hit-wonder comment came straight out of the gate and that put a fire under my ass, and I just never stopped working," Rihanna said. "Every time it was about challenging myself: I have to do better, I have to do better. And what's next, what's next?"

"I won a Grammy and that was seconds into my past as soon as it got into my hands," she adds. "I have to think about the next thing, which is terrible because people should live in the moment. I just started branching out into different creative outlets. That's what makes me happy."

Don't miss: Zoe Saldana says the best advice she got about working in Hollywood came from her mom—here's what she told her

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This story has been revised. 

Caroline McCredie | Getty
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