Lorde: 'I've grown a lot'
Nicki Minaj once said, "If I had accepted the pickle juice, I would be drinking pickle juice right now."
It's this quote from a YouTube clip starring the rapper titled "Bossing Up" which flashes before me as I'm introduced to 17-year-old Ella Yelich-O'Connor, who is dressed in a bright red, raw silk Valentina Kova pant suit being watched by a handful of nervous minders as she elegantly unwraps a $10 block of hokey pokey dark chocolate.
"I like wearing suits, not because they make me look androgynous but because they make me feel kind of powerful, like I'm in charge," she says taking a bite of her artisan chocolate bar.
Less than a year ago Yelich-O'Connor, or Lorde as she is more commonly known now, was telling Billboard magazine of her admiration for Minaj, "She is so f..king good, man. I can't even fathom it. I watched this amazing video the other day, of her just riffing about sex. She was putting on make-up and talking, and she's a total feminist, and I was like, 'Man, you are a badass Nicki', I love it."
Consciously or not, the quiet girl from the outer suburbs of Auckland is now following in the footsteps of who The New York Times has called "the most influential female rapper of all time", not for her rhymes and cussing but for her business acumen and individual style.
MAC Cosmetics have got in on the ground floor of Lorde Inc., like the make-up brand did with Minaj back in 2010, and collaborated with the girl with the purple lips to release a new lipstick and eyeliner in her honour.
The limited edition collection is a shorthand version of what she wears while performing and has been developed by Lorde herself and her personal make-up artist Amber D.
Despite many saying she wore black lipstick to the Grammys she was actually sporting her very own lip colour which shares a name with her record-breaking, chart topping album. Black is the colour of her Rapidblack Penultimate Eye Liner - a liquid liner Amber has been using to frame the wunderkind's piercing blue eyes since they met on the eve of Lorde's EP launch in September 2013.
"It's really good to have someone who's not trying to bronze me up or put lip gloss on me. She's knows what's cool and how young people want to look," she says of Amber and hinting at that infamous Teen Vogue cover and fashion spread where her nose was Photoshopped and her face was caked in bronzer - a product she never wears.
To the surprise (and delight) of many she called out the popular US magazine for digitally altering her image while she toured the States back in April, something she's preparing to do again in the coming months after her Australian tour in July.
apart from the fact that i'm pretty sure this magazine gave me a new nose (:|), i really like this photo pic.twitter.com/Ehk9QMYPjf
"The way I look at it is I'm running my own company and I kind of have to be able to call the shots and I have to be able to be confident and to be assured and be mature I guess," she says.
"I've grown a lot. I've definitely grown into being confident because I'm quite shy when I'm not doing this [speaking to the press, launching her own cosmetic collaboration, performing on the world's biggest stages, accepting Grammys etc]. I'm famously non-confrontational, if I have a problem I would rather just not talk about it than bring it up, but I've gotten better.
"My mum is strong and she's confident and she knows what she wants and she doesn't let anyone talk down to her or patronise her. I think that strength is inspiring to me, but ever since I was a kid I was like 'Mum, this is embarrassing, don't tell that person off' but now I'm glad that I have a role model like that. "
Her chutzpah, like her hair, is something to be admired.
The day before our interview she was in the press encouraging young Kiwis to get across the promises being bandied about by politicians in the lead up to New Zealand's general election in September.
"A lot of young people don't realise that a lot of stuff actually relates to them and affects them pretty directly because I think politics is quite dry on TV and in the papers. It's cool that I can, in some small way, use my voice to tell people that even if you just do some research you can have an impact on the outcome," she says of the election. An election she won't be old enough to cast a vote in.
- Daily Life