Rihanna Says She Had To Learn To Contain Her Online Troll

There are people who do nothing but sit in their parents’ basement glued to Twitter who still can’t troll on Twitter like Rihanna used to back in the day. The singer’s online clapbacks are the stuff of legend. 2011’s infamous “Good luck with bookin that stage u speak of,” (memorably directed at Ciara) was just the tip of the iceberg. Alas, these days, Rihanna has matured—a bit. She’s a mother of two with an expanding business empire who has since realized that the Internet never forgets.

In her new Interview cover story, Rihanna said she “had a time” during her freer days online, but these days she has learned to be a “silent troll.” (Which, frankly, may also be good advice for all those in the aforementioned parents’ basement tweeting “Ended Cardi!” at PopCrave all day.)

In between rehearsals for a recent private gig she played for an Indian pre-wedding party, Riri sat down with the magazine’s editor-in-chief (and her former stylist) Mel Ottenberg for an intimate chat. Despite helping to create some of the singer’s most memorable looks, Ottenberg confessed that often when her birthday rolls around all he wants to do is post some of her favorite tweets in tribute.

“Do you miss being on the Internet, like, really on the internet?” he asked. “Like, ‘Good luck booking that stage you speak of’ Internet? Because you were so good at it.”

“The troll in me, she had a time,” Rihanna replied. “Unfortunately, you can’t take anything back from the Internet, so I will always have the reminders, but the best troll in me is the silent troll.”

It seems Rihanna has even made some efforts to clean up her past Internet footprint—with the help of Fenty’s head of digital. Ottenberg seemed a bit miffed that a tweet reading “Life’s a bitch, and her pussy wet,” was deleted. (For the record, “booking that stage” is still online, so it’s not like the entirety of Rihanna’s Library of Alexandria has been burned down.)

Rihanna never directly addresses whether she “misses it” per se, but it seems she no longer wants to be the Renata Adler Rihanna of looking at her phone. While the outright thirst to fully cancel a celebrity for one misguided tweet has died down (see: Doja Cat), stars without Rihanna’s sharp wit can still cause headaches for their PR contingent (see: also Doja Cat). Rihanna is aware of the ways her comments can go viral. She hesitated a bit when asked to speculate on the love life of another figure in the public spotlight, even if that figure is Real Housewives of Beverly Hill’s Kyle Richards (“Man, stop. I’m not getting into that. You messy bitch.”).

Still, we do miss having a star who can go just as viral for their latest clapback as they do their latest fashion statement. The culture needs that yin and yang, that sweet and sour. Still, it’s clear that even if Rihanna now keeps her harshest troll jobs to herself these days, she still has our full attention anytime she opens her mouth and hasn’t fully put a filter on herself.

“I want my titties pinned back to my shoulders, right where they used to be,” she said on the subject of future plastic surgery, but doesn’t want a BBL, instead saying she’ll just do squats. When Ottenberg offered to take the candid talk about plastic surgery off the record, Rihanna responded, “I don’t give a shit. Mel, you asked me about Kyle Richards, and this part is off the record?”

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