Rina Sawayama

  • Photography Annie Lai
  • Styling Kingsley Tao

In London, Stephanie Phillips takes a tour around the sweet, strange galaxy of glitter pop sensation Rina Sawayama.

  • Photography Annie Lai
  • Styling Kingsley Tao

As pop stars go, Rina Sawayama belongs to the old school. She’s a high-energy entertainer with in-your-face melodies, signature dance moves and undeniable glamour. Most often seen in music videos and on stage decked out in futuristic club kid chic, she has an ever-changing array of hair colors to fit her mood. But while Sawayama’s music is indulgently sweet and otherworldly, her lyrical content hits much closer to home, tackling consumer culture, racial microaggressions and hereditary trauma. 

The singer, now 30, took a relatively slow path to becoming an international pop star. After graduating from Cambridge University with a degree in politics, psychology and sociology in 2012, she worked as a model, appearing in campaigns for the Versus x Versace collection and Mac Cosmetics, ...

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