Amber Rose is divisive. On the one hand, you have the larger-than-life figure and urban pin-up girl who draws just as many cat-calls as criticisms, and on the other, there exists this demure woman sitting across from me who’s sweet, polite and absent of any entourage other than her adoring boyfriend (rapper Wiz Khalifa) who’s waiting patiently for the opportunity to whisk her away for a snack. You think you know her because of her past relationship with Kanye West (you don’t) and you have no problem judging her for her body-baring spreads and her steely determination to make a name for herself outside of who she dates (and she’s fine with that). But the reality is she’s more than just arm candy. She’s a living, breathing dichotomy whose past was long ago pre-determined by a simple conversation between two friends.
“I always knew what I wanted,” she tells me as we settle into a cozy couch on the third floor of New York’s Ludlow Manor following an all-day shoot. “I remember hanging out with one of my girls [in Philly] when we were younger and talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up. She was like, ‘I want to get with so-and-so and have lots of babies,’ and I said ‘Well, I’m going to L.A. and I’m going to be famous.’ She just looked at me and told me I was trippin’.”
Needless to say, the path to fame has been anything but smooth. While Rose is hyperaware of her detractors, she chafes at the notion that her past as an exotic dancer or her love life puts her in a separate category from other individuals on the entertainment scene whose less-than-dubious backgrounds haven’t hindered their success. “I didn’t break any laws and I didn’t sell drugs to anyone’s mother,” she stresses emphatically. “I’m not ashamed of what I’ve done and I work hard every day. There’s always going to be people out there that assume the worst about me if I fed into that I’d start to doubt myself.”
In truth, Rose’s busy calendar IS a testament to the things that are important to her and a hint of what’s to come. Between numerous promotional stints as part of her role as spokesperson for Smirnoff Vodka, she is also exploring an acting career, continuing her judging duties on BET’s Master of the Mix, working on her sunglass line, traveling, doing charity outreach AND eking out time with her equally busy boyfriend — even if that means a few hours stolen together in the music studio where the two are both immersed in their own projects.
“I showed Wiz some things I’d written down and he really encouraged me to pursue it,” she admits almost shyly. “I’m taking this really seriously I even quit smoking just so I could improve my voice.” Her features tighten momentarily then relax with a careless shrug. “I already know when the first single drops the haters will have their own opinions, but my fans (almost 900,000 strong on Twitter who she refers to as her “rosebuds” and “rosestuds”) will be there for me.”
In Amber Rose’s mind there’s a future of limitless potential that includes a career trajectory similar to that of J.Lo‘s and a personal life that ends and begins with the man sitting behind us. I catch them smiling over at each other and can’t resist asking what her version of happily-ever-after entails.
“Acting, making music, getting married, being with Wiz on a tour bus with a bunch of babies,” she tells me beaming. “I even want to write a romance novel. There’s nothing I’m not afraid to try.”
Photographer: Blossom Berkofsky @ Atelier Management
Producer: Marni Golden
Stylist: David Zyla
Make-up: Tamah K @ See Management
Hair: Britney Williams with Bumble and Bumble
Nails: Agnes Zaro for Julep
Fashion Editor: Liz Doupnik
Fashion Assistant: Dawnn Lee Mitchell
Vintage Expert: Sebastian Pons
Location: Ludlow Manor
Catering: Ciao For Now