Pret-a-Reporter

Rita Ora: Thumbs-Up for Miley's VMA Nudity

Rita Ora
AP Images

The "Body on Me" singer defended the tongue-wagging host, saying, "Miley is the main supporter of that message of being comfortable in your own skin."

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Miley Cyrus recruited Rita Ora to join her random selfie at MTV's VMAs on Aug. 30, perhaps the tamest moment during Cyrus' hosting gig, which featured the pop star in a string of nearly nude ensembles. Ora, who wore a sheer top with star-shaped pasties days before her performance at the VMAs "Song of Summer" party presented by Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, tells THR she approves.

"Miley is the main supporter of that message of being comfortable in your own skin," Ora says. "Madonna started it. Artists who are willing to do it only come along once in a blue moon." Critics may want the sheer trend (popular all year at events like the Met Gala and the VMAs) to exit stage left, but, counters Ora, "It's not going anywhere."

As for her own flesh-flashing outing at the El Rey, Ora counters, "I wasn't naked! My new single is called 'Body on Me,' and it's about your body and feeling comfortable in who you are, so I thought, 'I would wear the same thing at home with my friends, why not do it at my own concert?' " 

To prove her point, Ora then polled her (respectfully quiet) entourage surrounding her in the Samsung green room: "Guys, when do I ever wear clothes when I'm home and we have a party?" It took her friends all of two seconds to respond, "Never."

Read more VMAs 2015: Miley Cyrus' Stylist Speaks

While she likes to be nude, the 24-year-old singer and actress (recently onscreen in Southpaw) loves being onstage most. “My favorite thing ever in what I do is performing live,” says Ora, who will later close out her evening at West Hollywood hotspot The Abbey. “It’s about not having any rules. I’ve been very adamant on making sure that there is a sense of freedom on my stage, whether it’s outfits or being comfortable in your sexuality, whatever. I’m very proud of what I am and who we are as a band and as a team. We roll as a unit, and this is the first time I’ve performed in Los Angeles, or even America, in two years. It’s almost like starting again.”

But not necessarily starting from scratch. While Ora hasn't had a major No. 1 hit in the U.S., what she has enjoyed is a profitable stream of corporate partners, including Adidas, DKNY and Samsung, the latter of which she praised for supporting her through endorsements and sponsorships. "The thing I love about Samsung is they know what they're talking about."
 
The Roc Nation artist feels she also has something to say with her upcoming sophomore album (release date TBD). "I was 18 when I did my first album. I’m 24 now. I was a fan of music before, and I really enjoyed being in the studio and making music about partying, but I wasn’t ready to offer my own interpretation or creative vision of music," she says with a smile. "I feel I have to contribute something now."
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