The confident celebutante is by no means struggling to find her style niche. That much is evident on set for today’s cover shoot, where the 21-year-old pulls the majority of her own clothing, slipping in her proverbial two cents at every turn. It’s not bratty or difficult, but refreshing, to see a young talent have complete control of her brand. “I’m one of the few artists who doesn’t have a stylist,” she mentions.
It’s a simple theory: You can’t just dress her up, stick her in front of a camera and make her pretty girl pose in this tucked-away Vault Harlem street wear shop. She floats on set equipped with a black Maison Martin Margiela floor-length jacket, Versace Medusa necklace and Givenchy Rottweiler tee ready for trained eyes. Although she’s completely self-assured here, she continues to fight with and shy away from critics over a style she adamantly claims she resuscitated; a style that’s undeniably an homage to TLC, Aaliyah and Missy Elliott.
In mid-August, Rihanna—red-lipped, snapback-clad and tomboy swagged out—was mistaken for the Harlem chick. A simple retweet from Teyana—which she says was just a salute to her dopeness—sparked an all-out Twitter beef between the Lenox Ave. native and Rihanna’s Navy. On a recent Monday, the curly-haired, barely-legal bombshell took to her balcony at Le Montrose Suite Hotel to air out her grievances about unnecessary attacks against her swag. “Do I think I created this style? No. Did I bring it back? Yes! I branded snapbacks and sneakers. I made it sexy again,” she says with more fervor than an ’09 Kanye. “I’ve always been on my 90s shit, my tomboy shit, my sneakerhead shit. I do feel like I influenced [the style]. I made it okay for female artists to be comfortable in their skin, to be comfortable in street wear, to not always be glamorous 24/7. I would like to think I inspired a lot of artists.”