When Rihanna fans line up to see their girl in “Ocean’s 8” this weekend, they will see a more casual side of the iconic singer. The all-female sequel of the Steven Soderbergh/George Clooney franchise, which itself was a remake of the 1960 Frank Sinatra film, features an all-star cast that includes Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Awkwafina. Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister to Clooney’s Danny Ocean, who devises a plan to steal a massive Cartier diamond necklace during Vogue’s annual Met Gala.
Rihanna’s character, Nine Ball, is a master hacker with a penchant for smoking blunts and not taking any flak about her name. In addition to the namesake pool ball which she uses as a mouse, Nine Ball sports long dreadlocks and spends most of the movie in a military green army jacket and jeans. At a recent press conference in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur, the film’s director Gary Ross recalled the first discussion he had with Rihanna about the character’s costume.
“The first conversation she and I had was about leaning into her Caribbean roots,” said Ross. “We both love Bob Marley, and I mentioned dreadlocks and she jumped up and down. Then we decided on a green army jacket draped over her. This is just different than Rihanna gets to be in most her public appearances, and she really loved all that.”
Rihanna has been photographed sporting camouflage and dreadlocks at different times throughout her career, but Nine Ball’s relaxed style and natural make-up (Fenty, anyone?) certainly make her the most dressed down of the bunch. While Bullock and Blanchett glam it up in business suits and ballgowns, RiRi keeps it real in a tie-dyed tee, baja hoodie, and peace sign choker. (Okay, maybe they went a little overboard with the choker.)
During the film’s big heist, Nine Ball is stationed in a Halal truck while the rest of the women are inside, which is especially funny considering Rihanna’s looks kill at the Met Gala every year. (Later, of course, all the ladies get to break out ball-ready duds, including Rihanna, but even when she’s sliding into the gala, her dreads stay in place.)
“Rihanna, who’s the queen of the actual Met Gala, is stuck in a Halal truck. I think Rihanna just loved that,” said Ross. “She loved leaning into where she came from, and she gets to be queen of the Met Gala every year.”