Real Woman Q&A: Dawn Richard

Gerren Keith Gaynor | 09/03/2015 | 05:00 PM EDT

"I'm a belligerent introvert"

(Photo: Eduardo Pence/Ernesto Casillas)

Real women are stars, and stars are real women…

When Dawn Richard hits the stage she’s electrifying. Often coloring outside the lines in both her music and fashion, she makes it clear she’s never afraid to take risks. The singer and dancer (also known as D∆WN) made quite the splash with solo projects Goldenheart (2013) and Blackheart (2015), two albums from a trilogy concept that will round off with her upcoming offering RedemptionHeart

But when she’s off the stage, the New Orleans, Louisiana native is just like any other woman trying to conquer the trial-and-errors of life. A self-described, “belligerent introvert,” Dawn is both raw and mysterious.

Right off the heels of her show at MoMa PS1 in New York City, Centric caught up with the former Danity Kane and Diddy Dirty Money alum to dish on fashion, her spirit animal and the real woman behind the rising star.

How would you describe your style?

I don’t describe it. I just wake up and whatever feels good I do. I literally wake up to a different hairstyle. 

What makes Black women so magical?

Everything. We exude regalness. I think our beauty is effortless. From the hair to the lips, our skin and the different shades. The attitude, the curves...there’s just something regal about it. It’s beautiful to me. Just to watch Black women walk and speak, there’s just such a poise to it.

How would describe yourself “centrisitically”--using complementary contradictions? 
I’m a belligerent introvert. I do a lot but I’m kind of to myself.

Who is your spirit animal and why?

Between Zoe Kravitz and Grace Jones. Their tits are always out and I love that (laughs). There’s something beautiful about not giving a sh*t. I like people who exude freedom.

When are you at your happiest and most centered self?
When I’m with Family and friends. The limited four-five people who I love. They get the best of me. I know that sucks because everybody deserves to get the best of you, but they really get the real me. The fun and nappy-headed, long-johns wearing, laying on them, jumping on their bed. They get that other Dawn most people will never see. The safe button cuts off when it knows it’s right.

What makes you feel most confident?
The stage. If I could live there I would. The person I am on that stage is who I am with [the audience]. That’s why I want to share it because that’s the only time they get to really see who I am.

When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you see?

A work in progress...and I like that. I like that I’m still working to figure it out. Hopefully when I’m 60 I’ll be a bad bitch with 7 inch platforms (laughs). Every year I get stronger, but I like the work in progress because that means I have room to be flyer than I already am. That’s a good place to be.

Dawn Richard Spills Her Heart Out [Exclusive]

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