How Rihanna Learned to "Actually Like" Her Body

The sexy singer says she's finally okay with her appearance: "For the first time, I don't want to get rid of the curves"

It's hardly debatable that Rihanna, 23, is one of the most beautiful women in music -- but like any woman, she's far too hard on her own looks. In the new Shape Issue of Vogue, the pop diva from Barbados says that she's finally learning to love the body she was born with.

"Over the holidays...I realized that I actually like my body, even if it’s not perfect according to the book," says Rihanna (who must have a different book than we do). "I just feel sexy. For the first time, I don’t want to get rid of the curves. I just want to tone it up. My body is comfortable, and it’s not unhealthy, so I’m going to rock with it."

And here's that last sentence again, in case you want to tape it over your mirror: My body is comfortable, and it's not unhealthy, so I'm going to rock with it. What a fantastic way to look at things.

Part of Rihanna's new appreciation for her body comes from testing its limitations on the set of her upcoming feature film, Battleship. The singer's trainer gave her a varied but tough routine of weight-lifting, core-strengthening and endurance exercises, until she was in the best shape of her life -- and comfortable firing a machine gun in an inflatable raft, amid seven-foot waves and sharks! ("I loved it," says the singer.)

On her first Vogue cover, Rihanna looks gorgeous in a sheer lace dress that floats from her body. With her curves and the sea in the background, she looks like a mermaid -- more specifically, sporting her current flame-red curls, she looks like Disney's Ariel. But she knows how hard it is for the average woman to feel like a cover girl.

"For a woman to accept her body the way it is, is almost impossible," says Rihanna in a behind-the-scenes video from the photo shoot. "The grass is always greener. I think it's really important that Vogue decided to team up with me and Annie (Leibovitz) on an issue like this, that promotes loving your body the way it is, all different shapes, sizes, curves...I'm very big on dressing to my body type."

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