Rita Ora Had the Greatest Reactions to Fans Covering Her Songs

Rita Ora has a catalog of bops. From the chart-topping “Your Song” to cuts from her latest album, like “Let You Love Me,” the British pop queen has been making us dance for a few years now.

But some fans are doing more than just dancing: They’re recording covers of Ora’s songs and sharing them on YouTube. And their interpretations run the gamut from punchy rock to soft acoustic and even some more experimental genres. For our latest edition of “You Sang My Song,” we had Rita Ora stop by our offices and check out a few of these covers, and she loved them.

“That’s what music is about,” Ora said in between watching the covers. “It’s about having fun.”

Later she added, “I really am overwhelmed. It’s so nice to see people singing my songs. I feel like I’m doing something right. And I never want it to end and I can’t tell you how honored I am. It’s the biggest compliment in the world, so keep singing my songs, please.”

Ora first hit the music scene in 2012 with splashy hits like “How We Do (Party)” and “Poison.” She’s since established herself as a multihyphenate, with stakes in both music and fashion. Her last album, Phoenix, was released in November 2018 and reached number 11 on the U.K. albums chart.

“It’s about my decisions in life to get to 27,” Ora told British Vogue about the new album. “Some I regret—not regret, that’s not the right word—some I wish I did differently, and some I’m proud of. Like, ‘Your Song’ was written when I was with Ed [Sheeran] and we were moaning about all this depressing music, and we wanted to hear something that was like, ‘I don’t wanna hear sad songs anymore.'” Stream the album here.

Model Teddy Quinlivan Shares How She Gets Ready for a Date

Google “date night beauty” and you’ll get tips on bombshell hair, bedroom eyes, and why your date will love it. Sorry to all the potential Tinders matches here, but we believe in getting ready for no one but ourselves. That’s why we created the Date Prep Diaries, a personal look into the different pre-date rituals of women across America.

First up: Teddy Quinlivan, 24, single and a model in New York City and Paris

When it comes to beauty, my philosophy is that if you love yourself unapologetically, the right person will come to you. I don’t swipe on a magic mascara or lipstick and feel less insecure. It’s something I’ve had to work on internally for years and years. So when I go on a date, I try to look the most like my natural self.

I was so nervous I wasn’t going to live a normal life anymore when I came out as trans two years ago [especially when it came to dating]. But I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised. Not only has my life been normal, but I’ve been dating more and having more successful dates. It’s not like I tell anyone or announce that I’m trans before a date, because that’s not the most important thing about me. But if somebody is not attracted to me for something I have no control over, like my trans identity, there’s literally nothing I can do about it. This is who I am.

How often I go on dates varies. It really just depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I’ll be really busy and I don’t have time to go on any dates in a month, but other times I’ll be thirsty, and so I’ll go out on multiple dates in a week. I never go out to dinner with a boy [on a first date], especially if I’m meeting somebody from Tinder. A whole dinner can take an entire hour, and if I don’t find you attractive, then I’m just not going to devote that time to you. So my strategy is to be like, “Let’s go grab a drink.” Sometimes I don’t even want to do that, so I’ll suggest, “Let’s hang out at your place.” But I’m not really a Netflix and chill kind of girl, and I never want there to be an insinuation that it’ll lead to sex in any way, shape, or form. It’s never on the table from the get-go. It has to be earned.

The thing boys always compliment me on is my skin—they notice that. Plus, I like to feel dewy and fresh. So when I’m getting ready for a date, I usually start out by doing a face mask like Dr. Jart’s sheet masks or Sisley’s Black Rose one. Then, I exfoliate my lips with a MAC lip scrub, because I always want to have the most soft, kissable lips. After that, I moisturize with the Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Serum, which I swear by, and Creme de la Mer.

As a passable transgender woman, I know a lot of other trans women feel more comfortable wearing more makeup. I do too in my daily life, but when I’m out on a date I don’t feel like I need to wear a lot. It’s very rare for me to find somebody I connect with, and when I do find that person, I don’t want something like my makeup overshadowing me. So I’ll usually keep my skin natural and add a little bit of La Prairie’s Cream Blush and a taupe eye with a little highlight in the corner. I always like to make my lashes look really full and thick with the Dior Pump n Show Mascara. And anything that draws attention to your lips is key, so I love the Fenty Gloss Bomb.

Valentine’s Day 2019: How Celebrity Couples Are Celebrating

Celebrity couples are all over Valentine’s Day this year. From Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, your favorite A-list twosomes are spending February 14 exactly how you’d expect: looking hot and very much in love. Many stars have taken to social media to gush about their also-famous SOs, while others are letting their fun, over-the-top dates do the talking. When Travis Scott surprises Kylie Jenner with an opulent rose archway display, no words are required.

Below, check out how all the celeb couples you love are showing their love this Valentine’s Day. Warning: mushiness ahead.

The “Can’t Be Tamed” singer kicked off V-Day by posting this hilarious meme to her Instagram Story. “When it’s Valentine’s Day and bae says hi,” she wrote alongside a photo of her doing…well, just see it for yourself.

She also posted a photo from their December wedding and captioned it, “L❤️VE YOU Valentine.”

The usually private couple wrote dueling Instagram posts to show their love for each other. “Quite actually the only thing keeping me sane is @lilireinhart,” Sprouse wrote on his, while Reinhart posted, “You make me very happy. Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are spending Valentine’s Day apart. However, the people Prince Harry are currently visiting in Norway surprised him with this very sweet display of photos from his wedding day with Markle:

Leave it to the Kardashian-Wests to have the most extra celebrity Valentine’s Day. West pulled out all the stops this year, hiring the one and only Kenny G to play for Kardashian amid a sea of roses. “Happy Valentines Day babe!!! I love you so much,” Kardashian wrote to West in her own Instagram post.

Speaking of extravagance, Scott surprised Jenner by taking her through several rose archways as his own music played in the background. It’s very romantic, and I respect his promo hustle.

Valentine’s Day was a family affair for the Beckhams, who spent their morning exchanging adorable homemade cards.

It’s clear from Hyland and Adams’ Valentine’s Instagram posts their love for each other runs deep. “With you I feel like I’m on top of the world & I’ll always catch you if you fall…no matter how high we climb. I love you to Pluto & back @wellsadams ❤️ I am so grateful and appreciative of everything you do for me,” Hyland wrote, while Adams opted for short but sentimental: “Hey @sarahhyland, will you be my Valentine? I love you +1 more than anything you say.”

The world’s hottest couple are still very much hot and in love. “My Forever Valentine!!! Te amo tanto amor da minha vida,” Brady posted to Instagram.

Meanwhile, the Deckers (also very hot) had quite the relatable start to their V-day: coffee. “My Valentine for life! Love you to the moon and back,” Eric posted about Jessie. D’awww.

My Disability Shouldn’t Disqualify Me From Being ‘Dateable’

I’ve been struggling with this whole romance thing for the last decade. Honestly, who hasn’t? But my situation is apparently even more complicated: I have a disability.

I say apparently because I want to date—I want the same things any able-bodied woman wants out of a relationship. But I was born with a genetic bone and muscular disorder called Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome that’s left me with a wheelchair and scars from around 25 surgeries. Despite all that, I’m still a pretty independent woman; I earned a college degree, get around on my own, make most of my own meals, and hold down a career as a freelance writer. My day-to-day life doesn’t look much different from my able-bodied peers’ but my dating life seems to exist in a different universe—one where my desires are non-existent and everyone assumes I’m looking for a caretaker.

The truth is, though I’m 37, I haven’t dated anyone—mostly because there’s always been this voice in the back of my head telling me that men don’t want to date a disabled woman. The assumption I can never escape is “disability is an undesirable quality…There aren’t many men or women who want to get into a relationship with someone they have to care for,” as one person so bluntly wrote on Twitter. “Melissa cannot accept the fact that men are not attracted to her,” another person commented on one of my posts. “Unfair as it may be, the wheelchair DOES matter. Her disfigurement DOES matter. It doesn’t matter how smart, witty, or sarcastic she is. She might have better luck concentrating on men who are disabled and disfigured like her.”

I’d be lying if I said comments like this weren’t part of the reason why I haven’t put myself out there. The message is always clear: disability is a bad word and it makes you undateable. I wish these feelings were just the stuff of Internet trolls but the reality is they’re not—and it’s gotten to me. Several years ago I asked some of my male friends if they would date someone with a disability. The sheepish response? Quite a few said they’d be afraid of the “responsibility.”

It’s time to set the record straight: I am disabled, desirable, and not looking for a nurse.

Sometimes, I feel like I need to put those words on a neon sign in Times Square (or at least on a business card to hand out whenever I meet someone interesting). I know there are many ways my disability does make me different—like the fact that I use a wheelchair to get around—but it’s 2019 for goodness sakes. Twenty-seven million women in the U.S. have disabilities—don’t we deserve all the same things in a relationship as able-bodied women? My wheelchair doesn’t make me something other than a woman, my disability doesn’t disqualify me from wanting a rom-com-worthy relationship, my condition doesn’t mean I’m looking for a caretaker as a partner.

There are so many things I do want, and, brace yourself, because this might come as a shock: I want the same things you want in a relationship. I want a guy who makes me laugh, who is kind and gentle and sensitive, who is family-oriented, who is as obsessed with pop culture as I am. I want to be myself, to be seen, to be loved—disability and all.

Melissa Blake is a freelance writer and blogger from Illinois. She covers relationships, disabilities and pop culture. Read her blog, and follow her on Twitter @MelissaBlake.

No, My Disability Doesn’t Make Me ‘Undateable’

I’ve been struggling with this whole romance thing for the last decade. Honestly, who hasn’t? But my situation is apparently even more complicated: I have a disability.

I say apparently because I want to date—I want the same things any able-bodied woman wants out of a relationship. But I was born with a genetic bone and muscular disorder called Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome that’s left me with a wheelchair and scars from around 25 surgeries. Despite all that, I’m still a pretty independent woman; I earned a college degree, get around on my own, make most of my own meals, and hold down a career as a freelance writer. My day-to-day life doesn’t look much different from my able-bodied peers’ but my dating life seems to exist in a different universe—one where my desires are non-existent and everyone assumes I’m looking for a caretaker.

The truth is, though I’m 37, I haven’t dated anyone—mostly because there’s always been this voice in the back of my head telling me that men don’t want to date a disabled woman. The assumption I can never escape is “disability is an undesirable quality…There aren’t many men or women who want to get into a relationship with someone they have to care for,” as one person so bluntly wrote on Twitter. “Melissa cannot accept the fact that men are not attracted to her,” another person commented on one of my posts. “Unfair as it may be, the wheelchair DOES matter. Her disfigurement DOES matter. It doesn’t matter how smart, witty, or sarcastic she is. She might have better luck concentrating on men who are disabled and disfigured like her.”

I’d be lying if I said comments like this weren’t part of the reason why I haven’t put myself out there. The message is always clear: disability is a bad word and it makes you undateable. I wish these feelings were just the stuff of Internet trolls but the reality is they’re not—and it’s gotten to me. Several years ago I asked some of my male friends if they would date someone with a disability. The sheepish response? Quite a few said they’d be afraid of the “responsibility.”

It’s time to set the record straight: I am disabled, desirable, and not looking for a nurse.

Sometimes, I feel like I need to put those words on a neon sign in Times Square (or at least on a business card to hand out whenever I meet someone interesting). I know there are many ways my disability does make me different—like the fact that I use a wheelchair to get around—but it’s 2019 for goodness sakes. Twenty-seven million women in the U.S. have disabilities—don’t we deserve all the same things in a relationship as able-bodied women? My wheelchair doesn’t make me something other than a woman, my disability doesn’t disqualify me from wanting a rom-com-worthy relationship, my condition doesn’t mean I’m looking for a caretaker as a partner.

There are so many things I do want, and, brace yourself, because this might come as a shock: I want the same things you want in a relationship. I want a guy who makes me laugh, who is kind and gentle and sensitive, who is family-oriented, who is as obsessed with pop culture as I am. I want to be myself, to be seen, to be loved—disability and all.

Melissa Blake is a freelance writer and blogger from Illinois. She covers relationships, disabilities and pop culture. Read her blog, and follow her on Twitter @MelissaBlake.

Becca McCharen-Tran Survives Fashion Week With Plants from Miami and Chocolate-Covered Ginger from Trader Joe’s

After that, I had a fitting with Leyna Bloom. I love Leyna. We wanted to have her walk in the show, but she’s been out of town and there wasn’t enough time, so she sat front row instead. Leyna’s been walking for us since 2016, and she’s got an amazing walk. She’s a dancer, so she’s so good with movement and she’s so talented—when we first saw her walk, we were like, “Okay, yes, definitely you.”

Then, I had to fix a cross seam that was messed up. Even when we were pattern-making the garment, there were issues. We had to improvise and do a lot of hand-stitching. I was looking to see if it was passable.

The Final Touches

That night, I also finalized the beauty look for each model. I really wanted the makeup and the hair to speak to our overall theme for the runway show. I wanted it to trigger an urgency within the viewers, to tell the story of going from lush, tropical, beautiful plant life into plastic pollution and climate change. It went from big blush to greens and more sour colors, to see that disintegration from healthy to unhealthy.

Ben Ritter, who is my right-hand at Chromat, had been doing a lot of work on the final look of the collection over the past two weeks. He had been taking all of the water bottles from our studio and then cutting them up and melting them over candles to make them all different shapes. They were spray-painted, and once they were dry, we put them onto a fishing net. The night before, it was a matter of positioning each flower and each water bottle where it needed to be and hand-sewing them onto the fishing net.

The live floral element was an interesting new twist on our show prep. We’ve done a lot of amazing collaborations—it’s definitely my favorite part of being a fashion designer and doing Fashion Week. I love working with people outside of the industry: scientists, choreographers, and now florists. It’s just fun to work with someone who doesn’t know the rules and who’s coming from a completely different place. With the flowers, it was the first time I worked with something that could actually disappear, that had such a finite timeline. We could approve certain elements, but there were a lot of changes that you might not have known to happen, between what we imagined and what was the runway reality. The florist had to do everything the day before.

We focused on tropical plants. A lot of the bigger ferns and leaves were from my actual front yard in Miami—I trimmed them, put them in my suitcase, and the florist stored them in her freezer. It felt like home, being able to celebrate this place that I’ve come to love on the runway and knowing where the plant grows in my front yard. I can’t wait to go home this weekend and thank it for its contribution to our show.

I went to the florist at 9:30 p.m. They didn’t want me to come by until all the floral arrangements were done—it was supposed to be earlier, but it kept getting pushed back and pushed back. By the time I arrived, they had finished most of the arrangements, so I was able to just go and approve the final.

The Calm Before the Storm

I went home after that. I was adding friends to the invite list for the show, eating Trader Joe’s dark chocolate-covered ginger, and watching The Bachelor over [my wife] Christine’s shoulder.

I started The Bachelor when Rachel was the Bachelorette, and I’ve been half-heartedly watching ever since. But Christine loves it—she’s going to get so mad that I mentioned this, because it’s very much her DL interest; she just loves to turn off her brain and enjoy. I don’t like Colton. He wasn’t my favorite from Becca’s group, so I haven’t engaged with this season. I don’t know anybody’s name yet. The Bachelor as an enterprise is so reinforcing of like gender norms, it’s so weird.

Prince Harry Is Away For Valentine’s Day, So People Covered His Room With Meghan Markle Pics

We’ve known for a while now Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren’t spending Valentine’s Day together this year. Unfortunately, royal duty calls for the Duke of Sussex: He’s currently in Bardufoss, Norway visiting the Exercise Clockwork, an “annual winter exercise, based in one of the world’s most demanding environments—200 miles inside the Arctic Circle—which has trained over 16,000 Royal Marines and Royal Navy sailors and airmen since 1969.” So, in other words, he’s literally watching people work out in the freezing cold instead of hanging out with Meghan. So sad!

But the people at Exercise Clockwork just brought her a little bit closer to him. In a very sweet move, they covered one of the makeshift shelters Prince Harry stopped by with photos of him and Meghan on their wedding day. Prince Harry’s smile when he saw these photos is absolutely priceless:

“You weirdos,” Prince Harry joked when he saw the photos, according to E! Online. “It’s very kind of you to invite me into your private shrine or whatever you want to call it.”

This means Markle is spending Valentine’s Day on her own, too—but if this recently-unearthed blog post from her old website The Tig is any indication, she’s not sweating it. Back in 2015, Markle wrote about how practicing self-love on Valentine’s Day is the most important thing.

“This Valentine’s Day I will be with friends, running amok through the streets of New York, likely imbibing some cocktail that’s oddly pink, and jumping over icy mounds in my new shoes through the salted snowy streets of the West Village,” she wrote, according to People. “But those shoes, by the way, were my gift to myself. Because I’ve worked hard, because I’m not going to wait for someone to buy me the things I covet (nor do I want to), and because I want to treat myself as well as I treat those dearest to me. Because I am my own funny Valentine.”

Netflix’s Dating Around Review: The One Horrifying Moment We Must Discuss

The premise of Netflix’s new reality show Dating Around, streaming now, is simple: A single person goes on a series of blind dates, and by the end they choose one prospect to move forward with. If that sounds boring or reductive, stay with me—because this series is anything but.

You have to make it past episode one, though, which features your standard 27-year-old bro having dinner and drinks with five different women. It’s cringe-y and awkward—which may be the point—but things really pick up in episode two. That’s when we meet an Indian woman who shuts down her ignorant white male date. It’s a tense, necessary exchange that will hit home for anyone who’s experienced culture clash. In episode three, we watch a gay man attempt to find love; the conversations that emerge from that about coming out are heartfelt and fascinating. Episode four, my personal favorite, centers on a widower immersing himself in the dating scene. He’s a no-fuss, long-retired lawyer who’s just looking for companionship, and the women he meets are all queens.

But we really need to talk about what happens in episode five. We’re introduced to Sarah, a recent New York City transplant who agrees to five blind dates. One of those is with John, who tells Sarah he goes by “Mr. John”—weird, but not offensive. But then they sit down for dinner, and Sarah says she might order what the restaurant calls the “Big Salad.” To this John says, “That caught your attention? You like it big?” Yes, John makes a dick joke not even an hour into his date with Sarah.

She laughs it off, but then he makes another comment. When Sarah tells John she enjoys singing jazz, he asks if he can hear some. She takes a sip of her wine—presumably to loosen up before singing—and John jokes, “Yeah, you don’t want anything in your throat, right?” Again with the dick jokes.

Sarah, visibly uncomfortable, then does something awesome: She gets up and leaves midway through the date. “I have a little bit of a headache, and I do have an early morning meeting with a client, so thank you so much for coming out and meeting me,” she says. “It’s been a very interesting evening, but I think I might skadoodle, if that’s cool.”

Unfortunately, men behaving inappropriately within minutes of a first date is a reality many, many women face. “I have stories for days,” Amanda, a 25-year-old public relations manager, tells me before diving into a particularly horrifying account. “One time, I met up for my very first date with a guy at a restaurant. During the first few seconds, we shared an awkward hug, and I said, ‘It’s nice to meet you.’ He said, ‘Glad you made it,’ then pushed his hips against mine and said, ‘This little guy is glad you made it too.’ He was talking about his penis.”

Gabby, a 25-year-old operations coordinator, had a similar experience. “I was leaving one guy’s apartment after a terrible first date,” she says. “We didn’t do anything beyond kissing, and he told me I was ‘causing problems downstairs’ as I walked out, referring to his boner.”

How Sarah handles the situation on Dating Around is incredible to watch. She realizes she doesn’t have to put up with John’s grossness, and so she promptly leaves. “I have a really bad habit of giving absolutely everything to men that don’t fucking deserve it,” she says at one point in the episode. “And so I no longer do that.” Cheers to that.

We should all adopt this mindset when it comes to dating, but that’s easier said than done sometimes. John’s comments clearly made Sarah uncomfortable, but it took two of them for her to leave the date. When she does, she pads her reasoning for dipping out with kindness. Words like “skadoodle” and thanking John for his time are pleasantries he doesn’t deserve.

The Kissing Booth Sequel Is Happening: Here’s Everything We Know

Last year, Netflix blessed us all by bringing back the rom com. (Not that it was ever truly gone for us real stans, but at least they’re cool again.) The streaming service did this by premiering a slew of instant classics, including Set It Up, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. But there was one film in particular that kicked off this rom-com renaissance: The Kissing Booth, which became the most rewatched movie on all of Netflix for 2018, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

For the uninitiated, The Kissing Booth is based on Beth Reekles’s YA novel of the same name. It follows Elle Evans (Joey King) and her BFF Lee (Joey Courtney) during their junior year of high school. These two do everything together—from Dance Dance Revolution, to stuffing themselves with cheeseburgers—but there’s one thing they can’t bond over: Elle’s secret, massive crush on Lee’s older brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi).

And for those of you who couldn’t get enough of Elle, Lee, and Noah’s story, Netflix just announced a Valentine’s Day miracle: Production has started on a sequel for The Kissing Booth.

Here’s everything we know about it so far, and we’ll update this post as more details come in. But first, watch the teaser trailer below:

The director: Vince Marcello, who led the first film, is back onboard to direct the second.

The cast: Joey King, Joel Courtney, and Jacob Elordi are attached to star in the sequel. King had previously told TV Guide, “Right now, we’re not really sure. [The cast] would love for that to happen, but everything is still up in the air. We’re still waiting on [Netflix],” so it doesn’t come as that much of a surprise they signed on for the second film.

The plot: Details for the plot are still under warps, but King shared her dream premise for the sequel. “If there was a sequel, my prediction would be hopefully Elle and Noah stay together,” she told Seventeen. “Elle goes to visit Noah at college. Of course, there has to be some crazy things that get out of hand, but I don’t know. I really hope that a lot of the original characters, if there was a sequel, like the OMG Girls and Tuppen and all those amazing characters would definitely be in it.”

As for the fate of Elle and Noah’s relationship, King said, “Of course, I think everyone, including myself, wants to see Elle and Noah stay together. I feel like Elle and Noah should stay together and get into the theme park business together and be a power couple who builds theme parks.”

Best Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spot Treatments for Women of Color

If you’ve ever dealt with hyperpigmentation—those pesky dark spots caused by excess melanin production—you know it can sometimes feel like a nightmare to deal with. Just about everyone can suffer from the effects of the condition, but according to San Antonio–based dermatologist Lindsey Finklea, women of color are significantly more prone to getting it.

Whether it’s from sun damage, inflammation, or acne scars, the clusters of flat, dark patches and uneven texture are notoriously stubborn when it comes to fading on darker skin. The process only gets more frustrating with the myriad of different serums and creams on the market that claim to do the job but inevitably fall short. I personally have struggled finding products that work on my medium-to-dark complexion for years now, even with privileged access in the industry, so I did what I always do: turn to my trustworthy network of women of color on Facebook.

These women come from different backgrounds, income brackets, cities, and age groups, which allows me access to a diverse pool of solid, real-life suggestions. So should you be in the same boat, trying to narrow in on the products worth giving a shot, here are the products 14 women of color swear by to tackle dark spots for good.