Rihanna‘s been working hard over the past year to make positive changes in her life. As cover girl of Elle‘s July issue, the singer opens up about her new style, new man and new outlook on life!

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Rihanna’s new sense of style is not only reflected by what she wears, but also in the cover art for her new album Rated R.

“I wanted pictures that represented strength and fearlessness but still femininity — a strong woman who can be vulnerable,” Rihanna tells Elle. “Every woman is made up of vulnerability and strength; no matter what race you are, no matter what you’ve been through in your life. Every woman has that strength that is undeniable, but we also have really big hearts. It’s just us.”

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The singer also looks to designers for inspiration and confidence.

“It’s clear there are definitely fewer black women in the high-fashion industry. One of the things I respected most about Gucci was that they did a print campaign with me,” she explains. “I’m a black girl on a fashion spread for Gucci— that was a big deal. I respect designers who aren’t afraid to go outside the box. I went to a Jean Paul Gaultier show, and I saw girls who are thicker than me, beautiful and voluptuous and different ethnicities. That made me so excited. I thought, ‘Okay, I can work that, for sure.’ ”

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Compared to a year ago when her relationship with Chris Brown took a turn for the worse, things have improved drastically for Rihanna.

“A year ago, I was very confused. Because he was my best friend. All of a sudden, one night changed our whole lives — not only our friendship, but our lives,” Rihanna shares. “I wanted to wake up one day and just not have that pain anymore. I wanted to be with him again or get over him — it was either-or. I just didn’t want to feel the pain, the confusion.”

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But she’s moved on and even has a new man in her life!

“I have a boyfriend. I’m so happy. I feel really comfortable, and it’s so easy. I have such a chaotic life, but at the end of the day, that is just my peace. It keeps me sane, really, talking to him and talking to my family.”

For more on Rihanna’s Elle photo shoot, check out Elle.com and newsstands June 15!

Rihanna_June9newsneb

Rihanna_June9newsnec

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