At only nineteen years old, Rina Lipa has already set the groundwork for what’s turning out to be a substantial career. She’s trained as an actor, accrued over 750 thousand Instagram followers, and even released a capsule collection with popular fashion brand Nasty Gal. As her older sister Dua Lipa prepares for her tour, which was postponed to 2021 in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it seems that Rina’s time to shine has finally arrived.
“One of my first acting coaches once told me to never be disheartened and keep moving forward,” remembers Rina. “This was something I couldn’t understand at the time, but [it’s] become clear later on.” Some of this forward movement brought her to Nasty Gal, with which she collaborated on a capsule collection last year. “That was so much fun,” Rina recounts with excitement about the joint venture. “It was my first time in L.A., so it was such a fun way to explore and work at the same time.”
Being involved in the creative process also gave Rina some insider knowledge of the industry, allowing her to navigate future similar situations with ease. “It was cool seeing how many people contribute to make it all work perfectly,” she details. “[It was] such a lovely team and a memorable experience.” Working with Nasty Gal allowed Rina the opportunity to further experiment with fashion, one of her longtime loves. “I enjoy experimenting with different styles — lots of colours and prints,” she explains. “I try to stay in trend but also be true to myself at the same time.”
Sometimes, that means raiding her older sister’s closet. “I definitely still do that!” she shares. “We have similar styles. We both dress depending on our mood, but I’m excited to see how our styles change over time.” While Dua clearly has her own connection to nostalgia — it’s right in the title of her most recent album, after all — for Rina, the feeling takes a slightly different form.
Her collection with Nasty Gal was rife with styles from her youth, and today, bits of the past still linger in her mind. “Playing Neopets seems appropriate to mention as it’s so nostalgic for me,” she says. “I think about all the Toy Story films, Bratz dolls… Watching home videos is also something that brings back immense nostalgia, too.”
At present, Rina’s attention is focused on acting, something she says she’s “always loved.” She previously acted and did ballet as a child, and soon, she will be attending university and exploring the craft further. “There was never a moment when I doubted that this was what I wanted,” she notes, later describing herself as “extra.” “My parents and friends sometimes call me a drama queen, which I don’t mind!”
Rina is quick to say that her parents and friends are “the best,” with both groups providing advice and assistance for her as she explores her newfound career. “The people I’m closest with always have my best intentions, so I can go to them whenever,” she says. “I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing people in my life.”
Part of that career exploration involves furthering her practice as an actor. “I love to be out of my comfort zone,” she explains. “It would be cool to also play something that’s very different from my casting type. Being versatile and playing a wide range of characters is all I could hope for.”
For the time being, Rina is relaxing as the world awaits its return to action, which has meant “a lot of reading and catching up on shows that I’ve been putting off forever.” But once this period of downtime is over, Rina says she is “excited to go to uni, to meet some new people and to study what I love.”
Of course, she’s also looking forward to having a little fun on the side. “I’m also excited for festivals next year, especially Sunny Hill Festival in Prishtina.” Sunny Hill Festival is organised by Dua and her father to benefit the Sunny Hill Foundation in Kosovo, which funds local art and cultural events. “It was so upsetting it got cancelled this year, but 2021 here we come!”
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photography + art direction. Pixie Levinson using Sony
fashion. Celia Arias
talent. Rina Lipa
hair + make up. Stefan Jemeel
fashion assistant. Bella Dupee
lighting assistant. Daniele Colucciello
words. Braden Bjella