Rita Ora’s “You Only Love Me” Bridal Makeup Is Filled With Symbolism

The singer talks to Marie Claire about her favorite Iconic London products, the hidden meaning behind her bridal beauty glam, and why Sophia Loren was the inspiration for her “playful” makeup.

rita ora you only love me music video makeup
(Image credit: Courtesy of Rita Ora)

If you haven't had a chance to watch Rita Ora’s new “You Only Love Me” wedding-inspired music video, believe me when I say you're going to want to get right on that. The music itself is great—not a huge shocker. But it’s the trio of bridal beauty looks, which range from fresh-faced to “playful” and dramatic, that deserve an extra special round of applause. Why, you ask? The makeup in the Tim Burton-inspired music video was filled with symbolism (fear not, we have all the easter eggs). 

“In the video I wanted to represent three bridal looks with different energies. In a way, they represent the different phases of being in a new relationship: Falling in love, questioning yourself, and constantly wondering what the other person is thinking, but then you reach a sort of state of content that comes with that commitment,” Ora, who married director Taika Waititi in a private ceremony last year, exclusively explains to Marie Claire. “‘You Only Love Me’ captures the vulnerability that I experienced at the very start—at a time when I was opening myself up to love and what felt like the beginnings of a new phase of my life.”

rita ora in iconic london makeup

(Image credit: Courtesy of Iconic London)

Cue the first beauty look, which encompasses a dewy and ethereal aesthetic. It was Iconic London to the rescue, a brand that has been one of the star’s “favorites” for quite some time. “Their products speak to a natural, glowing, bridal look,” she tells Marie Claire. But given that filming a music video is a labor of love, strong staying power is key. Enter the Super Smoother Skin Tint, which served as Ora’s base makeup for the music video. “It’s a winner every time,” she says. “We topped it with a little glowing blush and a pretty highlight to give an ethereal glow that felt romantic and timeless.” 

The second and third makeup moments, which happen to be my personal favorites, are more “playful” in nature—and there’s a strategic reason why. “As you become more confident and settled in love, you begin to feel safe and secure to really be yourself,” the “Hot Right Now” artist says. “This is where the more experimental looks and hairstyles come in…I took inspiration from the ‘60s and ‘70s with heavily made-up eyes and bouncy, big styled-up hair. I wanted to channel bombshells like Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.” With smoky purple cut-crease eyeliner and nearly-nude lips along with a metallic eye moment in the final scenes, it’s safe to say that Ora’s mission was accomplished. “Trying a more daring look changes the way you move, the way you carry yourself. Even if you just start small, eventually that confidence you feel becomes part of who you are, whether you’re a bride in a music video or just walking down the street.”

If you’re feeling inspired to recreate some of the “You Only Love Me” looks at home, keep scrolling. Below, Ora breaks down her favorite makeup products used in the music video.

Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, Delish.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.