Rita Ora‘s acting debut may just be four lines long but it’s quite a launch pad: As Christian Grey’s sister in Fifty Shades of Grey, the 24-year-old’s cameo was seen by millions (generating $94.4 million in first-weekend box office, according to Box Office Mojo). “Make sure you don’t blink or you’ll miss me,” she jokes. That exposure precedes the Brit’s debut U.S. album and another role, a meatier part as a drug-addicted mother alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in the gritty boxing drama Southpaw. She also is performing at the Academy Awards, where her recording of Diane Warren’s “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights is up for best original song. Classically trained (at London’s Sylvia Young Theatre School) and with model-worthy looks (she’s the face of Roberto Cavalli), Ora is finally ready for a different kind of close-up.
“After I shoot [a film], I’ll go to the studio and record. Like when I was making Southpaw, I did ‘Black Widow’ with Iggy Azalea and ‘Doing It’ with Charli XCX. The only thing I sacrifice is my sleep.”
All About That Improv
“I’m more comfortable in music because I’ve been doing it my whole life. But the more success you have in a specific area, you get more confident — I want people to see me grow. And the one thing I’ve learned from music with my acting is you’ve got to know how to be on the spot, how to jump and land on your feet.”
“I’d love to play Dolly Parton some day. Just don’t ask me to do the accent — that might take a bit of rehearsing!”
– She’s credited with four hits on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, including Iggy Azalea’s recent No. 1, “Black Widow.”
– Her U.S. debut, due in early summer, will feature beats from Dr. Luke and Diplo.
– Born in Kosovo, she was named after Rita Hayworth, a favorite of her late grandfather, film director Besim Sahatci.