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Island Spice

As her third album hits stores, pop princess and Jay-Z protégée Rihanna takes a breather in her native Barbados. Her easy, elegant summer style takes its cue from Bajan rhythms and azure waves. Let it flow. (Click below for our photo gallery of Rihanna!

For Robyn Rihanna Fenty, it seems as if it were just the other day when she was strolling about, barefoot, in her family’s backyard in St. Michael, Barbados. But a quick tally of her recent successes—the debut single “Pon De Replay,” the most downloaded song of 2005; her debut gold album, Music of the Sun; the platinum follow-up, A Girl Like Me with the hit “SOS”-reveals that it has actually been two and a half years since Rihanna has enjoyed the easy pace of island life. She hasn’t slowed down since February 2005, when she auditioned for and signed with Def Jam Recordings.

“I remember being extremely nervous because I was meeting Jay-Z, who is like a legend,” she says in her Bajan lilt. “He made it so comfortable, and he signed me that night.”

Amber-eyed and statuesque, the tomboy turned budding fashionista and newly minted Cover Girl spokesmodel is all set to release her third CD, Good Girl Gone Bad, June 5. Rihanna’s got high hopes to continue her reign over the domestic and international pop charts, saying, “I have a lot of faith in this album.” In the last couple of years, the 19-year-old has grown up, and her style is maturing as well. This year the rising star will infuse her good-girl image with a touch of glam rock. She says of her evolving look, “It’s definitely going to be different from what people are used to.” But for this brief relaxing moment in the sun, the dress code is easy elegance: attire as soft and fresh as a tropical breeze.

Check out our photo gallery of Rihanna in her native Barbados!