Rita Ora joins Fifty Shades of Grey cast: how she made the big time

From stage school to Jay-Z school, here's how she got there

Share
Related Topics

As Rita Ora has confirmed her role as Christian Grey's sister Mia in the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie, here are five things you should know about the actress/singer who’s suddenly everywhere.

Practised jazz hands

The nearest thing Britain has to Rihanna (if a bit less edgy), Ora has the voice all right - confident, controlled and well-articulated. She was born in Kosovo in 1990, her Kosovar-Albanian parents fleeing the oncoming Balkan war when she was one, and moving to West London where she grew up. Her mother is a psychiatrist and her father runs The Queens Arms in Kilburn. A student of the Sylvia Young Theatre School, whose alumni include Amy Winehouse and Billie Piper, Ora started out as an actress. Her first role was aged 14, in the 2004 British crime film Spivs in which she played an Albanian child smuggled in the back of a lorry. With her long curly brown hair, she looks almost unrecognisable as the peroxide blonde, sharp eyebrowed pop star of today.

So hot right now

The 23-year-old has collaborated with numerous stars including Craig David, Tine Tempah, will.i.am, J. Cole and DJ Fresh, and producers such as Chase & Status, The-Dream, Major Lazer, The Runners, Diplo, The Invisible Men and Stargate. Her first music release was a guest appearance on Craig David’s Awkward in 2007, then in 2009 she appeared on Jay-Z’s video for Young Forever. It wasn’t until three years later that she released her debut single RIP, featuring Tinie Tempah – and it was a BRIT-nominated No 1 hit.

No dirt on her shoulder

Ora is signed to Jay-Z’s record label Roc Nation, also home to J.Cole and Calvin Harris. Seeing that she’d be an excellent fit for the label, her manager contacted Roc Nation in 2009 and the then 19-year-old flew out to New York to meet Jay-Z who signed her within 48 hours of her arrival. Four years later she released her chart topping, platinum-selling, debut album. Add to that two BRIT nominations, a MOBO award, MTV Music Award nominations and various others, and her audition to be the UK’s Eurovision contestant back in 2009 is history.

More famous chums

Aside from having a champion in label boss Jay-Z, she also has a fan in Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Ora was picked as the support for the stadium rock band on their Mylo Xyloto tour in 2011. After their final show on the tour, they went round to Martin’s house where Ora played him her songs and the singer said which he preferred, while helping her to pick the track order of her debut album.

Raking it in

She has a number of business ventures under her belt. Rumour has it that she’s creating a new line for Adidas which would see her join the likes of David Beckham and Stella McCartney. Her make-up collection for Rimmel hits the shelves in February, while she’s been in discussion with Karl Lagerfeld in Paris. In July she took over from Cara Delevingne as the new face of DKNY. And it’s said that she and the model are joining forces to design a clothing line for Topshop.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Neo-Nazis march in London  

I'm taking my Jewish kids to a vile neo-Nazi rally in London this weekend because I want them to learn about free speech

Richard Ferrer
A police officer carries a casualty to safety  

Tunisia attack proves that we cannot stop terrorists carrying out operations against Britons in Muslim countries

Robert Verkaik
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map