From chart-topping pop singer to a major role in one of the most-anticipated films in recent history, Rita Ora is radically updating her resume in the entertainment business. She’s been a recognized name on the music scene for a few years, but has little in the form of acting credentials compared to most of the headline cast of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Rita was born in Albania but grew up in West London; her family moved to England when she was just a year old. The record has it that she was named for Rita Hayworth, her grandfather’s favourite film star (grandfather being a film director himself). However she didn’t become a child star in films as many children and grandchildren of movie industry people seem to do. Instead she began a singing career at the age of seventeen.
Information about Rita’s early career is still fairly sketchy, though more will surely be forthcoming as promotion for the movie-from-wildly-popular-book intensifies. Most of the U.K. knows her as the sultry singer whose first single “R.I.P.” came out at the top of the singles charts in 2012. Prior to that (in 2009) she had signed with Roc Nation immediately after a meeting with Jay-Z in New York. Her first album was reportedly two years in the making, but she says it was worth the effort.
Rita’s first major tour (October 2012) in the U.S. was also a huge success, though her New York concert had to be postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. In 2013 there was another highly successful tour through the U.K. – her ‘Radioactive Tour’ and by that time she had a number of hit singles including “How We Do (Party)”, “Shine Ya Light”, “Radioactive”, “Hot Right Now” and others. She’ll be releasing her second album this year.
There is not much gossip or fact so far recorded about the singer’s minimal acting credits; she appeared as a judge on Season 9 of ‘The X Factor’ , in a cameo on the TV series ‘90210’ and as a racer in the 2013 film Fast & Furious 6. Until Rita was tapped for the role of Christian’s adopted sister Mia in Fifty Shades of Grey, acting has not been her forte – unless it’s the enthusiastic, bold and bouncy persona that she exudes on stage when she’s performing.
So far about all that’s been revealed about her character in the film is that it will be “shocking” , presumably in comparison to her party girl image. All those millions who have read E.L. James’s erotic novel (‘Fifty Shades’ is the first in a trilogy) will have at least some idea what to expect of Rita’s character, but filming has been kept to closed sets and trailers have not yet appeared to give an indication.
It appears that she’s been getting along all right with her adopted (on screen) brother, as the actress who plays Christian’s mother, Marcia Gay Harden told Entertainment Weekly that Jamie Dornan (Christian) tends to break into song between takes, and “. . . he was singing a lot of Rita Ora.”
As for Rita, she has told an interviewer with Capital FM that filming was “fun” and that Fifty Shades of Grey is “. .. a great passionate movie.” She said that she loved the books, and added that everybody is going to watch the movie, even if they don’t admit it. She’s probably quite right, but meanwhile shooting is done for Fifty Shades, and Rita is back to music videos as of last sighting.