Normani Is Never Not Dancing

By
Photography Alia Penner
Stylist Mel Ottenberg

Published February 14, 2020

Jewelry by Versace.

After getting her start as a member of the girl group Fifth Harmony, Normani has finally been given the chance to show what she can do when the world revolves around her. Following the band’s breakup in 2018, the New Orleans native, whose full name is Normani Kordei Hamilton, took some time to recalibrate her trajectory. After collaborations with artists including Khalid, 6lack, and Sam Smith, and an opening slot on Ariana Grande’s Sweetener World Tour, she emerged last August as a fully formed pop star with “Motivation,” a throwback R&B anthem whose video featured the former gymnast powering through ferocious hip-hop dance moves, culminating in what can only be described as a basketball booty bounce. As she puts the finishing touches on her debut album, the 23-year-old singer took a minute to answer some pressing questions from the writing of Andy Warhol.

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Bralette and Panties by Dior.

ANDY WARHOL: What did you have for breakfast?

NORMANI: An acai bowl from Backyard Bowls. I have one almost every morning.

WARHOL: Do you dream?

NORMANI: No, I’m just too tired.

WARHOL: Showers or baths?

NORMANI: Showers. I’m convinced that I have early menopause. I absolutely cannot stay in a hot pool for that long, comfortably. The max is ten minutes. After that it’s a wrap.

WARHOL: Is there anything you regret not doing?

NORMANI: I could have been more vocal when I met President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. I met them during my time in Fifth Harmony, but I probably should have taken advantage of the situation a little more. I’m a shy person in general, especially when it comes to people I admire.

WARHOL: When do you get nervous?

NORMANI: When I’m preparing for something. If it’s an awards show or any type of performance that’s live, it’s when I’m in the make-up chair and getting my hair done. But once I step onto the stage, I’m all the way in it.

WARHOL: What are you reading right now?

NORMANI: I’ve been diving into my Bible a little more. I try to let that be the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning. I spend some personal time with god, and dive into the Word a bit deeper so that I’m able to have a better understanding of the things that have happened in this life.

WARHOL: Who is your dream date?

NORMANI: I don’t really have one person in particular, but I’d love to go on a triple date with Barack and Michelle, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

WARHOL: What’s the craziest thing a fan has sent you?

NORMANI: When I didn’t win Dancing with the Stars, someone made me my own mirror ball trophy.

Vintage Top and Bottoms from Versace. Shoes by Rene Caovilla.

WARHOL: When do you dance?

NORMANI: I dance 24/7. I could be having a conversation and my ass will be moving.

WARHOL: What are your beauty secrets?

NORMANI: I need to practice what I preach, but I think that it starts with drinking a lot of water and keeping hydrated, which I’m getting better at. I’ve been really struggling lately with liking my skin. I’ve suffered with acne, probably since the beginning of Fifth Harmony up until now. But recently, it’s been the worst that it’s ever been, and it’s forced me to get to know myself in other ways, versus focusing on the exterior. No amount of makeup can make me feel the best about myself when there are these freaking creatures living on my face.

WARHOL: What do you think about love?

NORMANI: I think that love is the most powerful force that exists, whether it’s in terms of relationships, the love that I have for god, or the love I get from people who don’t really know me but who support me wholeheartedly.

Bikin Top and Bottoms by Versace. Vintage Belt from Palace Costume.

WARHOL: Are you a health food person?

NORMANI: I try to eat as healthy as possible, especially because like I said, I’ve been struggling. My body has gone through so many changes. As a woman, there are many different stages that our bodies go through. Having to keep up with that in the public eye can be a lot. I try to eat the best that I possibly can. My mom is encouraging of it. We’re in it together. I don’t really eat any red meat. I was pescatarian for three years, but then I went to New Orleans and had some wings, and that changed everything.

WARHOL: What is your typical day like?

NORMANI: I wake up, get a quick bite, and go to the studio. And then I’ll be there for pretty much the whole day. Sometimes I have my workout right before I go to the session.

WARHOL: How were you discovered?

NORMANI: I was discovered on the X-Factor. I auditioned as a solo artist and got eliminated, and I was put into a girl group called Fifth Harmony. We were together for about five years, I think. Now we’re all thriving and flourishing and doing our own individual things. But I was part of one of the biggest girl groups in history, and I’m so grateful I get to say that.

WARHOL: Do you cook?

NORMANI: I don’t really have time to cook. But I’d like to believe that I could cook my ass off. I know that I could throw down. But when I get home it’s like, “Do you want to cook or do you want to binge-watch Power?”

Bikini Bottoms by Norma Kamali.

WARHOL: Are you collecting art?

NORMANI: No, but I love to collect candles. I don’t even care if they’re from Target.

WARHOL: What kind of clothes do you like?

NORMANI: I’m a sweat-suit girl. I’m always in a hoodie and my Nike slides. Sometimes I’m too comfortable. The other day I walked into the airport and this girl was like, “Oh my God, are you Normani?” And I was like, “Dammit…Yes.” And she was like, “Can I have a photo?” I said, “I would, but not today. I have my spot treatment on.”

WARHOL: Would you ever marry one of your fans?

NORMANI: A friend of mine told me this story about one of his fans becoming his girlfriend. So, I mean, things happen. You could find love anywhere. That could very well be a possibility. If the right guy comes through one of my meet-and-greets and sweeps me off my feet, then maybe. Now watch, a bunch of guys are going to come to my meet-and-greets with flowers.

WARHOL: What’s your favorite movie?

NORMANI: The Best of Me. It’s by the guy who wrote The Notebook.

Bikini Top, Bottoms, and Shoes by Versace.

This article appears in the March 2020 issue of Interview Magazine. Subscribe here.

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Hair: César Deleôn Ramirêz using Wildform at Crowd MGMT
Makeup: Rokael Lizama
Manicure: Michelle Won
Fashion Assistant: Ashling Massoumi