Rita Ora is a British singer and actress who got recognition through DJ Fresh’s single, ‘Hot Right Now’, in which she was the main vocalist.
She got the attention of Jay-Z, whose record label released her debut album ‘Ora’. She took the music industry by storm after her singles topped the charts in the UK one after another. She has appeared as a judge in a number of talent shows in the UK and the US, such as, ‘The X Factor’ and ‘America’s Next Top Model’.
She is also an actor who is a part of the ‘Fifty Shades’ movie franchise. After entering UK as a refugee, she rose to fame through hard work and perseverance. Ora, whose family faced oppression when she was young, is a philanthropist and an advocate for women’s rights. She has participated in many fundraisers and charity concerts for various causes. She has also endorsed top brands like Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola and Samsung, and has been the face of Madonna’s clothing line ‘Material Girl’. She signed a new record deal with Atlantic Records in June 2016.
Rita Ora was born on 26 November 1990 in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia, which is now Kosovo. When she was one year old, her Albanian parents, Vera and Besnik Sahatçiu, fled Kosovo and moved to UK at a time when Albanians were being oppressed by dictator Slobodan Milosevic.
Her father is an economist and pub owner, while her mother is a psychiatrist. She is the granddaughter of one of Yugoslavia’s most prolific film directors, Besim Sahatçiu. Her maternal grandfather, Osman Bajraktari, was a diplomat.
Her birth name was Rita Sahatçiu, but her parents later added “Ora” to their family surname as it was easier to pronounce. She was named after Rita Hayworth, the favorite film star of her grandfather. She has an older sister, Elena, and a younger brother, Don.
Growing up near Portobello Road in West London, she attended St Cuthbert with St Matthias CE Primary School in Earls Court. She graduated from Sylvia Young Theatre School, a specialist performing arts school. As a child, she used to listen to her father’s record collection and was influenced by artists like Blondie, Hendrix, Prince, Earth, Wind & Fire and Celine Dion. However, according to her, Gwen Stefani and Beyoncé influenced her the most.
Rita Ora was in a relationship with Calvin Harris from May 2013 to June 2014. She started dating Richard Hilfiger in July 2015, but this relation, too, ended in about a year. Her mother is a Catholic, while her father is a Muslim. Ora considers herself spiritual, rather than religious.
In December 2015, she got involved in a dispute with her record label, Roc Nation. She filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the company, in response to which the company filed a counter lawsuit next month. They eventually reached a settlement in May 2016.
She considers herself a feminist and has performed at the ‘Chime for Change’ charity concert in London, which was about female empowerment. Ora, who is a philanthropist, has performed as a special guest many times to raise money for cancer research or to fight Ebola crisis.