Rihanna handpicked them to star in the newest campaign for Savage X Fenty.
New Orleans’ Caramel Curves already had killer style, though.
.New Orleans’ Caramel Curves, an all-Black women’s biking crew founded in 2005 by Nakosha “Coco” Smith and Shanika “Tru” Beatty, has already enjoyed the limelight for a few years thanks to their head-turning, pedal-to-the-metal clothing. When the 10 active members meet on Sundays, the women dress up in strappy heels fit for a night out, rhinestone-encrusted jackets, customized T-shirts boasting phrases like “anything but basic”, and helmets sprouting with fuchsia mohawks. The color palettes are flashy: blazing hot pinks, radiating highlighter yellows, and searing nuclear greens. There is no shortage of high-wattage glamour. It was enough to catch Rihanna’s eye, and have her cast them to model in the
newest campaign for Savage X Fenty.“The Caramel Curves show the world what being a badass boss is all about, while bringing sexiness along for the ride,” Rihanna wrote via email. The women were photographed by Shaniqwa Jarvis around New Orleans in body-skimming lingerie—curve-hugging bodysuits, fishnet tights, embroidered bras, and opera gloves—alongside their prized accessory, their motorcycles. “It is just looking fab all the time,” explains Smith over Zoom about the style of her and her fellow riders. “We are always blinging and glistening. Anything sequins, rhinestones— we’re going to wear it.”
Nakosha “Coco” Smith, co-founder of the Caramel Curves.Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis / Courtesy of Savage X FentyMotorcycle riding is typically male-dominated activity and sport, making the women of Caramel Curves trailblazers to begin with. But their clothing takes things a step further. “I didn’t want to go shop for basic clothes because I didn’t dress like that. I always wore sparkly, blingy stuff all the time,” says Smith. “So that pretty much started the trend for the Caramel Curves that ‘This is our look. When you come in, be prepared to look this way. You’re gonna have to wear heels, sexy clothes, be cute. Get it together. We don’t want to look regular.’ I'm never going to look regular.” headtopics.com
Tierra “Choosy” Thomas.Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis / Courtesy of Savage X FentyShanika “Tru” Beatty, co-founder of the Caramel Curves.Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis / Courtesy of Savage X FentyThey’ve been criticized for their bold looks, especially their heels, in the past. “Whenever we post something, it’ll be, ‘The stupid girls who ride in heels. Who rides in heels and doesn’t protect themselves? Who doesn’t wear proper gear?’” says Thomas. Smith notes that the women may wear heels for their short trips around New Orleans, but more covered gear for their longer trips, which can range up to 100 miles. “We don’t want to make it sound like, ‘We glitz and glam the whole ride,’” says Smith. “Safety does matter to us. Coming home safely does matter to us.” The women stress that wearing the heels hasn’t impacted how they ride, and in fact, they take more precautions than their male counterparts. “We appreciate our bodies, like, we want our skin to be pretty. We don’t want a bunch of scars all on our skin and stuff,” says Beatty. “So that causes for us to be a little bit more cautious, too, because I don’t want to be bruised up.” Smith that for over 20 years of riding in heels, she hasn’t yet fallen. “I have been wearing heels and thank the Lord, I never fell,” says Smith. “But I’ve watched a million men fall that had no heels on, so having a set of heels can't be too bad. Maybe they need to try some heels.”
Andrea “Hoodpriss” Shepherd, President of the Caramel Curves.Dezel “First Lady Foxy” Haynes.Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis / Courtesy of Savage X FentyThe women were already fans of Bad Gal Ri, especially Smith, who already owned pieces from Savage X Fenty. “Co [Smith] is a real Ri-fan anyway, so she already has Savage underclothes and shoes,” says Beatty. “I’m a fan now, but she was a fan way before.” In fact, Rihanna, a longtime reality television show fan, recognized Smith from the time she appeared on
Bridezillas. “I did a little short video to send to Rihanna the day that we filmed [the campaign]. The lady was like, ‘Ri knows you,’” says Smith. “‘Were you on a reality show or something?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I was onBridezillas!’”Caramel Curves members, from left: Tierra “Choosy” Thomas, Nakosha “Coco” Smith, Kimberly “Karma” Gilbert, Andrea “Hoodpriss” Shepherd, Dezel “First Lady Foxy” Haynes, and Shanika “Tru” Beatty.
Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis / Courtesy of Savage X FentyWhile wearing bold clothing is nothing new for the women of Caramel Curves, they were not short on reactions from passersby while they were shooting the campaign. “They were like, ‘What the heck is going on? A bunch of ladies just passed on bikes in thongs!’” says Smith, while Tierra “Choosy” Thomas adds, “Definitely a normal Curve day!” Though, while there was more skin than usual, the women were more than comfortable in the saucy Savage X Fenty ensembles. “You could tell that they put a lot of thought into making it for plus-sized women because that’s what’s hard to find: lingerie that fits good on a plus-sized woman,” says Smith. “They definitely knew where to put material at, and where none was needed.” headtopics.com
Kimberly “Karma” Gilbert.Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis / Courtesy of Savage X FentyDezel “First Lady Foxy” Haynes.Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis / Courtesy of Savage X FentyAccording to the women of Caramel Curves, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty could not have aligned better with their attitudes and confidence. “I think that as females, we’re different. We’re always trying to make our mark in whatever we do,” says Thomas. “So coming through with heels and being those girls, it’s one of those things that we still going to make a statement every time we come home.” Smith shares the same sentiment. “When this comes out, I feel like a lot of people are going to be like, ‘I am not surprised that Rihanna picked the Caramel Curves because those girls stay fly.’”Read more: Vogue Magazine »
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