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Amber Rose: Uptown Girl

Amber Rose—the future Mrs. Wiz Khalifa—dines al fresco on the Upper East Side, giving the ladies who lunch plenty to talk about. Photographs by Wayne Maser. Styling by Anna Shimonis. Shot at the John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman and Bistro Chat Noir.

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Manhattan’s Upper East Side received an unlikely visitor earlier this month, when South Philadelphia native Amber Rose joined the ladies who lunch on Madison Avenue. Dressed in Emporio Armani and Roland Mouret, and donning a 10-karat rock, she almost blended in with the buttoned-up bunch—only how many Upper East Side denizens met their rapper husbands-to-be via direct message on Twitter? "I DMed Wiz on Twitter after an interview where he said I was the ultimate girl, because I wanted to send him some shades. We became friends right away, and that's how it all began!"

Currently, Rose has more than 1.1 million Twitter followers with whom she engages regularly. “I get to really connect with my fans,” Rose says. “They get to see who I really am.” @DaRealAmberRose is prone to tweeting more than a handful of times a day, responding to the fans she calls Rosebuds and Rosestuds, and sharing images of her everyday life—including her daily meals. (A make-your-own taco photograph earned over 4,600 likes on Instagram at last count.)

It's clear that her fans are everywhere. On the day of her Lifestyle Mirror shoot, two young girls in a white SUV spotted her signature blonde buzz outside Bistro Chat Noir and slowed to chat, taking photos with their phones from the passenger window. Her bold personal style is unmistakable. "I cut my hair about 9 years ago," says Rose. “It’s really empowering because I hide behind nothing. This is me.”

Before 2009, when an agent cast then 26-year-old Rose as a video vixen for rappers such as Ludacris and Young Jeezy, no one knew who Amber Rose was. ­­­­Soon thereafter, she turned up at New York Fashion Week on the arm of Kanye West. Overnight, Rose went from obscurity to celebrity, signing with Ford Models (who no longer represent her), walking the runway for Celestino, becoming the face for Smirnoff’s two new vodka flavors (Fluffed Marshmallow and Whipped Cream), appearing on several TV shows, and, most recently, announcing her engagement to rapper Wiz Khalifa after a messy, buzzed-about breakup with West in 2010.

Continually defying expectations of celebrity, Rose not only grants her fans access into the life of the nouveau riche and famous, but celebrates their sexuality and welcomes them in to the party—no matter how exclusive or indecorous. And criticism of how she lives, or dresses, doesn't ever seem to faze her.

"If I want to wear a short skirt I can, and I expect to not be disrespected because I want to feel and dress sexy and not be called a whore,” Rose says. “Every woman has the right to dress as she pleases and not be judged by her wardrobe choices, and I support all women doing their thing, whether in high heels and a mini skirt or sweats and sneakers."

You can take the girl out of South Philly, but you can’t take South Philly out of the girl. —Sasha Levine

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