Born in Kosovo but raised in London, Rita Ora’s eclectic entertainment career began with open-mic sessions at her father’s pub. Today, the pop icon is widely known for songs like “R.I.P.” and “How We Do (Party),” as well as for collaborations with Liam Payne, Charli XCX and other hit artists.
In between, however, she’s done everything from hosting television shows and tackling big-screen acting roles, to working with fashion brands like Adidas and coaching singers on The X Factor UK and BBC’s The Voice.
In 2019, she added yet another role to her dynamic resume: chief creative partner and shareholder of Próspero Spirits. But Ora says she is “more than just a spokesperson” for the brand, which is made by Stella Anguiano, one of the first female Tequila distillers, and produced at the Don Roberto Distillery in Jalisco.
Ora took a rare breath to check in with us, share more about the project and talk about what’s coming next for her.
What are you up to right now?
It feels like I am always on the go. I’ve been really busy prepping my album and sharing my new music with fans. I recently did the Masked Singer in the UK and finished up a movie with Michael Caine that will be coming out soon, which was very exciting. I’ve also been working on expanding Próspero to the UK market. I can’t wait to have it in my dad’s pub.
What made you decide to launch a Tequila and not, say, a whiskey?
There is just something about the taste of Tequila. It’s an amazing mix of savory and sweet. The freshness and bite that it has, along with all the nuanced flavors, is what separates it, you know?
Of course, what also drew me to launching this particular Tequila was the ability to work with Stella Anguiano. Obviously, I love drinking Tequila, but it was more about collaborating with someone who is so passionate about what they do. She is so inspiring and is one of the few female master distillers in the business. In whatever medium I’m working in, I want to surround myself with the best, and there is no better partner than Stella.
What was it like to create Próspero?
The collaboration process was a great experience. Coming on board as the creative director of the brand, as well as being a shareholder, has really been a rewarding experience because I get to be so hands-on with everything. I’ve done many different partnerships before, but I felt, with this one, it was important to me to be more than just a spokesperson. I felt very strongly about investing myself creatively and financially in this spirit. In addition to working with Stella, I’ve also had the pleasure of working with Roy Danis at Conecuh Brands. He has such a wealth of experience in the spirit business, and it’s been great to work alongside him.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
At the beginning, the most challenging part was working in a whole new medium. There was a lot for me to learn about this business. I’m privileged to have some pretty great teachers.
Early on, I took a tour of the distillery in Mexico and got to sit down with Stella to discuss the creation of a spirit. We spoke about the different flavors used in our three expressions, as well as how the aging process works. Her knowledge and attention to detail is out of this world, and it has been amazing to work with both her and Roy. It’s been extremely rewarding to use my creativity in a new venture, but the most rewarding part by far is seeing people enjoy the Tequila.
What does the name Próspero mean to you?
For me, it’s all about prospering and thriving. It’s a celebration of living your life the way you want. When people drink it, I want them to toast to their accomplishments and feel the freedom of possibility in their lives.
What are you working on next?
I’m always working on something. This year, I’ve been working on my album, promoting my new single, acting in new projects, collaborating with new fashion brands and obviously focusing on the success of Próspero. This summer, I’ll be doing more festivals, too. Booked and busy—just the way I like it.
What was the most interesting part of this experience?
Being able to use my creativity in a different avenue. I was so inspired by going to the distillery, it was such an informative experience and it really set the tone for what I wanted to do as the creative director. With this campaign, I really wanted to put my personality to it, give it a fresh, fun vibe, as well as capture the authenticity of the distillery and the craft of spirit making. The tasting process was interesting as well. I had never learned how to properly taste Tequila prior to this. I always took more of a ‘knock ’em back’ approach rather than ‘slow and savor/sip.’
Do you feel like the Tequila reflects the ethos of your music?
Not sure if ethos is the right word, but what I can tell you is any project I get involved in, I always put my all into it, and watching my projects come to life gives me so much joy. Music to me is the way I express who I am and what I believe in, and I’m so grateful to do what I love for a living. The doors music has opened for me has allowed me to follow my creative visions down many different paths and explore new opportunities.
Creative expression makes me feel alive and has given me the confidence to push the boundaries in all the different industries I’ve worked in. Working as a woman behind the scenes, when there aren’t many of them, pushes me to work harder so I can pay it forward for others to thrive.
How do you typically drink Tequila?
On the rocks with lime.
Published: March 3, 2020