Nine months after Rihanna was beaten by ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, she's at last speaking up about her ongoing healing process, in the December issue of Glamour. She says the "media chaos" that immediately followed the February attack made her feel like tabloid fodder.
"I went to sleep as Rihanna and woke up as Britney Spears. It was like, 'What, there are helicopters circling my house? There are 100 people in my cul-de-sac? What do you mean, I can't go back home?' "
Rihanna, 21, says one of the toughest parts of the past year was dealing with the widely circulated photo of her badly bruised face that leaked onto the Internet.
"That is not a photo you would show to anybody," she says. "I felt completely taken advantage of . . . like people were making it into a fun topic . . . and it's my life."
She says the past year has been a source of growth and strength.
"I am stronger, wiser and more aware. You don't realize how much your decisions affect people you don't even know, like fans."
"I've put everything I've wanted to say for the past eight months into my music," she says.
While she's already a fashion and music icon, Rihanna says she'd like to be a heroine of another sort.
"The positive thing that has come out of my situation is that people can learn from that. I want to give as much insight as I can to young women, because I feel like I represent a voice that really isn't heard. Now I can help speak for those women."
The singer has already released the power ballad "Russian Roulette" off her fourth album, "Rated R," due in stores Nov. 23. She'll be honored at a Carnegie Hall ceremony on Monday.
Rihanna will speak more about her life with Diane Sawyer on tomorrow's "Good Morning America."