Tap open Instagram and there goes another photo of Chris Brown and Rihanna posting flicks together. Whether it’s snoozing in Bart Simpson paraphernalia or getting baked half-naked, the two lovers who sang “Nobody’s Business” spotlight their own romance better than the paparazzi.
The entire plot of their four year saga plays like a Shawty Lo reality show: too raw and uncut to turn off. Pan to the sideline though and you’ll find the unsuspecting victim: Karrueche Tran. The 5’1” biracial fashionista has become a crucial cast member of the Chrianna soap opera. Yet, she’s actually a private girl caught in a very public situation. But before you peg her as a damsel in distress, the last thing she wants is your pity. In an exclusive interview with VIBE, Karrueche recalls how she and Chris met, how her clothing “The Kill” made him her business partner and how she feels about her love life now.
VIBE: How did you come up with the concepts for your clothing line?
Karrueche Tran: Chris [Brown] wanted to do a female line for his men’s line ["Black Pyramid"]. So he asked me to take over and “The Kill” was gonna be a women’s only line but it’s actually unisex.
How long have you two been planning this?
It’s been a few months. When I first started, I pretty much thought of the name. Then from there, we started making very basic sample t-shirts, hats, beanies and socks. That’s what a lot of people saw online and on Instagram. They saw certain people wearing it, so it created this really big buzz in our very first stages. We got a little bit ahead of ourselves and we wanted to do this really awesome launch on 12/12/12, but we kinda had to slow it down ‘cause things weren’t 100% completely done. That’s why we waited.
How is the name “The Kill” representative of your life?
I was at home one day and this song “In For The Kill” by La Roux was stuck in my head, so “The Kill” stuck out to me.
Christina Milian and Chris have been seen wearing it. What kind of aesthetic are you trying to accomplish with the line?
Honestly, I’m not trying to pinpoint one group. When they see the line, I want people to feel like they can at least relate to it through one piece. It also depends on whether you’re into streetwear or high fashion.
When people first started hearing about you, you were labeled as “an aspiring model.” Are you still doing that now?
I never was an official model. I always tell people I’m not a model but I’ve done modeling. Now I’m signed with a commercial agency, so hopefully that is going to pick up but before I was just doing favors for friends who needed somebody for their lookbook.
When you took over Chris’ women’s line, was that how you guys met?
Definitely not. Him asking me to do the line was recent. We met a couple years ago.
Were you styling him at the time?
I actually happened to do a random styling job out here in L.A. and that’s how we met.
Did you anticipate that your relationship would blow up into what it is now?
I didn’t expect it at all. We were friends for a while before we started dating.
Since Chris has his own lines, what advice has he given you in terms of being the creative director for “The Kill?”
(Laughs) He hasn’t really given me advice. He completely trusts me with this line. He’s seen my designs and he loves everything so far. He definitely has my back and pushes us forward as well.
Like I mentioned before, Christina Milian has also been rocking your line. You guys seem like besties. How did you two become friends?
We crossed paths tons of times and then one time, she was just like, “Hey, how are you? Let’s exchange numbers.” Ever since then, we’ve been the best of friends. We’re just really cool. We don’t even talk about any craziness. We just have fun, have a glass of wine, and watch a movie.
Someone you’ve definitely been seen getting close to is Teyana Taylor.
(Karrueche bursts into laughter.)
Is she going to be potentially modeling “The Kill” as well?
Maybe, who knows? Teyana’s a really good friend of mine and she actually has a shoe coming out as well, so we might put something together.
Sidebar: how the heck did that New Year’s Eve kiss happen?
(Big laughs) Well, we counted down and I turned to her, said “Happy New Year” and gave her a kiss!
Good thing, too, ‘cause it went on Instagram like five times.