*Rihanna suits up as iconic Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe for the cover of the new British Vogue.

Inside, she explains how the bad-ass persona that has dominated her appearances in such videos like “S&M” is all an act.

“That’s not me. That’s a part I play. You know, like it’s a piece of art, with all these toys and textures to play with,” she tells the magazine. “See, people … they want me to be a role model just because of the life I lead. The things I say in my songs, they expect it of me, and [being a role model] became more of my job than I wanted it to be. But no, I just want to make music. That’s it.”

Rihanna added that, despite a past that included a father who reportedly struggled with substance abuse and an assault at the hands of then-boyfriend Chris Brown, she feels stronger now than ever and doesn’t feel that her experiences make her any different from the millions of others who have dealt with broken homes and domestic abuse.

“I saw too much. I was way too mature for my age,” she says. “Look, God doesn’t give any more than you can handle. I had to get through a lot of ups and downs — big downs — and a lot of trial and error to get where I am now.”