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THE EYES HAVE IT: Rihanna's naturally green eyes are the most Googled in the world amongst black celebrities.1,900 fans per month type the term “Rihanna eyes” into their browsers. Above; the Covergirl cosmetics brand capitalised upon the curiosity surrounding the music star's eye color with a series of bold TV commercials and print ads.

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GREEN ROOTS: Music star Rihanna's naturally green eyes are more than likely the result of having European ancestors on both sides of her family who possessed the gene for this color. Her father Ronald, (middle picture), is of Barbadian and Irish heritage, while her mother Monica, (above), is Afro-Guyanese.

What Is Music Star Rihanna's Real Eye Color? Does She
Wear Color Contact Lenses? 50,000 Fans Ask Google

THE GREEN EYED GIRL: Many of Rihanna's fans online around the world are not sure what her real eye color is. Some assume that the music celebrity and girlfriend of singer Chris Brown wears color contact lenses to turn brown eyes to green, unaware that people of African genealogy can develop green and blue eyes naturally, either via a genetic mutation or by having European ancestry on both sides of the person's family.

THOUSANDS OF RIHANNA FANS assume she is wearing color contact lenses, as they are unsure how someone
of African descent can have green eyes. But green and blue colors do occur naturally. By Ben Arogundade.

Google+

50,000. THAT IS the approximate number of global Rihanna fans who type online search queries about the music star's real eye color into their Google browsers every year. But why?

The answer is partly to do with her overall popularity as a celebrity, as the world's biggest stars also tend to have the biggest search numbers on a variety of beauty-related subjects.

The other reason for the popularity of Rihanna's eyes is racial. Many are unsure how a person of African ancestry can possess eyes that are not the more ubiquitous natural brown color. As a result, some assume that music celebrity's real eye color — green — is actually fake, and that she wears color contact lenses to turn brown eyes to green. In fact, 2,500 people Google the question, “Does Rihanna wear contacts?” somewhere around the world each month.

HOW RIHANNA'S GREEN EYES HAPPEN
The truth is, green and indeed blue colored eyes do occur naturally within people of African genealogy. Genetically, there are two reasons that explain why:

Genetic mutation
If a person with non-brown eyes has no Caucasian ancestry, it is possible that one of their key eye color genes has mutated, creating another color. Incidences are rare, but do occur. Ocular albinism is a form that occurs mostly in men, and happens within eyes that do not make melanin — the substance that gives skin, hair and eyes its natural color. A person’s eye color is determined by how much pigment they create within special cells called melanocytes. Someone with no pigment production, for example, will have blue eyes, whereas someone with a little will have green eyes, and someone with high concentrations will have brown eyes.

Caucasian ancestry
People of African ancestry who have Caucasian relatives on both sides of their family, such as actress Vanessa Williams or Tyra Banks, are more likely to have non-brown eyes. Each forebear needs to be a carrier of the gene for these colors. For example, two people of African ancestry, both of whom have brown eyes, can produce a blue-eyed child if they both carry that gene somewhere within their heritage.

BLACK PLUS WHITE EQUALS GREEN
In Rihanna's case, both parents have the green-eyed gene within their European ancestry, which has its roots in the days of colonialism and slavery. Her father, Ronald Fenty, is a Barbadian of Afro-Irish heritage — the Irish came to Barbados in 1648 — while her mother Monica is Afro-Guyanese. Guyana, off the northern coast of South America, has been colonised by Europeans since 1616. Green eyes are very rare in the human race, appearing in only two per cent of the population.

Rihanna's global fame, and fans fascination with every aspect of music celebrity's life, has brought the genetic legacy of her green eye color into sharp focus. One can only guess as to the exact details of the back story of her ancient family history.

BLACK BEAUTY by Ben Arogundade is out now.

*RIHANNA'S GREEN EYE COLOR ACCORDING TO GOOGLE SEARCH

3,100

The number of people worldwide who Google the phrases, “Rihanna eye color”, and “Rihanna eyes” each month.

210

The number of people worldwide who Google the phrase, “Rihanna green eyes” each month.

200

The number of people worldwide who Google the phrase, “Rihanna contact lenses” each month.

*All figures for “Rihanna's Green Eye Color According to Google Search”, supplied by Google. Stats include global totals for laptop and desktop computers and mobile devices.

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MOST VIEWED SECTIONS

THIS MONTH'S PICK

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ORIGINAL NICKI:
Find Out What 180,000 Fans Want To Know About Her Origins

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18,000 ASK GOOGLE: What Is Beyoncé's Real Eye Color? Does She Wear Color Contacts? Get The Story.

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NEXT: RIHANNA'S LINK WITH OLIVER CROMWELL

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ENTER THE EAST:
The World's Top 10
East Asian Models According To Google Search:
NEW NO.1

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ABOUT BEN AROGUNDADE

BEAUTY HISTORY & CULTURE

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