Skip to main content

The best music videos take inspiration from unexpected places. For example, Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” video was partly inspired by iconic model Naomi Campbell. Lipa saw a deeper meaning in one of Campbell’s advertising campaigns and she incorporated some of its imagery into the “New Rules” clip. Lipa’s choreographer revealed how “New Rules” was meant to empower women.

Dua Lipa felt a Naomi Campbell ad showed female strength

What makes the “New Rules” clip so fascinating is its choreography. The music video depicts Lipa surrounded by female friends. Through a choreographed dance routine, Lipa’s friends prevent her from returning to a bad ex-boyfriend. In a music landscape where fewer and fewer superstars know how to dance well, the “Hotter than Hell” singer did a routine on a par with Michael Jackson at his best.

During a 2019 interview with The Cut, the “Cold Heart” singer discussed the idea behind “New Rules.” “I had saved pictures on my phone to use as reference points for the video,” she said. “There was an image I’d saved of Naomi Campbell in the ’80s — I think it was a Versace campaign — where she is basically holding another girl on her back. I loved the idea of girls looking after each other like that, holding each other, that sense of humility, that sense of strength.”

The choreography from Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’ was meant to be feminist

Henry Scholfield was the director of the “New Rules” music video. He gave fans insight into Lipa’s intentions. “She said she wanted to do something with girls whispering in each other’s ears,” Scholfield said. “So we worked to bring that narrative of togetherness and empowerment into our choreography.”

Scholfield took an artistic approach to the video’s camera work. “The camera is always dancing with them,” he said. “You as the observer must be right in there. It can be difficult to get that seamlessness as a director, but once you imagine that the camera is just another dance partner, it becomes much easier. Long takes work well for that because then you’re not always breaking the flow.”


Why Dua Lipa References Harry Houdini on ‘Radical Optimism’

‘New Rules’ didn’t do much for its parent album in the United States

“New Rules” was Lipa’s first big hit in the United States. It climbed to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for a total of 48 weeks. It’s still one of her biggest hit songs in the U.S. The tune appeared on her record Dua Lipa. The record reached No. 27 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 97 weeks. The fact that the album didn’t reach the top 20 after producing a big hit like “New Rules” is a bit surprising, but Lipa proved she had staying power on the American charts.

The Official Charts Company reports “New Rules” was even more popular in the United Kingdom. There, the tune peaked at No. 1 for two weeks. It remained on the chart for 66 weeks altogether. Meanwhile, the album Dua Lipa reached No. 3 in the U.K. and spent a total of 354 weeks on the chart.

“New Rules” is one of the best dance songs of the 2010s and its brilliant music video took the song to a whole other level.