Gwen Stefani Harper's BazaarTerry Richardson for Harper’s Bazaar

Ever since No Doubt’s “Just A Girl” video debuted in 1995, Gwen Stefani‘s signature red lip has been emulated by fashionistas everywhere. But the inspiration behind the look wasn’t the star’s idea — it came from someone older and wiser: her grandmother.

Thinking back to her high school years, when her grandmother gave her a tube of crimson-red lip color, the singer tells Harper’s Bazaar, “I remember sitting in my ghetto, beat-up Honda Prelude, and putting on that lipstick in the rear-view mirror and being like, ‘Uh-huh, I like that. That’s the sh** right there.’ I never stopped after that.”

The glossy’s cover girl also dishes on the origin of her other style signature: her hair. According to the rocker, at 25 she spent eight hours at a salon in Long Beach, Calif., dyeing her hair platinum blonde — and she immediately loved the new ‘do. “It was like I’d unlocked the key,” she reveals. “I remember feeling like, ‘I have arrived. This is me. Finally.’”

Something else that was different in No Doubt’s early days? Designers weren’t begging to dress Stefani. “I did my own makeup, my own costumes; I did everything myself. I didn’t even know there were stylists,” the star admits.

Gwen Stefani Harper's BazaarTerry Richardson for Harper’s Bazaar

Almost two decades later, it’s safe to say the icon no longer has to create her own clothes. However, with fame has come some frustration with the media. “I hate talking about my body [all the time]; it’s ridiculous,” she says. “There is no secret: You just have to eat healthy, work out, and torture yourself!” And that statement is reason #124 why we love the No Doubt frontwoman: she’s refreshingly honest.

For more of Stefani’s interview, head to HarpersBazaar.com/GwenStefani and pick up the September issue (the magazine’s largest in its 145-year history!), on newsstands Aug. 21. Tell us: What do you think of Stefani’s signature style?

–Jennifer Cress

CHECK OUT MORE STARS WITH STYLE IN ‘LAST NIGHT’S LOOK’

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