Say what you want about this girl, she’s a trendsetter. There’s probably not one teenage girl who doesn’t know one of Nicki Minaj’s songs from beginning to end without skipping a beat! When she first revealed herself to the world, many people thought she was an overdone Lil’ Kim or a puppeted gimmick that would come and go like many rappers but this girl hasn’t gone anywhere but up!
Who know this “black barbie” would go from underground to mainstream to American Idol and now the cover of Teen Vogue? In the June/July issue of the magazine, the colorful Minaj explains why she feels the entertainment industry is much like high school!
“People treat this business like it’s high school. It can absolutely feel like one big popularity contest, and you know what? I can’t be bothered. I can’t allow myself to play ridiculous games with grown adults in the industry.”
She grew a thick skin, she says, because she didn’t have the choice not to. “I encountered jealous girls a lot—it wasn’t like I had nice clothes, so they couldn’t be envious of that, but they were like, ‘You shouldn’t be that confident,’ ” she reveals. “Sometimes, if I felt like there was a physical threat, I would call my older brother and say, ‘Can you meet me after school because I don’t know what might happen?’ Sometimes there’d be a fight, sometimes not. I let people know I wasn’t going to be pushed around. What it came down to is that the bullies wanted me to bow down to them. And I just wouldn’t.”
Eventually, Nicki created her own strategy for dealing with haters: “I was a jokester. I let everything roll off my back,” she says. “I always felt like I had other things going in my life outside of school, like church and extracurriculars—I was even on the softball team,” she adds with a laugh. When Nicki began freshman year at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, the famed New York City performing arts institution, things finally clicked into place. “It was the first time I felt like I really fit in. Everyone there was creative,” she says. “For once, I didn’t feel like there was something weird about me.”