Nicki Minaj is stripping down in the pages of ELLE. The queen of the Barbz trades in her colorful wigs, makeup, and eccentric wardrobe for a more natural look in the magazine’s April issue.
The rap diva struts for the camera in some designer threads including a Jeremy Scott bathing suit, Dolce & Gabbana bustier, and leather Tom Ford jacket. Inside the issue, she talks about her dramatic “make-under,” being bullied as a child, her advice to women, and plans for world domination.
On her “make-under”: “To go in front of the camera, without pink lips or big ol’ crazy lashes—you know, nothing—I felt naked. It was scary! So this photo shoot was a real accomplishment in my eyes.”
On being bullied as a child: “I went through a lot of bullying early on. Girls made my life a living hell. We had come to America from a different country. My brother and I had accents. It was very tough. So I’ve always put up this wall—it was a self-defense mechanism growing up—because I was almost expecting people to attack me. And I still have it. It’s sad.”
Her advice for women: “My advice to women in general: Even if you’re doing a nine-to-five job, treat yourself like a boss. Not arrogant, but be sure of what you want—and don’t allow people to run anything for you without your knowledge. You want everyone to know, Okay, I can’t play games with her. I have to do right by this woman. That’s what it’s all about.”
On her plans for world domination: “My goal in the beginning was to buy my mother a house. Now I realize, Okay, if I really focus and become a key player in business, then I can build an empire. I’m thinking of a legacy that I can be proud of and wealth that my grandchildren can use to go to college. So world domination—in terms of providing for my family—is absolutely my goal.”
Read the full interview in the April issue, which hits newsstands March 18. See more pics from her fashionable shoot below and watch Nicki go one-on-one with herself in a behind-the-scenes clip.
Photo credit: Thomas Whiteside/ELLE