For the publication’s December cover story, Minaj, 40, did a wide-ranging interview on several topics including the process of writing, recording, mixing, and re-mixing Pink Friday ahead of its December 8 release.
According to Onika, she is not “mean” as some people have alleged her to be, because that’s not who she is at her core. Instead, the rapper admits that she can have passing “b***” moments.
“When I hear the word mean, I think about the core of who the person is,” said Minaj. “I always tell people that the difference between being mean and being a b*** is that b*** passes. B**** comes and goes. Mean is who you are. I could be the biggest b***, at the height of my b***-ness, but if the person I may be cussing out at that time needs something from me, I’m going to give it to them. I have to be able to look in the mirror and be okay with myself.”
She also went on to emphasize that further while filming the famed “73 Questions with Vogue.”
“What is the biggest misconception about you?” she was asked.
“That I’m mean,” Minaj answered.
See more Nicki Minaj for Vogue below.
“Because I’ve known my husband for so long, there’s an ease we have with each other,” she explains. “We make each other laugh. We’re silly. And we’re always reminiscing about some old story. If it was a guy that I met as Nicki Minaj, I think I’d feel like they liked me because I’m Nicki Minaj, and what if I don’t look like Nicki Minaj every day? And that, combined with pregnancy, would probably have made me crazy.”
Marriage and motherhood promised to be escapes, after all, from Nicki Minaj the brand.
“I think that deep down inside, I believed that once I had a family, I would just lose the desire to make music,” she says. “I would always tell people, ‘Watch, when I have a child I’m going to cook every meal for him and bake cookies every day.’ Maybe subconsciously I hoped my focus would just be on being a mother, and I looked forward to that idea. It felt like a relief. But what happens is that you find out you have to work.”
On motherhood and the stress it put on her marriage:
Minaj has not publicly revealed the name of her son, whom she prefers to call Papa Bear. She and Petty navigated his infancy with no help whatsoever save for an occasional brief visit from a grandparent. She never felt so exhausted in her life, even on her three world tours. She remembers the atmosphere of commiseration that pervaded her marriage at the time.
“I’m not going to lie, things got testy between us,” she recalls. “Because of our history, I think we knew we’d get past it. But there’s no such thing as confidence in parenthood. I kind of wish that someone had told me—although I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to understand it—that there’s a level of anxiety, and you think it’s going to go away, but in fact it gets scarier. So often you think: I don’t know how to do this!”
On mom guilt:
“Well, if I’m going to have mom guilt regardless, I might as well continue doing the only thing I know how to freaking do, which is make music.”
On body positivity:
“I just looked at a video that I posted on Instagram when I was 25, and I would f****g pay to look like that right now,” she says. “But today I can say that I’m at peace with who I am and how I look. I have to say this as a Black woman, though. I’ve made certain choices for my son, to not give him sweets and candy and juices, because of illnesses like diabetes that run in our community. I’m not in favor of body positivity if it means unhealthy bodies. That’s bull. It’s not believable, so let’s stop pretending.
Recently I had to get a breast reduction, and actually I love it. I used to want a bigger butt, and now I look back and realize how silly that was. So—love your curves, and love your non-curves. There’s nothing wrong with any of it.”
Writer: Rob Haskell
Photographer: Norman Jean Roy
Fashion Editor: Max Ortega
Hair: Lacy Redway and Dionte Gray
Makeup: Raoúl Alejandre
Vogue’s December 2023 issue is available on newsstands nationwide on November 21.
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