On Wednesday’s "American Idol," Nicki Minaj arrived nearly 15 minutes late for the live show, leaving Ryan Seacrest to explain to viewers that the “Starships” singer was caught in traffic and leaving the other judges – including an unimpressed Mariah Carey – to critique the first competitor on their own. The 30-year-old eventually showed up, but perhaps she had no time to make it to hair and makeup as she fulfilled her judging duties beneath a black hooded sweatshirt while masking her face with big sunglasses.
Despite instances of unprofessionalism on “Idol” this season – need we remind you of her curse-filled spat with Carey during auditions? – in a new interview, Minaj says she has grand ambitions when it comes to her career.
"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,” the 30-year-old tells Elle magazine. “So world domination — in terms of providing for my family — is absolutely my goal."
She also shares her advice for women on how to command respect … for those so bold as to take professional pointers from her.
“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.”
No doubt her tough attitude stems back to her childhood, which she opens up about in the interview. It was a difficult adjustment when her family relocated from her native Trinidad and Tobago to New York City when she was just 5.
"I went through a lot of bullying early on. Girls made my life a living hell," she shares. "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."
Like her toned-down look on Wednesday’s “Idol,” Minaj, who typically boasts colorful, often outrageous styles that feature everything from hot pink hair to multicolored bustiers to retro makeup, underwent a makeunder for the pages of Elle. Though this one, in which she ditched her signature pink pucker, was decidedly more glam that her hoodie and shades look on the show.
"When I saw myself with barely any makeup at, it was such a… like, I'm so, so attached to my pink lipstick, it's hard," Minaj says of the photo shoot. "I feel that it's become a part of me. 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."
Now if only she could accomplish … getting to work on time.
Read Minaj's entire interview in the April issue of Elle magazine, on newsstands March 18.
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