Reporting Annie Reuter
“I would never want to be a teenager ever again,” she said. “You know, adults feel like teens don’t have problems. I know firsthand that teenagers aren’t always the nicest people. They can be cruel and tough, and they can isolate you.”
Minaj explained the difficulties she faced as a child when her family frequently picked up and moved.
“Every time my parents fought, my mother would have us move and I would have to go to a new school, which meant I’d have to face the task of making new friends,” she recalled. “I dreaded it. I had butterflies in my stomach each time: ‘Are people going to like or hate me? Will they talk about me?’”
Despite it all, she grew thick skin and her confidence never wavered.
“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 said. “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.”
Minaj may be a global sensation, but even she has to work at staying positive. While high school bullies are no longer an issue, she still has to deal with the haters who post negative things about her online.
“I used to read the bad things people said about me,” she said. “Then I asked myself, ‘Why am I reading that when I have millions of people saying great things?’ You cannot give negativity power.”
Though she has long left high school, Minaj said she hasn’t been able to completely escape it. She even likened the music business to the hierarchy of high school.
“It can absolutely feel like one big popularity contest, and you know what? I can’t be bothered,” she said. “I can’t allow myself to play ridiculous games with grown adults in the industry.”
Adding, “I can’t be nice to someone just because they’re hot right now. I can’t do it.”
Nicki Minaj’s cover of Teen Vogue hits newsstands May 21.