Photo Credit: Elle
Considering that Nicki Minaj has more than a dozen alter egos, it's hard to know when we're seeing the real her. Lately, however, it seems like the real Nicki -- or Onika Tanya Maraj, as it says on her birth certificate -- has been showing her face more often.
In a new cover shoot for Elle, the rapper literally shows her real face, wearing natural-looking makeup and neutrals instead of her usual technicolor drag. She looks fantastic -- even if she was scared to death during the actual shoot.
"When I saw myself with barely any makeup, it was such a… like, I'm so, so attached to my pink lipstick, it's hard. I feel that it's become a part of me," Minaj told the magazine. "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."
The Elle story coincides with Minaj's first few live episodes of American Idol. The first week went smoothly, but Nicki arrived a full 13 minutes late to the March 13 show. (And that's 13 minutes after the broadcast began. Who knows what time she was actually supposed to be there!) The official story is that she was stuck in traffic, but we wonder if it was a case of nerves. She did, after all, tell Ellen DeGeneres in January that she was worried about the live shows.
"I'm not looking forward to live shows," Minaj confessed. "I cannot trust myself...I don't want to look like a crazy psycho again!"
We think it's about time for Nicki to start trusting herself! Her image is so built on artificiality and theatricality, so when she reveals parts of herself that seem authentic, it makes her a lot more likeable. We certainly don't want her to stop with the wacky outfits and crazy song concepts -- we just think she's heading towards a better sense of balance. When she finally did show up to the judges' table, Minaj started doing a kooky monologue about waffles, which somehow led back to a song critique. It was pretty entertaining, and a perfect example of Nicki being her one-of-a-kind self.
Watch it below!