Nicki Minaj's jaw-dropping elle cover shoot
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INTRO-Elle-Nicki-Minaj1 of 19
Super Natural2 of 19
On her dramatic make-under for her ELLE photo shoot:
“When I saw myself with barely any makeup at all, 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. 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.”
Take the Lead3 of 19
Her advice for women on how to command respect:
“My advice to women in general: Even if you're doing a 9-to-5 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, OK, I can't play games with her. I have to do right by this woman. That's what it's all about.”
Power Play4 of 19
On her plans for world domination:
“My goal in the beginning was to buy my mother a house. Now I realize, OK, 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.”
Leather Love5 of 19
Assistant Fashion Editor Sarah Schussheim: "Everything was stripped-down. In Nicki's favorite shot, she rocked Ferragamo leather pants with a Jeremy Scott for Adidas bathing suit."
Birthday Suit6 of 19
Photographer Thomas Whiteside: "When the shoot wrapped, Nicki surprised one of her friends with a birthday party.
Whiteside: "Then Joe revealed the real surprise: He'd been wearing a Nicki Minaj T-shirt underneath his clothes all day. Everyone loved it!"
See more from Minaj's shoot in the April issue of ELLE, on newsstands March 26th. In the meantime, click through the slides to see the star's best looks over the years.
Pink Lady7 of 19
The singer leaves a radio studio in London donning a sky-high pink hairdo and a printed catsuit.
Wild Thing8 of 19
She steps out for her first Grammy Awards in a custom-made leopard-print Givenchy outfit and a bold pink lip.
Rainbow Bright9 of 19
During one of her performances for Lil' Wayne's I Am Still Music tour, Minaj wears a rainbow-colored ensemble with pink boots and cotton-candy-looking hair.
Code Red10 of 19
At the 54th Grammy Awards, she arrives in a red Atelier Versace cloak channeling her alter ego, Roman.
Prime Time11 of 19
The American Idol judge wears an asymmetrical color-blocked dress by Herve Leger accessorized with python Christian Louboutin pumps.
Lacy Lady12 of 19
Minaj debuts darker hair and a new fringe in a Gilber Gilmore lace dress at Fox's Television Critics Association winter press tour.
Green Goddess13 of 19
The rapper plays up her daring style in green curls and head-to-toe prints at a celebration for the Versace x H&M collection.
Glamour Girl14 of 19
Minaj performs at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in a cotton candy 'do accented by girlie prints and color-blocked Giuseppe Zanotti wedges.
Sweet Treat15 of 19
At an appearance on BET's 106 and Park, Minaj sports a dessert-inspired bra top and high-waisted fuchsia pants.
Frill Seeker16 of 19
Here, Minaj celebrates the launch of her fragrance, Pink Friday, in a multi-layered, ruffled gown and her signature pink lipstick.
True Blue17 of 19
At a press conference for American Music Awards nominees, the rapper shows off hair colored half blond and half blue. She matches the 'do with blue boots and balances her barely there top with a full printed skirt.
CheerLeader18 of 19
Minaj sits front row in a colorful outfit decorated with mini pom-poms and accessorized with green fishnet tights at the Carolina Herrera spring 2012 fashion show.
Hat Trick19 of 19
The rap star flaunts her physique in an embellished Versace jumpsuit paired with Christian Louboutin stilettos and a chauffeur-style cap.
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