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And though she's not everyone's favorite - Minaj tends to be one of those people you instantly embrace or don't - the 30-year-old star has a loyal fan following, not to mention her own perfume, a campaign for M.A.C. Viva Glam makeup, and a job as a judge on "American Idol." (She may or may not be returning to the singing competition next season, depending on whom you ask.)
In the new issue of Teen Vogue, the "Beauty and the Beat" singer explains how she developed the thick skin that enables her to be her authentic self, no matter what anyone else thinks.
It all began when the Trinidad and Tobago native found herself and her family moving around NYC often. As a result, Minaj became used to being the new kid in school.
"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 shares. "Sometimes, if I felt like there was a physical threat, I would call my older brother and say, 'Can you meet me after school because I don't know what might happen?' Sometimes there'd be a fight, sometimes not. 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."