What would a Nicki Minaj clothing line look like? As with most adventurously dressed stars, people can’t help but assume that she will release one eventually. And Minaj has made it clear she’s an expansionist, already taking on a series of ambassador roles to a number of mega fashion and beauty brands. On the cusp of breakout fame in 2010, Minaj predicted to Rolling Stone that she would be heading her own clothing line within “five years’ time.” That achievement may come much sooner: according to her manager Cortez Bryant’s recent interview with The New York Times, the singer’s designer dreams are already nearing fruition.
Minaj hopes to “negotiate a deal with a fashion house, so [she] can sell her own line of clothes,” said Bryant, calling it a major priority for the performer. In a stragetic shift within the singer’s managerial setup: last year, Bryant was brought on board, along with other key industry players, to help position Minaj prominently within the style sphere. A spate of front-row Fashion Week appearances, key fashion covers, and her H&M and Versace performance and televised Victoria’s Secret gig suggests 2011’s publicity blitz worked its magic. In 2012, she raises the stakes and will be taking over for Lady Gaga as MAC’s Viva Glam Ambassador.
Minaj’s keen interest in fashion permeates her overall media impact, with proudly style-obsessed lyrics that salute Vogue editrix Anna Wintour and headspinning red carpet ensembles that never fail to generate discourse (both good and bad, depending on which side of the blog spectrum you fall). Her songs would make great titles for spunky fashion editorials; suitably, a Pink Friday-themed line of nail varnish for OPI is in stores now. Minaj compares herself favorably to a Harajuku Barbie (playing off Lil’ Kim’s “they call me Black Barbie” verse in 2001’s cover of “Lady Marmalade”), while last month, Mattel turned the singer into an actual Barbie.
For Minaj, fashion is a mandatory complement to her music and a craft she’d like to hone into a career of its own. Her own audacious stylings suggest she won’t be producing looks for the faint of demeanor. But even if the extrovert drifts behind the scenes soon to create a new breed of wardrobe mischief, she’ll still be very much in the public eye. On “Muny,” the song where she imagines herself conversing with Vogue, Minaj makes her intentions clear: “Ayo, Anna Wintour, I’mma need that cover, baby girl.”