Years before she conquered hip-hop as Nicki Minaj, Onika Maraj studied drama at the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Queens. But even if her career goals were different, her scene-stealing intensity was the same. Thanks to British TV series You Saw Them Here First, fans can check out a brief – and borderline destructive – acting performance from the rapper’s high school days.
The clip finds the erstwhile actress playing an intense scene with a classmate, demanding her attorney “call that judge right now and tell him I can have my baby back!” She ends the interaction with an apparent ad-lib, throwing a telephone at her acting partner. Later, she showcases her skills for New York’s agents and casting directors.
Her path toward film stardom may have been unconventional, but it eventually paid off: Minaj made her big-screen acting debut this year in the romantic comedy The Other Woman. (However, the film itself earned widely negative reviews: Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers included it in his April Scum Bucket round-up of the month’s worst flicks.)
Minaj recently looked back toward her early days during an appearance on The Tonight Show. Though she was there promoting her newly released LP, The Pinkprint, host Jimmy Fallon embarrassed the performer by bringing out some of her high school yearbook photos. The rapper also talked about her time pursuing an acting career – and the odd jobs she held before breaking in as a musician. “I was an office manager, and I would kind of call out any time I wanted,” she noted, also mentioning her shaky performance as a waitress.