Nicki Minaj might be a larger-than-life extroverted pop star these days, but she’s had to overcome some seriously self-esteem damaging battles to get there. The singer was looking typically outrageous on the cover of Teen Vogue this week, but the accompanying interview saw the current American Idol judge open up about getting bullied at school.

“Every time my parents fought, my mother would have us move and I would have to go to a new school, which meant I'd have to face the task of making new friends,' she told the magazine of the circumstances that led to it. “I dreaded it. I had butterflies in my stomach each time: Are people going to like or hate me? Will they talk about me?”

Bullying came her way to the extent that her older brother sometimes had to get involved: “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 said. “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?’” Minaj would stand her ground though, “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.” She also found humor helped her get through the troubles “I was a jokester. I let everything roll off my back,' she said. “I always felt like I had other things going in my life outside of school, like church and extracurriculars—I was even on the softball team.”

Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj hasn't always been so popular...