Nicki Minaj knows what it's like to have a tough time growing up.
"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 recalls in the new June/July issue of Teen Vogue. "I dreaded it. I had butterflies in my stomach each time: Are people going to like or hate me? Will they talk about me?"
She had no choice but to find a way to survive. "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 reveals. "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."
The "Super Bass" singer also developed other techniques to cope with her haters and make the most of her situation: "I was a jokester. I let everything roll off my back," she says. "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," she says.
That independent attitude continues to serve Nicki well in the often harsh music industry. “People treat this business like it’s high school," she says. "It can absolutely feel like one big popularity contest, and you know what? I can’t be bothered. I can’t allow myself to play ridiculous games with grown adults in the industry. I can’t be nice to someone just because they’re hot right now. I can’t do it.”
How do you cope with bullies? Tell us your best tactics in the comments section or on Twitter @OKMagazine