Nicki Minaj Elle Cover: Singer Debuts New Dramatically Toned-Down Look [Gallery]

NEW YORK | Thursday, March 14th, 2013 10:38pm EDT

Nicki appears in Elle’s April issue with her platinum-blond tresses, but it’s immediately obvious that she’s wearing considerably less makeup than she usually does.

  • Photo: EllePhoto: Elle
  • Photo: EllePhoto: Elle
  • Photo: EllePhoto: Elle
  • Photo: EllePhoto: Elle

Nicki Minaj is on a mission to be “taken more seriously” when it comes to her style.

She looks fierce on the cover of the April edition of Elle, which did a “makeunder” that toned down her usual colorful look. Inside, she talks about childhood bullies, women in business and her plans for world domination.

Photographed by Thomas Whiteside and styled by Joe Zee, the “Starships” singer flashes some cleavage on the April cover in a Tom Ford black leather jacket with bondage like strap sleeves.

As for makeup, Minaj is rocking little to none and a “just got out of the shower” wet look for her hairstyle.

Her sleek look continued in the mag with Minaj sporting modern looks like a Jeremy Scott for Adidas bathing suit, black Ferragamo leather trousers, and a bustier made of rope.

Such transformation seemed to be a bit of a shock even for her.

However, Nicki proves that she can still be edgy and sexy without looking like a clown. Though, t could be better if  they would have given her hair a good blow dry.

“When I saw myself with barely any makeup at all, it was such a … like, I’m so, so attached to my pink lipstick, it’s hard,” she said.

“I feel that it’s become a part of me. To go in front of the camera, without pink lips or big ol’ crazy lashes — you know, nothing — I felt naked. It was scary! So this photo shoot was a real accomplishment in my eyes.”

Though she’s not exactly 100% natural in this spread (platinum-blonde hair and false eyelashes still feature), she still looks fresh and absolutely gorgeous. Minaj recently fired her stylist and beauty team in a quiet PR overhaul.

Minaj seems to be flying high – topping music charts, judging “American Idol,” creating fembot looking perfumes, and now rocking a fresh face on the cover of Elle. What more can a girl ask for?

In addition to stripping away the layers of makeup for Elle, Minaj, who has earned a reputation for her tough-as-nails demeanor, also opened up about some of the childhood struggles that shaped her life, write MTV News.

“I went through a lot of bullying early on,” she revealed.

“Girls made my life a living hell. We had come to America from a different country.”

She continued: “My brother and I had accents. It was very tough. So I’ve always put up this wall — it was a self-defense mechanism growing up — because I was almost expecting people to attack me. And I still have it. It’s sad.”

Now with all the drama and bullying behind her, Minaj is building her brand and ruling the world.

“My goal in the beginning was to buy my mother a house,” she told the magazine.

“Now I realize, ‘Okay, if I really focus and become a key player in business, then I can build an empire.’

I’m thinking of a legacy that I can be proud of and wealth that my grandchildren can use to go to college. So world domination, in terms of providing for my family, is absolutely my goal.”

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