A week ago, Nicki Minaj was involved in an altercation in a Dallas hotel. According to an incident report, the argument escalated in Minaj’s hotel room; when her companion tried to leave, he pushed Minaj away by, um, physically shoving his suitcase into her face. (She suffered a fat lip, CNN said.)
Granted, the Dallas police made a few errors in their report—they got the name of Minaj’s assailant wrong, for one, and they can’t even spell “Los Angeles”—but one deet is a bit more anomalous than all the rest. Ready for it? Nicki Minaj was born in 1982.
That lends credence to the old rumor that Nicki Minaj has been lying about her age: a lot of skeptics, including Lil’ Kim, have long doubted Minaj’s claim that she was born in 1984. (The police report carries so much credibility, somebody has already updated the Wikipedia page to reflect that Minaj is not 26, but 28.)
Yep. Nicki Minaj has finally been outed as an old woman.
I’ll tell you why: Women in their mid-to-late 20s are obsessed with being 24 again. And what’s wrong with being 28, you ask?
There’s actually a harrowing study that reemerges once every couple years, reporting that women do in fact feel old at 28. Put simply, it’s the magical age where, overnight, women go from feeling young to feeling like their lives are over.
Worse, the fear of 28 is a cultural permeation. In an infomercial hawking skin cream Heidi Klum capitalizes on that fear, warning, “I would say that my skin began to change from 27 upwards.” Even American Idol has a contestant age cap of 28 (raised from 24!), because we all know that if your career begins any later than that, you don’t stand a chance. You’re just “too old.”
For my own part, on my 26th birthday (and for every birthday to come) I started describing my age as “the wrong side of 25.” If I were to return to grad school tomorrow, I’d be even more reticent about my age, terrified of some sweet young 22-year old calling me “such an inspiration.” If my music career started tomorrow (what? I don’t know), I’d probably just lie about my age outright.
Was Nicki Minaj ever really obligated to be forthcoming about her age?
Personally, I don’t think so. I’ll put it this way: Onika Maraj, at the ripe old age of 28 and after years of hard work, is a relative latecomer to the music biz. Her insecurities are valid, unfortunately; she’s competing for Lady Gaga‘s audience, here.
And you can make the case—easily, I think—that Onika Maraj is only the actress and performer who plays Nicki Minaj, and that Nicki Minaj, in turn, is a loud, rambunctious, rainbow-haired fictional character, forever 25-ish.