Nicki Minaj’s hairstylist insists she’s done with wigs: ‘She’s wearing her real hair’


When Nicki Minaj revealed her new, stunning makeunder at the MTV Movie Awards two weekends ago, I breezily wrote something about how she got a great wig. This wasn’t a racial comment to me, but merely an assumption on my part considering Nicki Minaj has worn wigs (often really crazy, obvious wigs) throughout her career, for nearly every public appearance. As I’ve said in the past, it’s almost like she was trying to be a cartoon, or a version of Lady Gaga (another woman who loves cheap-looking wiglets), complete with crappy makeup and outrageous costumes. Anyway, as it turns out, Nicki is not wearing a wig these days, at least according to her new hairstylist Oscar James, who spoke to Cosmopolitan about Minaj’s transformation. Apparently, Nicki split with her old wig guy, Terrence Davidson, and Tyra Banks gave Oscar James’ number to Nicki. This is what Oscar James has to say:

Cosmo: Can you give fans an idea of where Nicki Minaj is headed, style-wise? What have your conversations with her been like?
Oscar James: I started working with her early last year — the reason she reached out to me is because Tyra Banks had given her my number. She wanted a more toned-down look, and I think that’s why she reached out to Tyra. So I created that wavy, super-blonde hair with the dark roots — the wig. I created that to take her in a little more natural direction but still bold because she’s always been known for a little edge. But now she’s wearing her real hair. So I just follow her lead. When she would ask me, “Well, what do you think I should do?” I usually bring things that are a little more stylized because I feel like that’s who she is, but, surprising even to me, she’s been leaning toward even more natural. She wants to do less. Just less, less, less. And we talked about maybe changing the color a little and she was adventurous at the MTV Movie Awards, where we added a few extensions just to give it a little more pop. I didn’t think she would but once I did it, she loved it.

Cosmo: Did she give any reason for wanting to tone down her look?
She just told me that she wanted to tone down a little. Maybe she’s trying to reach a broader audience, I don’t know. But I’m taken aback even myself because she’s so pretty…you can really see her features. I’m just so honored to be part of this journey and I’m so happy that she chose me. She’s so beautiful. I didn’t know all that was underneath is what I’m trying to say.

Cosmo: Do you prefer the natural or the wigged out look?
For me, I prefer wigs. I can style them. I can put stuff on before I go. And then I can do whatever I want to. I can put more heat. I can put more color. Whereas with natural hair, you have to be a lot more careful and mindful. That’s a concern for me with Nicki wearing her natural hair almost everyday: It’s a lot of wear and tear on the hair. I’m trying to gradually get her back into wigs, but she’s adamant now. She doesn’t want it.

[From Cosmopolitan]

James says that they’re pulling inspirations from all over, that sometimes they’re going for more of a Dita Von Teese vibe, sometimes Sofia Loren, sometimes Marilyn Monroe, sometimes Amy Winehouse. But the gist is that Nicki really wants to move away from her cartoon image with the costumes and wigs and all. She wants to be softer and have a more understated glamour. And yes, it’s sort of shocking to see how beautiful she is once you’ve taken away all the cheap stuff.



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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90 Responses to “Nicki Minaj’s hairstylist insists she’s done with wigs: ‘She’s wearing her real hair’”

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  1. Hubbahun says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!! Good move, Niks 😀

    • Dani2 says:

      +1 I think she looks amazing.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I never realized how pretty she is before this makeover. Everything else was too distracting. She is quite a lovely woman.

      • Mimz says:

        The wigs and all the extra (admittedly horrible) stuff was a marketing strategy to put her on the limelight and make her a big star – which she actually accomplished, and then she went back to her roots. I read an interview yesterday where they asked if she would ever do another superbass, her answer: Hell no.

        Well, her sacrifice paid off. She was a clown for two or three years but now she can call herself an established artist. Something Gaga never got to understand, and this is why everyone is so sick of her.

      • Nympha says:

        She truly is stunning! I have nothing else to say.

    • I always knew she was beautiful but it’s nice to actually SEE her face. She looks amazing in that taupe-colored dress.

      • Francesca says:

        She is so much more interesting, visually, than she was before. Mire intriguing.

      • kri says:

        This girl is smart and beautiful. I like that she seems to know how and when to switch things up-I think she’s going for more acting roles along with her music. I truly like her. And that bone structure!!!!

    • boopti says:

      That’s her real hair in the top photo (mostly), but in the bottom two she has major supplement extensions (perhaps a complete fall) to make it thicker and slightly longer. Perhaps her stylist was successful in convincing her to do at least a half wig. Her hair is long, but no way near that thick and luxurious. In fact one reason it’s swooped to one side in the top is because it’s not that thick.

      • V4Real says:

        Wearing her real hair could mean that she’s not sporting those crazy color wigs. I’m sure she has extentions to add fullness but you will also be seeing her natural hair. When she wore the wigs her hair was completely concealed under them.

        Kim K wears her natural hair, it’s just a combination of her hair and extentions.

      • brionne says:

        Why do people feel the need to “out” women about their hair? There are tons of pages on Facebook of women who have grown out their natural textured hair to waist length and longer. There are also websites like the long hair care forum and black girls with long hair devoted to those who are tired of chemicals or just want to take better care of their hair. Maybe Nikkei has extensions….maybe it really is her own.

        Kim Kardashian, Britney spears, and Jessica Simpson also wear extensions aka “weave”.

      • aang says:

        Well, the extra hair is real in that it once grew from someones head. And since she bought it, it is hers.

      • Kate says:

        Brionne you’re right. I knew many are are sporting thick long hair under their weaves

    • GirlyGirl says:

      She looks great

      I hope they don’t take away her auto-tune though.

  2. Birdie says:

    She looks amazing!

  3. marnie says:

    She’s been looking more and more beautiful now that she’s going down the more natural route.

  4. MrsBPitt says:

    This is truly a wonderful transformation…she is actually stunning! I hope GaGa sees this and follows suit…I can’t even look at pictures of GaGa in her stupid costumes anymore…it was kinda cool when she first came on the scene…now it just screams desperation!

    • Not to sound like a bitch, but Gaga doesn’t have a face like Nicki’s..not even close.

      • Omega says:

        Well, I dont mind sounding like a bitch; Gaga wigs hide bits of her face that kinda sorta make her look better. She really is a very plain woman, she does need the gimmicks to “pass” in the entertainment world where lookism reigns.

      • INeedANap says:

        But Gaga has a beautiful voice. This is her on Howard Stern, live

        If she would just rely on her voice, and give up the gimmicks, she won’t need her looks either.

    • Lauren says:

      Totally agree!

      • kri says:

        Also agree on Gaga-she needs to shock us all by looking like a human, not a raver who was accidentally locked in a Joann Fabric store overnight and went crazy. I don’t think Gaga is pretty, but her looks are quite striking. Again, interesting bone structure.

    • HH says:

      I think it’s very funny because she doesn’t know what to do with her face when she can’t do those silly faces. I think she’s been going for sultry, but she comes off as bored and b!tchy. If you’re not going to smile, you need be “smizing.” Call Tyra back for some lessons.

  5. T.fanty says:

    I don’t know. I’ve never felt one way or another about her, but this pin straight hair, weight loss, cleavage, and pouting kind of feels like selling out. I think I liked it when she didn’t give a damn. Now she just looks completely generic. I mean, she’s stunning, but she’s totally conformed to a really bland standard of beauty.

    • Tapioca says:

      This^^. But if Beyonce is trying to morph into Shakira, then why let her old look go to waste?

      • brionne says:

        Beyonce has always been “a blonde bombshell”. We rarely see her natural hair or natural hair color. Nikki’ s New look has nothing to do with Beyonce. I love Beyonce but everyone doesn’t have to be compared to her or strive to be her.

      • Omega says:

        What is this, pick on black female superstars day? Beyonce was on the scene looooong before Shakira. And shes always had light colored hair. And shes always played around with either straight wigs or deep long curls. Her look never changed.

        If you must accuse someone of copycatting, and I dont see why you need to, but if you have to then Shakira copied the look. And in fact Beyonce was very playful with the resemblance when Shakira came on the scene. The video for Beautiful Liar was designed to play with the resemblance btw.

        Nikki and Beyonces looks are completely different. Or did you miss the bit where it says that Nikki is wearing her real hair?

      • DebR says:

        @Tapioca… damn it; that made me literally laugh out loud.

      • JessMa says:

        @ Omega, Shakira has actually been around longer that Bey. Shakira’s first multi-platinum album came out in 1995, whereas it was 1998 for destiny’s child. She was a huge international star before anyone even knew who Beyonce was.

      • jaye says:

        @JessMa…but when Shakira first came out, her hair was jet black. When Destiny’s Child first came out, Beyonce’s hair was brown with caramel colored highlights. I guess what I’m trying to say is that neither woman is “copying” the other.

    • minime says:

      Without offense, I think that if we refer to the time “she didn’t give a damn” we will have to go way back to the pre-surgery, cartoon like image time. She sold out to become the Nicki Minaj that the world acknowledges today. I understand some people find the cartoon-character more appealing. For my taste, she started to sing in a childish and very annoying way. I prefer to see something that seems a bit closer to the original person/singer she was. Anyway, I’m not her target audience and I’m not planning to start listening to her songs now, so probably not an important opinion 😉

    • GeeMoney says:

      I totally agree! She kind of looks like everyone else now… she’s got quite a boring, bland look going on. She’s not as attractive as she used to be. Actually, she’s kind of just average looking.

  6. blue marie says:

    Well whatever she’s doing, she looks great.

  7. QQ says:

    Is a Good Look for her BUT also, I dont buy it’s all his hair, Nope… there are pieces in there… Though most might be hers

    • BendyWindy says:

      Well, he did say he added some extensions for volume. So, it’s not all hers. Personally, while I like the more toned down look, I think she should go for more natural and toned down wigs. Dude isn’t lying about how hard daily styling, especially at the celebrity level, is on your hair. I’d hate for her to mess up a few years worth of work on growing out a healthy head of hair.

    • Rice says:

      Thank you QQ!! This dude isn’t lying. Nicki is wearing her real hair but there is some serious weave happening in there. She’s starting to look like those Basketball and Hip Hop Wives of Wherever.

  8. Sisi says:

    she looks great. Sultry and minimalistic is a good look on her

    I didn’t recognise it as her real hair either, but then I realised that I probably had never seen her non-wigged look ever before.

    The wigged pancake caricatures that are Gaga and Perry kinda creep me out . It doesn’t look good as a fulltime look. It just seems so corporate, like being a disney princess or something and being the fake face of someone elses product. It doesn’t connect to the whole artist making personal choices concept imo. Sometimes you just have to be able to be yourself, right?

    Is this the real Nicki? No idea XD

  9. Samantha25 says:

    I forgot had pretty she was. When she first came out Nicki would occasionally go natural. She’s even dressing nicely.

  10. Dame Snarkweek says:

    She, like Bieber, is searching for ways to rebrand now that their tween fan base is aged out.. Perhaps Minaj will succeed and I think the revamped look is a part of this strategy. She has some talent so at least there’s that.

    ETA – Black female celebrities are far more interesting/diverse beyond the weave talk. Kay?

    • Mena says:

      Hair talk isn’t limited to black celebs. With the white celebs it is more about the changing length and hair color, but it’s still hair talk. Anytime something is posted about Emma Stone for instance, half the comments will be about her pretty red hair. And people are always analyzing Jennifer Aniston’s hair.

    • Dame Snarkweek says:

      No hair talk is not limited to black celebs. But when commenters here talk about hair and it is about a white celeb it is usually because they chose to go off on that tangent and turn the conversation in that direction. But the main stories/headlines are about other, more broad topics. And there are not a lot of headlines about the weaves and extensions of white starlets or celebs although a snarky comment or two might make it into the article. I posted a much longer reply that didn’t post for whatever reason but I see a lot of “flattering” articles here about black celebs that mask a lot of objectification at best and are flat out negative at its worst. Very little in between, imo.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Dame Snarkweek: Your comments never fail. You’re pretty much always on the money. Thanks for expressing your opinion (which mirrors mine) so respectfully and succinctly!

      • Dame Snarkweek says:

        Sometimes I feel like I am the typical stay off my lawn old lady on these threads so your comment is so appreciated right now. And it is a thin line I am walking because CB does laud and celebrate all types of beauty and I don’t want to disparage that. But I can’t help but cringe when I know that black females will not get positive press here, for the most part.lupita was an awesome voucher here but that sell by date is approaching fast. Then what?back to the usual, perpetual Beyonce/Zoe/Halle/Rihanna/Oprah shade.

      • lrm says:

        plenty of shade on here for katy perry, taylor swift, kesha, gaga, etc. Minaj is known for her wigs and hair, similar to gaga. swift is known for her dating, perry for her ‘rack’ ahem and dating, etc. So a minaj thread would have to do with hair, regardless of the ‘trend’ you are describing. beyonce is often changing her look and playing with it as you said. She’s a world class performer and diva and her ‘look’, similar to the way madonna is commented on, will be part of that discussion. Really, I don’t think it’s just the way the media or blogs cover it, I think it’s the angle/focus the celeb him/herself chooses to promote, that gets the most attention. Nobody talks about whether or not hallee berry’s hair is real or not, last I checked. Or Zoe, whose style ppl here generally like, I think?

        Also, what celebs/stars do get across the board support here? Not very many. Drew barrymore seems to be liked. And sandra bullock. Kerry Washington and Rashida Jones also seem universally liked/respected, along with Octavia Spencer-I don’t recall threads about them being at all ‘centered’ on their hair. Most of the others, both black and white, are perpetually shaded or controversial/mixed reviews. in my experience of reading for the last several years.

        I don’t know why you are lumping all of these women into the same category (the list you gave-oprah, beyonce, berry, etc), just b/c they are ‘black’. they are all so different and not all need to be viewed the same or constantly praised… I think people rightly give oprah shade these days-but they also praise her efforts in many areas.

        btw, I love nicki minaj. always have. i like her music and something about her style. loathe rhianna. people say ‘oh let her be it’s her style’ and she says she’s not a role model, etc. well, she IS selling her style for money [or her people/handlers are], so in that case, her crafted ‘image/persona’ is fair game, just as for every other celeb, including beyonce, berry, oprah, etc along with ALL of the others-julia roberts, sienna miller, Goopy, I could on and on…i don’t know many white women celebs who aren’t dissed.

        Anyway, thanks for your substantive and thoughtful comments on this subject. Cheers!

      • Dame Snarkweek says:

        My comments easily lend themselves to misinterpretation and I guess I knew that going on but I stand behind my observations/conclusions. I do not posit the theory that only black celebs get shade on this site or that white celebs are not criticized. Nor do I suggest that any articles about black celebs should be snark free. A celeb gossip blog is not the place for warm fuzzies, imo.
        I just think that since black celebs are underrepresented, numbers wise, here it is all the more obvious that the tone/spin is negative. And I’m talking about the persistent and pervasive slant of the articles themselves which, in turn, flavor the ensuing discussions. The result is a culture of over abundant condescension and judgement that ignores the better, admirable qualities of those being written about. It happens slowly over time but it happens.
        At any rate, it is just my opinion. And at least CB keeps me from reading Bossip. *shudders*
        But, yes, thank you for the chance to discuss this further and with civility. This type of discourse is yet another reason why CB is light years ahead, imo.

    • Anna says:

      @Dame Snarkweek and AlmondJoy thank you for those comments!!!! quite often when I read comments on CB I become disheartened with what is being said about black celebs or WOC on here but you two along with QQ and a few others always seem to make up for it (in my opinion.) Its a shame sometimes cause it seems like the commenters are only following the tone of the article written on here, which is often negative.
      Anyway I completely agree with everything you said and I’m so glad you brought all this up! 🙂

    • jaye says:

      I think the make-under is strategic. I think she wants to do more acting, so she needs to show that she’s not just a cartoon-ish hip hop artist.

  11. brionne says:

    Very beautiful lady from Trinidad roots. A Caribbean beauty. Nice

  12. Mena says:

    Wearing her real hair for us black girls means she’s not wearing a full lace front anymore, now she is wearing a u part wig with some of her own hair out or a few weave tracks in the back for length. Lol I kid, I kid! Nicki has beautiful hair, and I like that she wants to give a more natural look a try. I like this make under. I have always found Nicki Minaj to be very beautiful, even when she was in cartoon mode.

  13. Tania says:

    Best decision ever!!!!!

  14. Amy says:

    Oh, she looks so, so, so, so, SO MUCH BETTER with her natural look! Without all the clown wigs and makeup, and too-tight sleazy clothing, she is actually a good-looking woman. I am impressed!

  15. Loopy says:

    She looks very nice however i still think she has a few tracks under her hair to give it some volume.

  16. Mabs says:

    I doubt that’s her hair, lol, but whatever. Her appearance is 100 times better for what it’s worth…her character’s probably another Q&A profile however.

  17. Ali J says:

    I hope she goes back to wigs. It is a better look. And done right it will protect her hair from over processing.

  18. Joy says:

    I saw her on E! yesterday and she said she had literally done all there was to do with crazy colors and styles. I prefer that realization to what Lady Gaga is doing which is desperate and kind of sad.

  19. flutters says:

    She looks fantastic! Definitely figure she’s wearing extensions but moving away from her cartoonish style and doing more to showcase her natural beauty is definitely the way to go.

  20. Inlike says:

    I love her new look. It’s so much softer. She could pull off some crazy-cool jazz music with that look .

  21. LAK says:

    i just love the McQueen dresses she´s wearing. Can you magine Duchess Kate in one of those………?

    • brionne says:

      The duchess is an attractive woman but this is not the dress for her. I can’t think of a function where a curve hugging knit dress would be appropriate on a princess and with that said, Kate has no curves for this dress to cling to. Maybe after the next pregnancy?

      • LAK says:

        Have you seen pics of Kate in her long issa dresses? She looked amazing and sexy and appropriate without scaring the horses.

        Also if you go to the McQueen site, mannequins/models are built like Kate. Nicky has killer curves, but those dresses look equally delicious on people without curves.

  22. Alex says:

    why are people acting like this is something special? wearing your natural hair? ugh.

    • jaye says:

      I don’t think it’s just about the hair, it’s about her moving away from the Nicki Minaj character she had cultivated.

  23. Kaylah says:

    Length wise it’s all hers but I think she’s added some pieces for volume. That said this is a horrible horrible decision. The reason why most people wear wigs/ extensions is to protect the hair. All the heat/colouring, etc that happens everyday from photo shoots to videos to appearances , etc will quite literally fuck up her hair. She can get darker coloured wigs.

  24. Maria says:

    She’s a beautiful example of less being more.

    She looks great here.

  25. Shiksa Goddess says:

    She looks really great these days. Although I do like the pink wigs and crazy makeup and such too.

  26. Darlene says:

    I love it! She’s gorgeous!!

    This gives us the answer to this blind item from Crazy Days and Nights:

    “What eccentric pop singer is considering dropping her alter ego for good?”

    Guesses were Gaga and Nicki Minaj. Now we know!

  27. Lucy says:

    Real hair or not, I think she looks fantastic. And she is indeed a beautiful young woman.

  28. Palermo says:

    She is really gorgeous

  29. Damaris says:

    Nicki is definitely wearing tracks. She has posted her real hair several times on Instagram and it isn’t nearly as voluminous as it is in these photos. Regardless, Nicki is looking damn good these days.

  30. Pumpkin Pie says:

    She looks very beautiful. Great skin too! I love that beige-grey? dress

  31. Lisa says:

    I think I’m developing a crush.

  32. The Original Mia says:

    Gorgeous! And yes, that’s her real hair. Look at her eyebrows. She has good hair.

    If Kim had worn that knit dress, it would have looked grotesque, but on Nicki, it looks really elegant. Love it!

  33. Mika302 says:

    It is her real hair…she actually showed a pic before it was straightened out. But she prbly has clip-ins in her hair. U can tk them out aftr ur done. A lot of black actresses have shown how much hair they have, but wear wigs and weaves for protection. Why do people think black women can’t grow long hair?

  34. M.A.F. says:

    Gosh, she looks so much better. Beautiful.

  35. Carmelita says:

    Too bad she can’t go back to her real face.

    • minime says:

      LOL right? I’m a bit surprise that everyone is acting like this is such a “natural look”. She had plenty of surgery (with all the Lil Wayne story in the middle) and created an all new persona just so she could push her career into the ultra-stars of pop. Everyone that knows some of her previous work knows that it’s completely different: from the face to the affected voice she uses nowadays. She looks great like this, but she is no role model of “natural”.

      • jaye says:

        I’ve seen her yearbook picture…she may have had her nose refined, but overall, she looks exactly the same.

    • Anna says:

      Have you not seen old pics of Nicki? LOL come on now these comments are a bit ridiculous.

  36. meryl says:

    it’s not all her real hair. her natural hair is a stringy mess. these r some heavy clip-ins.

  37. Jayna says:

    She’s smart to not ride the train she was on too long. I’m sure she will still be outrageous on stage, just not the comic book look she was rocking for quite a while. Gaga didn’t get that memo, changing four times a day in bizarre outfits just for a photo op or for her next interview. It’s overload and people are numb to it. I saw a photo of Gaga with some bizarre thing covering her face walking down the street in a photo on the way to an interview and just rolled my eyes.

  38. Elvis says:

    She looks gorgeous, but give me a break: you can see where the extensions start in every picture. They have a completely different texture. Why lie about it? Who cares? She looks great.

    • jaye says:

      The quote from her stylist states that he added pieces for volume. You can tell in the picture where she’s wearing the beige dress that at least the top half is her hair.

  39. Liz says:

    The long term effects (hair loss) stop me from trying hair extensions. Not worth it.

  40. Velvet Elvis says:

    Okay she looks UH-mazing but that is in no way, shape or form her real hair.

  41. SnarkGirl says:

    I always liked her crazy costumes and make-up because (unlike Gaga the “artist”) she never seemed to take herself seriously, she seemed to be having a laugh along with her audience.

    Nice to see her move beyond that, though, and mature. She is a lovely woman and I hope she does well in future. (and that Gaga takes notes!!!!)

  42. Andii says:

    I love her wigs I wish she did it because she capitalized on it and just stopped like nicki I love you but no.