Exclusive Interview

Nicki Minaj Explains Her Pre-Fame Job at a Phone Company

The 'American Idol' judge says faith in God helped her continue to chase her hip hop dreams
November 29, 2012

It's hard to imagine Nicki Minaj dealing with angry customers calling about disrupted phone service, but that's exactly what the American Idol judge did before becoming famous.

"I was doing customer service," she says about her last pre-fame 9 to 5 job, before laughing and adding, "I was a bit snappy. I was working for a telephone company, and every day I had to deal with businesses whose phones weren't working and they were spazzing out. I'm like, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!' It was a lot."

When she finally stopped working, her music career didn't take off right away, which made Minaj question her decision to quit the phone co. gig. "When I moved out of my mother's home on my own, I remember thinking, 'What am I doing?'" she says. "I remember someone telling me that it wasn't going to work. They said, 'You're living a fantasy. You need to go back to your 9 to 5 job.' I went home and looked in my refrigerator and cabinets, and there was nothing there. My bank account was empty. For a slight moment, I was like, 'They're right. I need to go back home to my mother. I need to get another 9-5 and forget this music thing.'"

Thankfully for hip hop fans, she persevered. "I think it was faith in God that got me through," she says. "I would always speak to people who would encourage me. That's what always got me through. I always believe that any and everything is possible if you really believe and do the work."

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