Nicki Minaj is a born performer — but she wasn’t born with that name. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago but raised in New York, Nicki’s real name is Onika Tanya Maraj. Nicki’s just her stage name, but over time, both “Nicki” and “Onika” came to represent different parts of her personality. She calls them her alter egos, and those aren’t her only two.
Check out this video to meet some of Nicki’s alter egos and learn how they started.
Nicki’s first alter ego was actually Cookie, a nickname she picked for herself when she was younger. It was a pseudonym she adopted to help her deal with a rough childhood, and in an interview with Out.com, Nicki revealed the alter ego was a part of the first rap she wrote: “Cookie’s the name, chocolate chip is the flavor / Suck up my style like a cherry Life Saver.”
All my drama teachers in HS called me Cookie. My friend had an older sister named Cookie. she was mad pretty & fly. So I called myself that
— QUEEN (@NICKIMINAJ) June 1, 2015
As for Roman, think of him like Eminem‘s Slim Shady. In fact, Nicki and Eminem (and Roman and Slim) actually collaborated together on “Roman’s Revenge” in Oct. 2010. In the music video for “Moment 4 Life,” which came out in Jan. 2011, Martha — aka Roman’s mom — mentioned that the two boys had been sent away to boarding school together.
So what’s happened to Roman since? Well, apparently Nicki declared him dead in a radio interview back in 2014. And we haven’t seen much of her other alter egos lately, either. These days, Nicki seems to be sticking mainly to Nicki — but that doesn’t mean we’ll never see Martha or any of the others again. Either way, Nicki will always be Barbie to us.