Clad in a black, sleeveless Versace vest dress and lace-up boots, the "No Frauds" rapper, 34, took the stage at the Sunset Tower Hotel to accept the Fashion Rebel Award. She began her speech by sharing an anecdote about the time she accompanied Wintour, 67, to New York Fashion Week in 2011.
"A lot of years ago, my publicist called me and told me that someone wanted me to be their date for New York Fashion Week for three shows. I was like, 'Oh, OK,'" Minaj told the star-studded audience. "Turns out to be some really influential lady in fashion. Her name was Anna Wintour. They really needed me to sit next to her. But I want to say thank you to Anna. A lot of people gave me a shot early on in my career, and I would just like to recognize some of those people who were just amazing."
After thanking Elle, Cosmopolitan, Tommy Hilfiger and Alexander Wang for supporting her career, the "Regret in Your Tears" singer piggybacked off a statement Ashton Kutcher made earlier in the show about vulnerability in the fashion industry when he presented the Men's Stylist of the Year Award to Samantha McMillen.
"We all have insecurities," Minaj said. "I want to say, shout-out to all of the kick-ass women, not only in this room, but all around the world. You know what, we win and fail in the public eye. That's not easy to do. People think they know what it requires. People think they can do it. Everybody wants to walk in your shoes, until you put them in your shoes."
The Grammy-nominated superstar then congratulated women everywhere for their strength and confidence. "It takes guts, it takes balls to fail and to make mistakes in the public eye, and to read s--tty comments about yourself every f--king day and to still have a beautiful f--king smile on your f--king face," she said. "I love you guys so much for believing in me. I took some time off to rest, and now it's game time, bitches."
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