Unlike Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj insists her over-the-top costumes are just for show.
"I'm definitely playing a role. I'm an entertainer, and that's what entertainers do," the 26-year-old rapper tells the March issue of BlackBook. "That's what people pay for. They don't pay to see me roll out of bed with crust in my eyes, and say, 'Hey guys, this is me, authentic.' They pay for a show."
Often criticized for her theatrical looks, the Trinidad and Tobago born musician says she never imagined her colorful ensembles would become such a hot topic.
"When I started doing all that weird stuff, I never thought in a million years that it would mean more people would start listening to my music," she says. "It was basically a 'f*** you' to everyone who told me what to do and who to be."
Still, Minaj -- whose debut album, Pink Friday, debuted at No. 1 last November -- understands why her avant-garde style sometimes gets compared to the "Born This Way" singer, 24.
"We both do the awkward, non-pretty thing. What we're saying -- what I'm saying, anyway -- is that it's okay to be weird," Minaj explains. "And maybe your weird is my normal. Who's to say? I think it's an attitude we both share."
"I've already given my fans so much," the fashion chameleon adds, "but the expectation is to go higher and higher. And when I've done that, I'm expected to go a little bit higher."