Since Nicki Minaj made her debut at the
MTV Video Music Awards in 2010, one thing is for sure: There’s simply nobody doing it quite like her. Seldom one for subtlety, the rap star’s style is anything but understated. She’s all about loud colors, even louder prints, and eye-catching embellishments. At the 2022 VMAs, she donned two different hot pink ensembles: a floor-dusting gown, and also a miniskirt.
Minaj, who served as co-host this year and performed a medley of hits, has been serving the
Barbiecore aesthetic for years — see her 2017 VMAs ’fit — way before Valentino's fall ’22 collection and stills from Greta Gerwig’s upcoming leaked. The 39-year-old has consistently rocked the color, and has even referred to herself by the doll’s name. Barbie movie
Even when she goes for a more muted palette, like black or navy, you can invariably count on her look to be equipped with strategic cut-outs and/or covered in sequins or glitter.
Below, reminisce on Minaj's best VMAs outfits through the years, from red-carpet rhinestones to on-stage umpiring.
Full-On Barbie, 2022 Arturo Holmes/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
When Minaj hit the stage to receive Best Hip-Hop Artist at the 2022 awards, she went full-on Barbie in a dramatic hot pink satin Dolce & Gabbana gown, featuring an embellished bodice, and accessorized with matching hair, nails, shoes, and plenty of bling, naturally.
Sweet In Watermelon Pink, 2022 Arturo Holmes/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The same evening, she dazzled in another pink look during her
Vanguard Award acceptance speech. She paired a holographic diamond cut-out top with a flouncy pink ombre miniskirt, adorned with pearls. She completed the ensemble with a baby pink latex bow and pink-laced black combat boots. A Sheer Swimsuit Gown, 2018 Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
She chose a neutral-toned number with a sheer tulle skirt for the 2018 VMAs. The Off-White creation, which she styled with clear PVC sandals, looked like something of a hybrid swimsuit gown. It’s the knee-length pigtails for me, though.
Bubblegum Latex, 2017 Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Who could possibly
forget her bubblegum pink latex jumpsuit back in 2017? An assortment of shiny jewelry and tricolor platform booties featuring a cut-out vamp design pulled the look together. An Uber-Chic Umpire, 2017 AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty Images
Later that night, the rapper performed in a glossy referee-inspired ’fit, designed with a bold plunging front, a pleated micro miniskirt, and thigh-high boots. Love the whistle as an added touch, personally.
Regal In Royal Blue, 2016 picture alliance/picture alliance/Getty Images
In 2016, she opted for a semi-sheer navy blue gown with sultry cut-out detailing. Please note her clutching the backdrop as she poses. She, and this dress, are everything.
Going For Gold, 2015 Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images
Minaj’s golden gown at the 2015 awards was particularly glamorous. The metallic sequin-covered dress was, again, quite sheer, with a plunging neckline and intricate embroidery.
All Things Anaconda, 2014 Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
During her Anaconda era (courtesy of her 2014 album,
The Pinkprint), Minaj hit the MTV red carpet in a silver-and-gold, animal-print sequinned dress, paired with off-white platform pumps. A New Take On The LBD, 2014 Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images
After the show, Minaj posed for photos in this black velvet number, which she styled with glittery black and white peep-toe stiletto booties. It's giving
“Feeling Myself.” A Rhinestoned Catsuit, 2012 Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images
At the 2012 VMAs, Minaj rocked a black lace catsuit featuring a red rhinestone design, which mimicked the appearance of a corset and ran the length of her legs. She finished the look with fishnets, embellished platforms, a highlighter-yellow wig, and a BDSM-inspired top hat.
Kaleidoscopic Can-Do, 2011 PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images
For the 2011 awards, she arrived in this Harajuku-inspired look, complete with a pre-pan face mask and ice cream cone necklace. One-of-a-kind vibes, ya know?
Get Even More From Bustle — Sign Up For The Newsletter
From hair trends to relationship advice, our daily newsletter has everything you need to sound like a person who’s on TikTok, even if you aren’t.
Subscribe to our newsletter >