I tried to write this review entirely without any Nicki Minaj puns, but I ana-couldn’t-a.
Love her or hate her, you have to admit that it takes guts to do what Nicki does, including getting onstage in her exotic dancer/Barbie outfits and giving Drake a lap dance. To stand out in the mostly male hip hop business she’s thrown conventional stereotypes out the window and embraced a type of fantasy that fans have come to associate with her brand. Her songs are clever insults and sharp wits wrapped in fuzzy pink blankets of pop choruses and sexually driven music videos. She’s a commercial success, with tons of hit songs and collaborations with Kanye West, will.i.am, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and others.
Though her past is riddled with dark episodes of abuse at home, Nicki continues to rise above and make a name for herself. In the spring of 2012 she announced a partnership with New York-based Give Back Brands LLC to release a debut fragrance, with the idea that the brand would donate a portion of profits to a charity of her choice. That didn’t exactly happen, as the license was sold to Elizabeth Arden before the official launch. EA owns a wide portfolio of prestige and celebrity brands including Juicy Couture, Usher, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and Justin Bieber, which was acquired in the same deal. They proceeded to bring the fragrance, titled Pink Friday ($28.99*), to market that fall, and it did well enough to garner a successor called Minajesty, which I have here today. But did they get Nicki’s scent quite right?
The name came from none other than Perez Hilton, a blogger who has been widely criticized for, well, everything. Yet you have to hand it to the man, the title is catchy and Minajesty stuck. The bottle is an interesting representation of Nicki’s “Barbie” persona, and looks like a busty torso minus legs, arms, and frankly, proportions (joking!). The outfit the bottle wears was inspired by Nicki’s Super Bowl Halftime Show performance the previous year, with a curly pink wig and lipstick. Originally retailing for $59.50, the 100 ml EDP is now only $28.99* on FragranceNet.com. If that’s not a good value, I don’t know what is! They also carry the hair mist for $11.99*, originally $22. Pictured below is Onika ($29.97*), a 2014 release I recently bought with notes of sugar cane, pear, star fruit, and musk.
Minajesty was announced as “a passionate love affair. Mysterious and sexy. An unforgettable and hypnotizing scent.” The commercial shows Nicki running through a meadow in a torn dress until she reaches her castle, a symbol that a kingdom lies in every girl’s heart – cute, right? But all that, and still we ended up with a fairy standard fragrance that doesn’t break any rules, unlike its namesake. Top notes of lemon that tickles the nose like a type of detergent and a hint of berries mix with fresh musk and mundane vanilla. If this run-of-the-mill aroma is the smell of Nicki’s imaginary kingdom, I’d rather not be a royal subject, thanks. It smells like something straight out of Bath & Body Works, fit for a young girl rather than a queen. Its only redeeming quality is that is vividly generic and comes off like a more fruity D&G Light Blue ($56.99*), with a terrific musk base.
Verdict: Nicki’s Barbz and Kenz (these are the official fan names, no jokes) may appreciate this juice more than I, because I am looking for something that makes it unique rather than plain likeable. Granted, I’m in love with the bottles, even though many critics call the line “hideous” and “tacky.” If nothing else, it’s endlessly entertaining to decapitate the bottle every time I go to spray it. I recommend this perfume as more of a body mist than a sophisticated fragrance, and had it been released as one it would’ve earned top marks from me. You best head over to FragranceNet.com and Check It Out yourself!
*Prices true at time of writing.
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