Inside Nicki Minaj's Make-Under

If you haven’t noticed Nicki Minaj is toning down the ostentatious fashion and hair styles that made her famous. Proof resides in her red carpet photos from this weekend’s MTV Movie Awards, left, and last night's The Other Woman, at right. You like?

Her hair stylist Oscar James, who spoke to Cosmopolitan about her sartorial shift, said the rapper just wants to do less. After prodding Tyra Banks for his number, James says Minaj contacted him for a “bold” new look.

On the reason for her makeover:

She just told me that she wanted to tone down a little. Maybe she's trying to reach a broader audience, I don’t know. But I’m taken aback even myself because she's so pretty. … You can really see her features. I'm just so honored to be part of this journey and I’m so happy that she chose me. She’s so beautiful. I didn’t know all that was underneath is what I’m trying to say.

On channeling Marilyn Monroe for inspiration:

I know she's a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe; I don’t know if it’s a hair inspiration. When we’re doing things, I pull pictures from everywhere. What I really wanted for her for the MTV Movie Awards was a Dita Von Teese look, but that was a little too dressy. She wanted something a little more natural. And I think it’s maybe because it was the movie awards, she wanted to be more toned-down, more natural. We did a video recently for a song she has out called “Senile.” My inspiration for that was Sophia Loren, a little Amy Winehouse, but even then she wanted to tone down. She was like, “I just want to be softer.” And she's really adamant about softer and more natural.

James continued, saying that Minaj is all about wearing her natural hair these days, eschewing wigs for, I’m assuming, a few tracks for body and length around her head. Another reason for this make-under? The era of the over-the-top David Bowie-esque character performances are passé — just look at Gaga's current struggle — and as she books more television and film roles, Minaj realized it would serve her silver-screen goals to look like a human instead of a Harajuku doll. I’m into it. Now if we could just get her to stop Instagramming those headless boob shots in the middle of the night.

Image via Getty.