Cover to Cover | Cosmopolitan + The Hollywood Reporter

Cosmopolitan July 2015


Cover Story

At some point in my early twenties, I was an avid reader of Cosmopolitan.  My best friend and I would buy the big issue at the end of the year detailing what was to come for each horoscope in the New Year.  Times have since changed, and I don't frequent the issues like I once did.  Anyway, what led me to this specific issue was this month's cover girl Nicki Minaj.  Posing and smizing (smiling with your eyes, for those of you that don't watch America's Next Top Model), and rocking a gold bejeweled onesie, I couldn't resist hearing what the head Barbie had to say.  I respect Nicki Minaj's hustle, and her work ethic is impeccable.  Her latest work, The Pinkprint, and toned down look are definitely popping, and I love the direction she’s going in!  Nicki knows who she is, what she wants, and she gets it!  Okay, let's get into this interview:

On talking about money: "I know it's taboo to discuss it at work.  Technically you shouldn't, but you need to know what people around you are making...Do your research.  I've always been pretty competitive in terms of my pay."

On how she acts now that she's in charge: "I don't really believe in excuses--even with myself.  People tell me I'm a workaholic.  But if I was able to stand on my feet for 12 to fifteen hours and could drive in the snow for two and a half to get to work--if I could do that then, I can do this now."

On how she carries herself differently:  "...I decided early on that I wouldn't sleep with men in the business.  And that made me feel empowered as a woman--that when I walked into rooms with these people, they weren't able to say, 'I slept with her'.  Just like a man, I hold my own."

On coping with her breakup with boyfriend of 11 years: "As women we are vulnerable and emotional, and that's okay.  I had to learn quickly that if you don't have a sense of self, you can be destroyed by a man."

On how she feels about others opinions: "I don't care what people think anymore.  I spent so much time caring about what people thought, and eventually, it didn't really matter."

On her sex life: "...I demand that I climax.  I think women should demand that."

On who inspires her creatively: "One of my big ones was Lauryn Hill, and I am always in awe of Madonna and Beyonce.  "

On where she sees herself ten years from now: "...I will have two children, unless my husband wants three.  I will be into fitness a lot more...and I'll be a housewife with careers that I can run from home."

On if it all still feels surreal: "...All these people are here because of me.  I never would have thought in a million years when I used to be in my room thinking, 'What is my life going to be?  This is what I want my future to be.'...Wow.  This is really happening."

Articles to Read

  • Must Read! - Bring Back Our Girls - It's been just over a year since hundreds of Nigerian girls were taken from their villages, and held hostage by a terrorist organization.  But it's only been a few months since several young, brave girls made a run for it, and escaped to safety.  This article is the story of several of these lucky girls, their transition to American culture, and remember that frightful night that their world's changed forever.

I really just bought this issue for the Nicki Minaj interview, but I was happy that I came across the Bring Back Our Girls interview, also.    Have you read this month's Cosmopolitan? If so tell me what I missed!

[All of the quotes and pictures in this post are from the July 2015 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine and I own no rights to them.]

The Hollywood Reporter

Every year as Emmy season approaches, The Hollywood Reporter does roundtables with different actresses and actors.  This year's round up of comedic television actresses included: Lena Dunham (Girls), Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live!).  Other than the beautiful colors incorporated in the setting of the magazine cover, the two faces that stuck out most to me in this lineup of funny ladies were Ross and Rodriguez.  I am an advocate of the representation of Black and Brown woman being portrayed in positive roles in entertainment, and that's what these ladies are doing on their respective shows.  Of course you can turn to VH1, Bravo, or WeTV and see women of color represented as basketball or real housewives, and the majority of them do not (always) shed a positive light on those women.  I read the entire transcript, and watched the clips, but these are the comments that stuck out most: 

Q: You fought for more money for a stand-up gig?

A: I was raised by a woman [singer Diana Ross] who has high standards for what she's worth, which has been called "diva behavior." I have witnessed flagrant, disgusting behavior, and that is not my mother. There is a way to be a woman, ask for what we deserve and be able to negotiate.

Q: How much does self-deprecation figure into how you connect with your audience?

A: Rodriguez - I was up for a role and auditioned in character. They're like: "We love her. But can she come back in with a tight black dress?"  I said, "That doesn't make any sense for the character." They were like, "We need to know if you're pretty enough to be on the cover of a magazine."

Ross - I tested once for a network show to play a lawyer. A Harvard-educated motherf—in' lawyer, OK? I wore a skirt suit and heels. Seemed appropriate. Then there were many discussions about my hair. They'd printed up all these pictures of me from 15 f—in' years ago and had me in and out of the bathroom trying on clothes. They finally pick a skirt — the shortest I brought. Then got a T-shirt from one of the people in the office. The woman says, "Hmmm, your boobs." I was like, "I didn't bring a bra for this T-shirt." She screams down the hall, "Who wears a 34B?" I put on someone else's bra, a size too small, and somehow auditioned. I remember wondering, "What did I just allow myself to do?" The other actress [who auditioned] was dressed like she was going to a club and got the role. It was one of those moments where you're so confused and humiliated. But that's part of the biz.

Q: What's the most overtly sexist thing that's happened to you working in Hollywood?

A: Ross - I think racism trumps everything. [It all] happens behind the scenes.

Dunham - So many shows wouldn't exist if you and Mara [Brock Akil] hadn't made Girlfriends and pushed it as far as you did.

Ross - Being on a show run by a woman with four women leads gives you a template that when you walk out into the world, you don't see it. It changed my expectations.

Q: Is there something that you would never do for a laugh?

A: Rodriguez - I'm a brown girl, so I have to cross all the lines. I did just recently give birth onscreen [in Jane the Virgin].  The actress playing my OB-GYN, Julie, was in right between my legs. I have Spanx on, this big [fake] belly, legs spread wide open. I probably should've showered that morning.

Q: Have you found Latino fans to be more conservative-minded on these themes (politics, etc)?

A: Rodriguez - No, the Latino audience is all over the place. It encompasses 50 different countries.

Ross - Have you met every single one of them?

Rodriguez - I have, and they're all related to me! (Laughter.) It's nice to talk about controversial things without making judgments. I have my own beliefs and don't put them on anybody else, but when you're the lead in a show, your word is your bond, you know?

Q: Tracee, Chris Rock wrote an essay for The Hollywood Reporter in which he talked about how you can go to the movies once a week for months and never see a black woman in a substantial role.

A: Rodriguez I think that also goes for Latinos as well.

Ross - There aren't many [roles in film]. That's why I say no to all the offers! (Laughs.) Working on a film is one job where you look at a casting breakdown and I'll think, "That's me!" But she's not supposed to be black

Check out the complete interview, here, and the videos, above!

[Hollywood Reporter's full episode of the comedy actress Emmy roundtable premieres Sunday,August 16th at 11am ET/PT on SundanceTV and]