Kim Petras Ascends to Barbhood on 'Alone' feat. Nicki Minaj

Kim Petras Ascends to Barbhood on 'Alone' feat. Nicki Minaj

BYJoan SummersApr 21, 2023

It’s Barbie and it’s Kim Petras — mwah!

The queen of the Barbz has finally collab-ed with the leader of the Bunheads, Kim Petras, who needs no introduction except as Nicki Minaj’s latest collaborator. Their long-awaited single is finally here! Batten down the TikTok hatches, I smell a trend incoming.

Here's the good news: “Alone” feat. Nicki Minaj is as bouncy and bubbly as we'd hoped, with a sprinkle of Minaj’s singular lyricism. "We be like, 'Gag,' call her Kim Petty/ When I ride it, I ride it steady," Minaj raps.

"I feel like she really just made me feel like a star, too," Petras tells PAPER about shooting the music video with Minaj. She adds, "At the end of the day, I was still just freaking out and crying and being a Barb."

These two are a match made in Barb heaven.

But the road to this moment was not so simple as a few tweets and public run-ins. Their link-up was over a decade in the making and charts Petras’ rise from indie underground sensation to global superstar. In honor of its release, PAPER has decided to track the singer’s evolution as a Barb — one worthy of a feature with her all-time career idol.

In 2011, Petras tweeted “Baaayum , got nicki minajs album #pinkfriday yaaay” just one month before her first EP, One Piece of Tape.

"I just remember freaking out," Petras tells PAPER. "That tweet was from when I was literally lined up outside a German technology thing that was called Zet 1 with a bunch of Barbz and got my copy of Pink Friday as a CD. Fun fact."

Like most people with any sense in 2011, Petras spent most of the year listening to Pink Friday, if her tweets from the time are anything to go by. A few months after her purchase of the album, she wrote: “Having a nicki minaj moment :).” She doesn’t specify which of Pink Friday’s tracks she had this moment to, but I’d take a gander and say it was “Roman’s Revenge.”

Years later, Petras would gain international renown with her breakthrough single “I Don’t Want It At All” in 2017. By 2018 she’d continue her ascent to pop superstardom with “Heart to Break,” which featured more Barbie-core visuals. Later that year, she’d cross paths with Minaj at the Marc Jacobs show in 2018, where they sat front row with Marc Jacobs' then-fiancé Char DeFrancesco. (Remember that iconic Chipotle proposal?)

In October that year, Petras would tell PAPER that she was too nervous to say hello while front row with Minaj, who she’d later describe as her career idol. During that conversation, she also discussed memories of sleeping on various recording studio couches in her early career in Los Angeles, “failures” she said led her down the path she’s on now.

“Yeah, I said it, has-been/ Hang it up, flatscreen/ Plasma/ "Hey Nicki, hey Nicki," asthma!” Remember when I said that “Roman’s Revenge” was probably the cause of Petras’ “Nicki Minaj moment” back in 2011? Call it an educated guess.

In 2019, things heated up for the Barbz and Bunheads alliance when Petras formally declared her allegiances on Twitter, saying she’d “love” to collab with the queen someday. What was it that Minaj always said about the power of manifestation? In September of that year, to celebrate the release of Turn Off the Light, Petras spoke with ET about the project and her platinum Barbz stan card: “I mean, Nicki Minaj is always inspiring to me! I love Nicki Minaj.”

She also said she's "obsessed with anything Nicki Minaj.”

Petras and Minaj were also featured on the Charlie's Angels soundtrack that same year, although not on the same song. In 2020, she'd rap the infamous "Monster" verse for Elle and tell the outlet: "I love Nicki Minaj. I think she's one of the best lyricists ever, ever, ever. She writes all her stuff, and I'm just like, constantly inspired by her stuff. Even her stuff from years back."

She'd also include the features on her 2020 Halloween playlist for Billboard and said of its inclusion: "One of the best, most iconic Nicki verses ever. I’m a Barb, forever and always. I love this song. Everybody slays it, but especially Nicki.”

A decade after her original "Nicki Minaj moment" in 2011, Petras would continue her ascension to Barb-hood throughout 2021. In various tweets, she said, "vma pre show 😧 i remember when Nicki did check it out on there and it was the most major moment . i was deff a little inspired by miss Barbie . can’t wait for u to see" and "Happy birthday queen Nicki ! Barb 4 life 🫀."

In 2022, Petras told Elle that Minaj's "Your Love" reminded her of the first love she ever had: "It reminds me of making out with my first boyfriend, smoking cigarettes in the school parking lot, without our parents knowing, the smell of leather jackets and car seats. Hot.” She also described Minaj as a "career idol" to Billboard in February and said, "Women in pop music were my only friends in high school — they were everything I wanted to be and [gave me] the strength I [needed] to transition and live my life authentically. They gave me the strength to be myself."

Of her dream girl group, she also told the outlet it would include Charli XCX, Lana Del Rey, Cher and, of course, Nicki Minaj. She'd better amend that list to include herself though, because "Alone" feat. Nicki Minaj is now available everywhere. Congratulations on the final step in Barbhood and enlightenment, Kim Petras.

As for her latest collaboration with Minaj, Petras tells PAPER: "Yeah, dreams come true, bitch.I've learned that being a stan of someone can get you to this place where they are down to work with you. So always shout out your idols. I'm a Barb for life."

Photo by Alex “Grizz” Loucas