The cushions in James Corden’s car must have come with therapeutic qualities because his recent “Carpool Karaoke” guest, rapper Nicki Minaj, shared a vulnerable glimpse into her struggles with anxiety. 

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The popular segment made its post-COVID comeback with the 39-year-old rap star riding shotgun, and the two had plenty to discuss regarding motherhood and Minaj’s bouts of anxiousness from her longstanding career in the music industry.  

What began as an observation of Nicki’s peculiar snack choice, crushed ice, sparked a candid moment that revealed the rare refreshment was in fact her personal “anxiety ball” to relieve stressful moments.

“Every time I’m biting the ice, it’s like taking out the anxiety.”

Minaj went on to share how being under constant scrutiny and the gaze of the public eye has led to long-term wear on her mental health and confidence. 

“I think when you are a woman and you’re in the public eye all the time, if you’re not careful you can become less confident because you’re being constantly scrutinized,” she says. “I just don’t think it’s natural. It’s not natural for a human being to just always feel like everyone’s critiquing them.”

“When I first came into the industry, I had this amazing sense of freedom because nobody gave a s— about what I was doing,” Minaj continued reflectively. “And then it goes from that to the complete, complete opposite. Where it’s like, if I blink my eye wrong, they’ll have a story made up about why I blinked my eye that way.”

Finding effective ways to manage stress and anxiety can come in many ways, and for the “Super Bass” artist, putting things into perspective and decreasing her screen time on social media all serve as healthy tools to tune out distractions, both on and offline.

“Whenever I am off of social media, and I take that s— off my phone, I have this enormous sense of peace,” she said. “And then you realize what really matters.” 

The new mom to her 18-month-old son also shared how focusing on the blessing of motherhood helps her keep things in perspective. “I don’t care what could be going on… when I look at my son, I’m just magically in love,” she said. “He just makes me laugh, makes me smile, makes me happy. He’s just so cute and cuddly.”