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Cardi B Told Mariah Carey Why "Nobody Could Shame Her" For Working As A Stripper

"I felt like, 'You're judging me, but I'm making more money than you.'"

Posted on February 24, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. ET

Cardi B opened up about her life, her childhood, and her journey to fame in a candid conversation with Mariah Carey for Interview magazine published on Tuesday.

Leon Bennett / WireImage

The interview covered everything from Cardi's insecurities growing up in the Bronx to the discrimination she's faced as a woman of color in the music and fashion industries.

Interview

And the "Bodak Yellow" rapper also opened up about her experience working as a stripper, explaining why she would never feel "ashamed" of the work, even if people judged her for it.

When Mariah asked why she got into the business, Cardi recalled how it began as a way for her to get out of a bad situation, but stripping ended up helping her build her confidence.

"When I first entered the strip club, I was really shy," the 28-year-old recalled. "I felt really uncomfortable. I felt very ashamed. There were times when I was crying, like, 'Oh my gosh, if my mom or my dad found out, they'd be so humiliated.' But I needed the fucking money."

"I just wanted enough money to rent a room," she said, explaining that she had been kicked out of her parents' house and was living with a boyfriend at the time. "That's how desperate I was to get the fuck out of the situation I was in."

"I just wanted to make $20,000," Cardi went on. "'If I make $20,000,' I thought, 'I'll open a fucking business and I won’t have to strip anymore.'"

Stephane Cardinale / Getty Images

But, she said, the "stripper attitude" helped her to get out of that mindset and take pride in her work, even when people were judging her.

"Strippers talk a certain way," Cardi explained. "The stripper attitude is, 'I'm not ashamed of being a stripper, because a lot of these bitches don't have shit. A lot of these bitches don't have a place to stay, don't have no car, can't afford this, can't afford that.'"

"I felt like, 'You're judging me, but I'm making more money than you," she went on. "I felt like nobody could shame me for being a stripper."

"I felt on top of the world," Cardi said of her job. "I felt so untouchable and so sexy, because there were rappers that all these girls lust over who would come to the strip club and request me to go to their section."

But, Cardi explained, when she started making music, her ultimate goal — to make money — began to change.

Steven Ferdman / Getty Images

"Not only did I want to make money, but I wanted to be on the radio," she said. "In the strip club, I didn't want people to just clap for me. I wanted them to sing my shit."

"Everybody always told me I was going to be famous because I had a big personality and liked to perform and dance," Cardi went on. "When you're a kid, it’s like, 'Yeah, I could be that.' But then I got older, and had to make life decisions. I just thought everything that I wanted was a dream, and I didn't want to live by a dream. I always felt like I just had to get by."

"Now I just be telling my fans, 'If you work hard, it could happen, because it happened for me,'" Cardi said. "I always had a dream, but I just felt like, 'Man, get the fuck out of here. Why me?' And it happened."

Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images

You can read Cardi's conversation with Mariah Carey in full here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.