Before she faced the screaming throngs of fans at her personal appearance for her scent, Pink Friday, at Macy’s Herald Square Monday, Nicki Minaj confessed that she almost wasn’t present for one of her most recent honors: Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.

“I’m dead serious — I didn’t think I was going to win,” said Minaj, who took the Moonman for her song “Starships,” and ended up performing at the ceremonies. “I wasn’t even going to go to the VMAs. So when they called my name — first of all, I didn’t hear them and then I looked and said, ‘They didn’t just call my name, did they?’ I’ve never won up against those big girls, so it was big.”

This story first appeared in the September 25, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

An Armani-clad Minaj — in a pink jacket over a multicolored bra, a pink and black latex hat and blue and white striped pants, with Guiseppe Zanotti royal blue suede platform boots, sparkly silver eye shadow and bubblegum pink lips — also reflected on her new “American Idol” gig, where she’ll judge alongside Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson. “There are so many things that I’ve done in my career that a lot of people wouldn’t have dared to do because they’re so afraid of what people think. I’ve come to terms with that, as one of my roles in pop culture. I do things that are not the norm, and I don’t know if they’re going to work or not, but I make those choices anyway.”

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Minaj was off to Chicago from Macy’s, and will spend Tuesday doing judging in the Windy City for two days. “I’m going to watch it as a fan. What draws me to the show is that I feel like a lot of people who don’t know me will get to know me, my real personality outside of what everyone thinks of me,” she said. “I’m also going to play a part in making a new superstar. When you think of people like Carrie Underwood and Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson — all these amazing people who’ve come from ‘American Idol’ — it’s a big deal. It’s a credible brand. It’s not like a game show. It’s like a real thing.”

Once she headed down to the sales floor at Macy’s, Minaj greeted the 300 screaming fans who had purchased the $155 Pink Friday gift set, which contains a 1.7-oz. and 3.4-oz. eau de parfum, a body lotion and a hair mist. While Macy’s and licensee Elizabeth Arden did not break out numbers, industry sources speculate that Minaj’s scent could rival last year’s Taylor Swift launch, the second largest in the celebrity sphere. One source predicted it could be “a $40 million brand.”

“When I get to meet my fans, it’s a celebration,” said Minaj. “My fans have seen me come from absolutely nothing to get here, so it’s inspirational for them. When I talk to them, they’re usually telling me, ‘We’re so proud of you, Nicki,’ as if they’re my parents or something. It’s weird the bond that we have. Today, we’re celebrating. We’re thankful I’ve been able to do what I’m doing, and kind of cross over to a mainstream level to where I can put stuff out for my fans now and they can see themselves represented at Macy’s.”

And while they both taped separate “The View” interviews Monday morning, Minaj noted that she and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama “just missed each other” at ABC’s studios. She was also a bit coy about a rumored personal appearance for the fragrance at Queens Center mall in November. “I would love to do that, but I don’t know if that’s set in stone yet,” she said with a smile. “But I would love to.”