“Can’t nobody tell me how to be the Hot Girl,” says the artist known as Megan Thee Stallion (given name: Megan Jovon Ruth Pete), in her cover story for the March 2021 issue of Harper’s Bazaar (also known as the Spring Fashion Issue). With minimal makeup, gleaming skin and a flowing yet understated silk press, it’s yet another persona of the “Savage” rapper. The elegant portraits, styled by editor-in-chief (and fellow purveyor of Black excellence) Samira Nasr seem to indicate Meg’s continued ascension in the game, having earned a solo appearance (and double covers) on one of the world’s top fashion magazines.
“I’m realizing that I don’t have to be in full glam every time you see me, because I’m just getting more comfortable with myself and more comfortable with my skin,” she says.
The groundwork for this particular kind of crossover appearance has, of course, already been well laid by Meg’s collaborators (and fellow baddies), Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, among whom Thee Stallion has quickly affirmed her own place, and luminaries like Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliott before them. “I feel like when it’s all said and done, when people want to talk about female rap…they are definitely going to have to put my name up there with the OGs,” she tells Bazaar.
In the meantime, there’s another milestone Meg is looking forward to, as she completes her final semester at Texas Southern, where she’s been matriculating online towards a degree in health administration, balancing classes with her career after transferring from Prairie View A&M. As Bazaar reminds us, each #hotgirlsummer has been followed by a #hotgirlsemester, as Meg has hashtagged them.
“This semester, I was like, ‘Four classes. Let’s go.’” she tells Bazaar.
It’s no small feat to matriculate amidst an explosive rap career—or the explosive scandal that broke out last summer when fellow rapper Tory Lanez allegedly shot Megan in both her feet after a night of partying. Given the injuries, it’s a miracle Megan could still walk after the incident, let alone still hit choreography. In the months since, she has done that and more, positioning herself firmly in Black feminism by standing up for Black women—and specifically, Breonna Taylor—during her first Saturday Night Live appearance, followed by an emotional op-ed for the New York Times.
It’s been quite a year for Megan Thee Stallion—one she’s excited to punctuate with her upcoming graduation. “I cannot wait. I’m going to have the biggest graduation party,” she tells Bazaar, sounding like countless other seniors in their final semester as she later adds: “You fought through the procrastination. You fought through crazy professors. You made it home the next day from the party and still went to class. You know what I’m saying?”
Of course, like those countless seniors, Meg’s graduation plans have been impacted by the quarantine. “[W]hen all of this happened, I’m like, ‘Wow, so nobody is going to see me walk across the stage?’” she admits. Ideally, that would’ve included her late mother, Holly Thomas (aka rapper Holly-Wood) and great-grandmother, both of whom died in March 2019.
“Before my mom passed, she really would be on my butt about getting my degree,” Meg now says, adding that her great-grandmother also applied pressure, asking: “You are going to get them papers?”
The papers are now in sight—as is the paper flowing in from lucrative endorsement deals, performances and appearances. To borrow from Tiffany Haddish, she ready.
“Even though I’m not working a traditional job, I still treat it like: ‘This is work. I need to work hard for this,” says Meg. “I want to be here. I want to do this. I want to be Megan Thee Stallion.’”
Hot girl shit, indeed.