5. Lil' Kim is your best friend. "I spend hours with Betsey in her showroom and have hung out with her for years," Lil' Kim told us backstage. "Betsey gives me down-to-earth and fun and you know what? I don't give a shit what anybody says, I'm gonna do what pleases my fans. I remember I was doing a photo shoot for Vibe or XXL and I was wearing my little flared, colorful Betsey skirt with ruffles on the bottom. All the stylists were like, ‘Where did you get that!' They loved it and let me wear it for the shoot. Betsey and I have the same taste, and she makes me feel alive when I wear her vibrant colors. She'll show me piles of clothes, up to my shoulders, and say, ‘Dive in,' and the things that I pick are usually her favorite pieces too."
Kim's been busy as a Queen Bee with her upcoming VH1 Behind the Music special, laying down new tracks, and taking heat for her comments about the Drake/Chris Brown bottle-hurling tiff—stemming from her beef with Drake's Cash Money label-mate, Nicki Minaj (who, coincidentally, wore Betsey Johnson for her American Idol performance). But Lil' Kim simply sees it as loyalty to her friends, Rihanna and Brown: "I love Rihanna and Chris and wish them all the best." As for Kevin Hart's comic attempts to reconcile Drake and Brown at the VMAs, Lil' Kim said, "There was so much tension in that room that night, you could cut it with a knife."
In person, Lil' Kim was very friendly and diva-attitude-free. Her Return of the Queen Tour kicked off last May and currently she is working on a new album that is "going to be super-duper sexy and very hardcore Lil' Kim mixed with the new swag," she laughed. She and Kelley Osbourne are also collaborating on a hip-hop remake of Elton John's "The Bitch is Back." As for the key to her creativity, "I do what I feel," she said. "And always feel what I do."
Lil' Kim's personal style? "Sexy all the time. Sometimes outrageous but always young and fun. Sometimes I do elegant but still keep it fun."
Lil' Kim, who was wearing one Johnson's spray-painted-on green striped minidresses, has the kind of killer hourglass curves that would make a Barbie doll weep with envy. How does Johnson design for her shape? "Everything stretches," Johnson said. "It's Kim's body that makes the dress."
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