“Lil’ Kim” (born Kimberly Denise Jones) is known for her morphing looks. Any artist with staying power dabbles in self reinvention to a degree, but some view this hop-hop star’s habits as extreme. Yet there are often plenty of reasons for changes in appearance. The aging process and lost or gained weight can all make a difference. Makeup, especially contouring kits, can work huge effects for those with patience. For reference’s sake, the above photo shows Jones at a 1998 jewelry launch. By then, she already had a few years of fame under her belt after her Junior M.A.F.I.A beginnings.
A year prior, Jones gave an interview to Paper magazine about how she’d been treated terribly for much of her life: “It seems like everywhere I go I can’t get real love.” The men she dated constantly belittled her looks and told her she was nothing without them. A few years later, Jones elaborated to Newsweek by admitting her self-worth issues and plastic surgery to date:
“Guys always cheated on me with women who were European-looking. You know, the long-hair type. Really beautiful women that left me thinking, ‘How I can I compete with that?’ Being a regular black girl wasn’t good enough.” And the implants? “That surgery was the most pain I’ve ever been in in my life. But people made such a big deal about it. White women get them every day. It was to make me look the way I wanted to look. It’s my body.”
The combination of low self-esteem with years of verbal abuse took their toll. So, it should come as little surprise that Lil’ Kim has tested many different looks over the years. She looks beautiful but at times unrecognizable.
By 2014, she barely resembled the same person who rose to prominence in the 1990s. Few people remain the same over the course of two decades, but Jones changed substantially.
This past weekend, Jones posted a photo montage to Instagram. As one can imagine, her comments are a mess. Lil’ Kim doesn’t deserve criticism, she deserves a friendly ear. She’s been trying to tell the world something for decades, and we’re now only beginning to catch up.