Doja Cat recently acknowledged the intense fan backlash to her fashion evolution in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar.

The Grammy winner has been contending with her fanbase for the past month, taking aim at some fans for naming themselves “Kittenz”, leading to a mass exodus of 250,000 followers on Instagram. However, the “Kiss Me More” singer is unfazed by the actions of certain circles of her fanbase, writing on her Instagram Story: “I feel free.”

In the Harper’s Bazaar interview, conducted by rap-radio legend Angie Martinez, Doja Cat theorised that because a lot of fans believe they can “take ownership” over the artists they worship, the artists themselves are “not real to them.” She has decided to rebel against this dynamic, culminating in the mass unfollowing of half a million followers. Still, the unfollowing hasn’t put a dent in the rapper’s social media account, which still boasts over 25m followers, according to Social Blade.

Despite her harsh words, she expressed gratitude for the fans who have “stood up for [her] or other people” amidst the backlash. Ever since she drastically changed her look by shaving her head and eyebrows, the “Vegas” rapper has been relentlessly attacked by online trolls. Doja Cat – whose real name is Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini – said that she “really appreciates” the fans who go out of their way to “speak up for someone who is getting bullied,” calling these “some of the most moving moments” she’s experienced as a mainstream artist.

She also admitted that her change in style has been a whiplash for her fans, especially for those who feel a sense of “ownership” over her. “There is a shock response that is almost uncontrollable,” Doja Cat said. “I’ve accepted that that’s what happens. So I put my wigs on and take them off. I shave my head or my eyebrows. I have all the freedom in the world.”

While Doja Cat noted that she’s in a “kind of chaotic place” when it comes to her sense of style and taste in fashion, she said that she views it as a part of the process of coming into her own. For her, it’s all a product of being in an era of self-discovery.

“I’ve just been going into my closet and picking out the most random, weird, not-fitting thing to mix with another thing that does not really fit,” the pop star said. “It’s like mashed potatoes. But I’m embracing that. It’s a little punk. It’s experimental for sure. It’s very manic. But I am going in a darker direction when it comes to visuals and fashion. I have a lot of pent-up feelings and anger, and I want to express it with beauty. I’ve been playing with a lot of prosthetics lately.”

Most recently, the pop star wore prosthetics to the 2023 Met Gala honuoring the late Karl Lagerfeld. Her makeup artists used prosthetics to realise her vision of looking like a “humanoid cat” as a nod to the late designer’s beloved feline, Choupette. Her Met Gala look was among many that have pushed boundaries, another being her head-to-toe red paint look, adorned with 30,000 crystals, for Schiaperelli’s haute couture show in Paris last January.

Doja Cat also reflected on how her style experimentation has come at a time when she feels more grounded, as part of her overall journey of “learning to love” herself more. “I feel like a woman who is coming into her own,” she said.


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