She’s easily one of the most influential people in the music industry, with a career that’s spanned decades. But this Grammy-winning superstar didn’t just land on the scene as rap royalty. So how exactly did she “Work It”? Here’s the stunning transformation of Missy Elliott.

Missy Elliott wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Instead, she was raised in a working-class home — the only child of her mom Patricia, who worked as a dispatcher for a power company, and her dad Ronnie, a former marine. But despite her humble origins, Elliott knew she was destined for greatness, something she proclaimed to her classmates when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. She told MTV,

But the laughter of her classmates didn’t deter her — and she never wavered in her ambitions. She told Elle,

“I was like, ‘I’m going to be a superstar.’ So when I would get in my room, it was like, if y’all don’t see it, I’m going to create it myself.”

Elliott’s father was a violent man, and he regularly assaulted Elliott’s mother in front of her. Although he hit Elliott once, he was also verbally abusive. Elliott told The Guardian that on one particular occasion…

“He pulled a gun on us and forced [my mom and I] both outside [without clothes]. He was crazy like that. I lived in constant fear.”

Elliott taught herself how to cope with the abuse early on by retreating to her room and losing herself in music. There, she performed for her dolls and wrote letters to her favorite artists.

Missy told The Guardian,

“I had friends but I never stayed at anyone’s house because I was scared that I would come home and find my mother dead. I remember seeing my mother crouched in the corner with her arm out of its socket. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about it all.”

Eventually, both Elliott and her mother moved into a safe living situation. Watch the video to see how Missy Elliot’s Stunning Transformation is Turning Heads!

#MissyElliot #CelebrityTransformations

Surviving childhood trauma | 0:15
High school heroes | 1:07
Her own label by 24 | 2:58
Supa Dupa Fly changes the game | 3:49
Body positivity pioneer | 4:30
Shy girl on a big stage | 5:28
Five-album firestorm | 6:14
A serious diagnosis | 6:56
Always busy behind the scenes | 7:35
Her big comeback | 8:20
An honorable year | 9:15
Keeping it real | 10:34