How Doja Cat went from watching the VMAs to hosting and performing

She puts the “purr” in performance.

And as host of the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, pop provocateur Doja Cat is making hiss-tory.

“Wowowowowowow,” tweeted the “Planet Her” hitmaker, 25, announcing her appointment as mistress of ceremonies at this year’s VMAs.

She’s also nominated for five awards, including video of the year for the smash single “Kiss Me More,” featuring SZA.

And the notable nod makes the Los Angeles native the first-ever host who stands to win MTV’s coveted VOTY moon person while emceeing the show, which airs live from Brooklyn’s famed Barclays Center at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Past VMAs compères — like rockers Katy Perry, 36, who helmed the gala in 2017, and Miley Cyrus, 28, who led the affair in 2015 — have taken the VOTY honors, but not during the ceremonies that they hosted.

“I’m excited,” Doja told Entertainment Tonight of her upcoming gig. “I have fun just riffing.”

Her engagingly avant-garde charm entertains her more than 30 million social media followers across Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

“I just do bits with my friends and I’m always doing inside jokes,” said the “Juicy” singer. “So, I think it’ll be fun to just experiment with that at the VMAs on a massive scale.”

Doja’s debut as the doyenne of the event will also mark the third time a black woman has been behind the wheel of the VMAs in the show’s 37-year history.

The “Like That” luminary is following in the footsteps of former MTV VJ “Downtown” Julie Brown, 58, who co-hosted the awards throughout the late ‘80s, and actress Keke Palmer, 28, who took up the mantle as toastmaster in 2020

She’s also channelling the past by recreating “Grease” hit “You’re The One That I Want” in an ad for Pepsi.

Meet the fiery feline frontwoman of the 2021 Video Music Awards.

Who is she?

Doja Cat, née Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, has turned the music world into her own personal ball of yarn since rolling out her debut album, “Purr!,” in 2014 at age 17. However, her untamable talents didn’t go viral until the release of her 2018 single “Mooo!,” on which she mused about being a cow. And she’s enjoyed the spoils of pop sensation supremacy ever since.

But before the multi-hyphenate megastar became a household name — owing to chart-toppers like “Say So,” and collaborations with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd — she was simply a mixed-race girl from Tarzana, California, hoping to make it big as an internet influencer.

“When I was 14 I was making YouTube videos because I was trying to become a makeup guru,” Doja told HotNewHipHop in 2019. The half Jewish-American, half South African singer-to-be ultimately fell away from the world of beauty and began creating songs on streaming platform SoundCloud. Doja dropped out of high school in her junior year, at age 16, in order to pursue music full time.

And after settling on “Doja Cat” as her stage name — an alias inspired by her love of marijuana and kittens — she released the 2012 track “So High,” which led to her first record deal with RCA.

Why she matters?

Following the wild success of “Mooo!” — which garnered over 92 million views on YouTube, and had served as the artful visuals to hundreds of tending memes — Doja continued clawing her way into the hearts of millennials and Gen Zers.

Trendy tracks like “Boss Bitch” and “Say So” solidified the bourgeoning diva as the unofficial maestro of TikTok challenges.

Her bold blend of pop, rap, R&B and techno was immortalized in the 2019 anthology, “Hot Pink.” The certified gold album earned her a push new artist trophy at the 2020 VMAs, a performance slot at the 63rd Grammys in March and the best R&B female artist thumbs-up at the 2021 Billboard Awards.

Doja Cat skyrocketed to success thanks to her funky blends of music genres.
Doja Cat skyrocketed to success thanks to her funky blends of music genres.
WireImage

And when she’s not busy making classic hits, Doja gives global audiences an intimate peek into her private life with candid Instagram Live and TikTok posts.

Online, the “Cyber Sex” songstress breaks the fourth wall that normally separates celebrities from fans, and broadcasts her hilarious rants and antics from the comforts of her bedroom. Her uncontrived clips typically rack up between 5 million to 50 million views.

“I’m like an Instagram Live person,” Doja told ET. “I get on [Instagram] when I’m at home and I have nothing to do, I’m comfy there. But when it comes to the pressure of the VMAs, oh my God, I’m not sure how it’s going to go. But I’m sure it’ll be OK.”

Cat’s Controversies

Her healthy relationship with fans notwithstanding, Doja has not been immune to viral calls for her cancellation. Demands for her undoing began when she copped to using homophobic slurs in 2018.

“I called a couple people f—ts when I was in high school in 2015 does this mean I don’t deserve support?” she tweeted. “I’ve said f—t roughly like 15 thousand times in my life. Does saying f—t mean you hate gay people? Do I hate gay people? I don’t think I hate gay people. Gay is ok.”

The off-color comments sparked a wave of backlash through digital timelines.

Then in 2020, the “Get Into It” songstress was forced to defend herself against Twitter detractors after old videos of her seemingly participating in racist video chat rooms resurfaced. The unearthed footage appeared to show Doja creating culturally demeaning and misogynistic sexual content for white supremacists online. She denied the charges.

“I’ve used public chat rooms to socialize since I was a child,” Doja wrote on Instagram amid the controversy. “I shouldn’t have been on some of those chat room sites, but I personally have never been involved in any racist conversations. I’m sorry to everyone that I offended.”

She was also accused of composing anti-black songs like “Dindu Nuffin,” a smear used to ridicule African American victims of police brutality.

For her insensitivity, Doja apologized again.

“It was written in response to people who often used that term to hurt me,” she wrote. “I made an attempt to flip its meaning, but recognize it was a bad decision to use the term in my music … I’m very sorry to anybody who’s taken offense, to anybody who I’ve hurt using this term.”

Doja’s mea culpa apparently helped angered fans move past the offense. Cries for her ousting ultimately ceased.

What she’s bringing to the VMAs? 

As head honcho of the awards, Doja plans to bare it all onstage.

Whereas past VMAs hosts have wowed watchers with funky fashions from top designers, the “Won’t Bite” chanteuse told People she’d like to be, “just butt naked.”

And while she’s given some thought to her skin-tight togs, Doja hasn’t nailed down a specific theme for her highly anticipated VMAs commencement speech.

“The opening monologue, I know zero things about,” Doja confessed to Entertainment Tonight. “No idea.”

However, the “You Right” rhymer revealed that she has “big surprises in store” for audiences.

“They are going to be crazy,” she said of her show shockers, which will include an “emotionally intense” performance of hit track “Been Like This.”

“My head is going to explode on television,” she joked. “Confetti is going to come out of my nose and I’m going to vomit sprinkles.”

Doja Cat promises to bring "big surprises" to the 2021 VMAs stage.
Doja Cat promises to bring “big surprises” to the 2021 VMAs stage.
WireImage

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