The 21-year-old Danupha 'Milli' Khanatheerakul is fresh off her hit “The Milli Show.” The rapper, songwriter, and renowned mango sticky rice ambassador has turned her hand to comedy. Coachella, Rolling Loud, BBC’s 100 Women of 2022, millions of fans the world over—Milli isn’t done. In fact, she’s looking at whole new industries that need a dash of Milli. BK sits down with Thailand’s hip-hop darling and renaissance woman to ask: What’s next?
How did the idea of The Milli Show come about?   
Actually the idea came from one of my bosses, his name's P'Ta. During one of our casual hangouts, P'Ta was a bit drunk and had this great idea. As I shared funny stories about my past, P'Ta noticed it and imagined a comedy talk show, recognizing the potential in my comedy skills. With his involvement in the comedy scene in Thailand, he saw an opportunity to use humor in my story. So I was like, ‘Sure, why not!’ 
You unveiled some pretty intense secrets in your new show. For fans who couldn’t get tickets, what's something you can share with us?  
I want to keep those moments exclusive for the fans who were able to attend. It's a way of making them feel truly special. However, this is just the beginning. In the future, we might have "The Milli Show" live in Kuala Lumpur, "The Milli Show" live in Manilla, "The Milli Show" live in Tokyo. P'Ta thinks it can be very funny, and that it can be real in the future too. 
Alive or dead, who would you most like to collaborate with?   
BTS, just meeting them would feel like heaven. It’s funny, I’ve got this personal mission to build my six-pack because I know Jungkook is a model, and the idea of shooting together someday would be a dream. Rihanna is another artist I would love to work with. The funny thing is, she hasn’t dropped any new albums or songs recently. But imagine being that girl who features with her, bringing Rihanna back into the music scene. The world would go crazy, thinking, ‘Who is this girl bringing my mama back into the music scene?’ 
What are you listening to right now? What’s your Spotify wrapped?
Rap, alternative R&B, and some jazz. I really love Metro Boomin's album this year, Metro Boomin is in Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse. I also really love Hotel Ugly and Sexy Red. 
We love food, and you put mango sticky rice on a whole nother level when you blew up Coachella. What’s the next Thai dish you want to make famous?
That’s hard because Thai food is so good! Every time I travel, the craving for Thai food hits me hard, even just a day into my travels. However, if I had to choose, I'd say puu ong, a northern Thai dish that has been a longtime favorite of mine and it’s been stuck in my head for a while. It’s like a creamy and salty crab paste that you can have with rice or sticky rice. So good! 
I read that you stopped singing for a year. Is that true? 
Actually, this one is a story I told in the Milli Show. I think this one I can tell a little bit. It’s in the song too, the song is called Welcome (Milli goes on and sings). I talked about personal struggles from childhood when singing in front of my parents felt scary. There's a memory of me playing the ukulele in the car with my mom, gathering the courage to sing to her for the first time, only to receive a rude comment about my singing style. She left to go do some shopping, and I feel like so sad because those words come from the one who I love the most. So it really hurt me. Another painful memory was in the classroom where, while playing the guitar, some friends made comments about my singing, comparing it to a dog's howl. That was super, super hard. The impact of those words hurt me so much, and it wasn't until the release of the song that my mom realized how much pain she caused. During the show, I expressed my gratitude to her and forgave her, saying that she didn't realize the weight her words carried. But it’s a happy ending because now my mom is my biggest fan, even trying to sing along to my songs. But she says they’re too fast.  
Since this is an entirely new experience for you, how did you feel during the preparation process? 
The preparation process for The Milli Show was a new and challenging experience for me. Being someone who has to make people laugh comes with a lot of pressure, especially in the show there’s only you and you when. It’s very hard for me, that’s why I only tell the truth. The responsibility to entertain and connect is all on you. Throughout the preparation, I was constantly changing the stories so they resonated and flowed with the audience. It was a lot of pressure as the final script was only done two days before the show. 
Why did you use humor to talk about your past?  
Because my past is so funny! Sometimes in stand-up comedy you have to spice things up to make it fun for the audience. But I told my comedy trainer that I can't spice it up because I can’t lie to my fans. I want to genuinely connect with them. Luckily my stories are already crazy so no added spice was needed.  
You wear a lot of hats. You’re one of Thailand’s top female hip hop artists, you’re a creative marketing associate for YUPP!, and you’re a comedian. And you’re only 21. How do you balance all of this?   
The truth is, I can’t balance. It’s about having a strong team. I’m so lucky to have an incredible team, along with my manager. My schedule is very meticulous so I’m able to pursue my music, marketing, comedy, and education, and potentially acting as well in the future. I’ve made a commitment to work on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and leave the rest of the week to study, because I don’t want to take leave or skip any of my classes. But this wouldn’t be possible without the support of my friends who help me study, my manager who handles my work responsibilities, and my family who helps me with transportation and encouragement, especially when I have to travel. My whole team really loves me and I love them so much, and I so I want to give credit to them. Maybe I’ll write them a song in the future. 


All photos: Milli at an interview with BK Magazine at Public House on Sukhumvit Soi 31 / BK Magazine