If tweets from Thai politicians and music fans are anything to go by, 19-year-old rapper Milli might just be key to a Thai bid for soft power. MILLI aka Thailand’s closest hope for soft power! #MILLILiveatCoachella #Coachella #Coachella2022 #88risingCoachella pic.twitter.com/5BvUnEm0lp — Pita Limjaroenrat (@Pita_MFP) April 17, 2022 The musician dominated headlines after her recent performance at Coachella. Partly because she’s the first Thai solo artist to perform at the festival, partly because she wowed the crowd with her explosive performance – but a Thai dessert had something to do with it, too. Milli ate a bowl of mango sticky rice as she finished her set, hyping the audience by shouting: “Who wants mango and rice that is sticky?” The effect was immediate. Orders more than tripled on food apps and the Thai government talked of adding the dish to UNESCO’s heritage list. Beloved desserts aside, Milli is no stranger to going viral, thanks to her talent and larger-than-life personality. Here’s what we know about the rising star. 5 times Blackpink’s Lisa proved she’s Thailand’s unofficial princess She used to be student council president In 2019, then-16-year-old Milli, whose real name is Danupha Khanatheerakul, joined Thai TV programme The Rapper 2 . Pimthai Lohakupta, who directed the show, told WorkpointToday that the former student council president showed up for her audition in her school uniform after coming straight from her classes. Her skills needed honing, but Milli’s star quality was undeniable, even in the thick glasses and school uniform she wore. “Milli has always been energetic. When someone listens or watches her show, they can feel the energy that she exudes. She expresses what she believes in with determination,” added Lohakupta. She’s known for rebellious and often controversial lyrics In her rapid-fire flow, Milli delivers controversial lines such as, “Lost your boy? You should take time for a bikini wax” and “You seem high on birth control pills, just say night-night.” And while some LGBTQ+ fans love how she incorporates slang from Thailand’s transgender community into her songs, others accuse her of appropriating the culture. Despite the criticism, she is mainly praised for leading a new generation of Thai hip-hop artists and addressing issues such as beauty standards and sexual consent. Her efforts earned her a spot on GQ ’s list of “The 21 Most Exciting Young Musicians on Planet Earth”. “I have to accept that I can’t 100 per cent please everybody. I can’t control their ears and that’s the diversity within a society. I understand them but I have a mass audience,” she told Coconuts Bangkok. The Oscars slap aftermath: what will happen to Will Smith’s career? She got in trouble with Thailand’s prime minister Milli’s no-holds-barred attitude goes beyond biting lyrics. In 2021, she faced defamation charges from Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for tweets criticising the country’s pandemic response. สถานการณ์มันแย่ รัฐบาลไม่ทำเหี้ยอะไรสักอย่าง พอปชชด่าว่า มึงทำเหี้ยไรสักอย่างสิวะ รัฐบาลก็เลยทำเหี้ยอะไรสักอย่าง ตอนตีหนึ่ง เค อีเหี้ย — เอาจริงป่ะนวย (@millimdk) June 27, 2021 She received support from citizens, many of whom voiced concerns about violations of freedom of expression. The hashtag #SaveMilli trended on Twitter. View this post on Instagram A post shared by MILLI (@phuckitol) During her Coachella performance, she further voiced her dissatisfaction. “The country is good, people [are] good, our food is good, but the government is bood [rotten].” She’s a huge K-pop fan Scroll through Milli’s Twitter page and you’ll see retweets from BTS – particularly Jimin’s – fan accounts. She even dedicated an Instagram post to the star on his birthday, calling him her inspiration for working hard. She’s also what you’d call a “successful fan”. She worked with Stray Kids’ Changbin on the track Mirror, Mirror , while another member, Bang Chan, called her his new favourite female rapper. An overwhelmed Milli shared that she’d been a loyal Stay – or fan of the group – for years. “I watched them before they debuted. I was like, ‘Oh my god, they’re so talented,’” she said on Instagram Live. Meet Siew Pui Yi, the controversial Malaysian influencer and OnlyFans star Like the rest of us, she’s waiting for a Rihanna comeback She’s aware the Barbadian singer hasn’t recorded new music for a while, but Milli told HipHopDX she still dreams of a collab with Rihanna. Right now, she’s grateful for the opportunity to work with other local and international artists. “I’ve never imagined I could work with international level artists because I see myself as a small artist from Thailand,” she admitted. She has said she still has a long way to go. “Someone told me, the sooner you get attention, the more you have to improve. I have to jump as high as I can,” she told GQ. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .