11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Doja Cat — Including the Origin of Her Name

Doja Cat is an award winner, meme-creator, and headline generator. The LA-based "I Like You (A Happier Song)" singer/rapper has amassed over 25 million Instagram followers who regularly tune into her Instagram Live videos to hear her sing improvised songs about getting strep throat, animals, or really anything she's in the mood for.

Besides her spontaneous social media songs, Doja Cat has created quite the catalog of music. Her impulsive, somewhat outrageous persona is alluring to many rap audiences, as she gives off nostalgic vibes and is sometimes honest to a fault. The "Freaky Deaky" performer even won a Grammy this year for her collaboration with SZA, "Kiss Me More," and was up for seven other honors at the ceremony in 2022. While accepting the golden gramophone, Doja Cat got emotional (and almost missed her big moment because she was in the bathroom), telling the gathered audience of her peers, "I like to downplay sh*t. But this? It's a big deal."

Doja Cat is likely already on your radar as she's skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years and is frequently hitting the Billboard charts, but if you aren't yet familiar, scroll through our list of 11 interesting facts about the "Planet Her" creator.

01
What Is Doja Cat's Real Name?
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What Is Doja Cat's Real Name?

Although her name, Amala Zandile Dlamini, may have been given to her by her Jewish-American mom and South African dad, Doja Cat elected to take on a stage name and persona.

What Does Doja Cat Mean?

The "Planet Her" artist explained to Dazed that her name choice came from her one of cats and weed. She said, "I was heavily addicted to weed and weed culture, so when I began rapping I thought of the word 'doja' and how it sounds like a girl's name."

02
Who Are Doja Cat's Musical Influences?
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Who Are Doja Cat's Musical Influences?

After moving from New York back to Los Angeles as a tween, Doja Cat sampled popular artists of the time and engaged with their music on her own SoundCloud demos. Other artists she has cited as inspiring her are Drake, Nicki Minaj, Pharell, and Erykah Badu, who may have been influence for her sexually explicit and open nature.

03
What Is Doja Cat's Heritage?
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What Is Doja Cat's Heritage?

Doja Cat's father — who she has noted in numerous interviews, including one with The Los Angeles Times, was not a part of her childhood — is a South African actor and producer. She said her heritage is sometimes used to sample other genres of music to make something entirely new, claiming, "Yeah, this album ["Hot Pink"] is a lot more African influenced," she said. "I can sample Blink-182 but put an African vocal sample in there. The whole song feels like you're in a tropical forest."

04
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Was Doja Cat Featured on the Empire Soundtrack?

Before her career took off with her 2019 hit "Say So," Doja Cat could be spotted on"Empire"'s first season, episode three. Her debut single "So High" was described by Fader as "spacey, eastern-influenced R&B."

05
What Are Doja Cat's Favorite Memes?
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What Are Doja Cat's Favorite Memes?

Although Doja Cat has inspired memes from her meme/music video hybrid "Mooo!" (and that Taco Bell Mexican pizza song) she told Crack magazine her favorite internet meme is the "it's an avocaaado!" video. Her digital presence is riddled with meme-esque references, which gives her the chance to really engage with her fanbase.

06
Was Doja Cat a Dancer?
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Was Doja Cat a Dancer?

Noting her dad was musically gifted, performing on Broadway for the "Lion King," Doja Cat admitted to trying her hand in break dancing at a young age. Doja Cat told Dazed, "I danced in a crew and competed around Los Angeles in organized underground cypher/battles."

08
What Has Doja Cat Said About Style?
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What Has Doja Cat Said About Style?

The singer is fairly open on social media, posting a series of sexy pictures and give-no-f*cks stories. Her openness with her body in photos may be a bit intimidating when projecting to over 2.3 million subscribers. However, she told Crack, "I struggle a lot because I have a really fat ass and nothing else on my body matches it. It's like I've stolen someone else's lower half. If I find pants that hug everything and act as Spanx, nobody can f*ck with me, I'm on top of the world."

09
What Inspires Doja Cat's Music?
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What Inspires Doja Cat's Music?

What makes her nostalgic is "rain and 90s cartoons," Doja Cat told Crack, which may be what influenced her to create "Tia Tamera," a single inspired by Sister, Sister. If you check out her Instagram feed, you'll see quite a lot of neon, bodysuits, "Clueless"-like outfits.

10
What Was Doja Cat's First Job?
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What Was Doja Cat's First Job?

Never having worked behind a counter, Doja Cat says she hasn't had the "typical job" experience most young people have while in school. At an early age, Doja Cat made demos for GarageBand and SoundCloud and eventually got the traction she needed to garner an audience. Her writing process happens best at night, she told The Fader, and can sometimes come quickly, as "Mooo!" was written and the video made in 12 1/2 hours.

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Are Doja Cat and Saweetie Best Friends?

While Doja and Saweetie dominated the airwaves in 2021 with their hit "Best Friend," are the musical duo really besties in tessies? Back around the time of the track's release in Jan. 2021, Saweetie told Extra TV, "I love Doja Cat, I met her about two years ago. I've always been a fan of her work, she works super hard, she's talented."