When Cardi B stepped onto the red carpet for Rihanna's third annual Diamond Ball charity event on Thursday night, she left everyone who laid eyes on her SHOOKETH. But the depth of her impact wasn't just because of her dress.

Cardi wore a STUNNING Christian Siriano mint green ball gown with coordinated Helen Yarmak jewelry.

cardi b rihanna diamond ball dress
photo: Splash

She looked like the belle of the ball. Hats off to her stylist, Kollin Carter.

The Dominican and Trinidadian rapper is our very own modern day Cinderella without ever presenting herself as a victim.

Cardi B
photo: Splash

The breathtaking moment wasn't just a fabulous pin to an epic run at New York Fashion Week (where she was front row at shows, performed at after-parties, and was loved up with her man, Offset, in the process).

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photo: Getty

All eyes were on her this season, but slaying is nothing new for someone who has been expressing herself through fashion for most of her life.

It was the culmination of an inspirational rise to the top of the music industry.

cardi b rihanna diamond ball
photo: Splash

Cardi has been unapologetic about her career as a stripper, and it's that same candid quality that made her blow up on Instagram. Just look at the videos she posts that are full of real talk on subjects most people would be too scared to broach publicly.

cardi b diamond ball
photo: Splash

Her social media presence got her a spot in the "Love & Hip Hop: New York" lineup, but she didn't stick around for long.

cardi b fashion
photo: Splash

Cardi was on her grind and put out two mixtapes, which she promoted to death. Their popularity ultimately earned her a record deal with Atlantic Records this summer.

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photo: Splash

"People really don't understand like, Atlantic signed me right? People don't understand that they signed me because I put out a free mixtape and it sold so much and it was free," Cardi told The FADER. "Like, the numbers don't lie. It's right there."

Now her song Bodak Yellow is everywhere. It's seated right behind Taylor Swift on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the highest charting female rapper since Nicki Minaj‘s “Anaconda” track from 2014.

cardi b fashion
photo: Splash

AND it was announced this week that she's leading the nominations for the BET Hip Hop Awards, tied with hitmakers DJ Khaled and Kendrick Lamar. That is so major!

Her hard work and growth has earned the respect of her peers in music and fashion.

So when you see Cardi taking everyone's breath away on the red carpet, make no mistake — the glow up is real, but it didn't come easy.

cardi b red carpet
photo: Getty