JCopeland Feature: Celebrity Song-Writer and Recording Artist India Shawn
Jeremiah: Elise, first off I want to say thank you so much for sitting down with me it really means a lot to me! How is life? How is everything going for you?
Elise Neal: Life is good and I feel good. I am in a great place with what is going on with me right now. I feel revised and rejuvenated and this summer has been nothing short of amazing so hopefully Oct.1st going into the fall things will continue to be amazing.
Jeremiah: You are one of the actresses people think about when you reminisce on classic black sitcoms, African American comedy films and etc. How does it feel to have had so much success and longevity in your career?
Elise Neal: Im going to be honest, I think it is because my journey is not trying to be a star. My journey consisted of traveling all over the world performing doing musicals, having 3 passports and building to hopefully becoming the next Debbie Allen, to becoming a person who is known for TV and Film. I believe that my longevity has to do with my versatility as a performer and actress. I think it is having the ability to play so many different roles that keeps me working and relevant in a sense.
Jeremiah: What as “That Role” that you finally sat back and realized that you had made your mark in the industry and was a respected working actress in this business?
Elise Neal: I would have to say “ Rosewood “. I auditioned for the movie about six times, John Singleton and Warner Bros had me come in and read with the guys that they were testing and a couple of other roles, simply because I was new to the part and they wanted to make sure that I could do it, and every time I went in there I had a positive spirit and kept telling myself “ I got this, this is my part” and I got it.
Jeremiah: What is your method on staying relevant but keeping your personal life private:
Elise: Whewww, Honey, It is hard trust me. I am very private. It is either a muscle that you have that you want people to know everything or you want people to know nothing at all and only know you for your talents. I try really hard to leave my personal life my personal life. I love Old Hollywood where they’re where no facebook’s and no twitter’s and the stars were STARS! You did not know about their personal life so you were able to fantasize about who you thought they were and nobody cared about who they were dating or what grocery store they were walking out of. I think that is was the beauty of being a star.
Jeremiah: Who were some of the people that helped mentor you in this industry and growing up.
Elise Neal: I actually have no mentors (laughs). But the closest person would be my mother! She was a very hard working individual. She was present in my life and always set a good example. I never felt like my sisters and I were neglected. She was always there. My father was there as well but watching my mother was what inspired me.
Jeremiah: What were some of your goals you set coming into 2012?
Elise Neal: That’s a really great question, one of my goals that I set for this year has already come to light and that is continuing and furthering my work with my charity at the “St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital “. I am originally from Memphis Tennessee and being able to have a great, huge charity like “ St Jude’s “ reach out to me and ask me to be involved in the organization means a lot. I call them all the time trying to come up with new ideas and events. I love what they do for the children and the parents of the children and all that they do.
I also wanted to get back on television this year, which I did as well with my new show “Bell” that’s coming out on TVONE, with myself and Tami Roman, also working on moving into more producing.
Jeremiah: What are something’s that you have NOT accomplished yet this year?
Elise Neal: Still working my Oscar!!
Jeremiah: Well, TODAY OCT:4TH 2012, You will be making a special appearance on a certain HIGHLY ACCLAIMED Television show ABC which I will let you announce, tell me about that role and how it came about?
Elise Neal: WOW, I am so incredibly excited for everyone to see me on this role on the hit ABC show “ SCANDAL “. I have always worked off and on with ABC so it was only fit. It takes a certain type of person to be able to play and pull off all of the layers of this character and I do not want to give anything away but just know that you are in for a treat!
Jeremiah: What is one role you have not played yet that you would love too
Elise Neal: Killer Assassin, That would be so much fun. I still have not played a Crack Head (LAUGHS) but I would love to be an Assassin.
Jeremiah: What is Elise’s favorite city?
Elise Neal: Everyone knows my favorite city is my home town Memphis Tennessee but if you asked me where would I retire and live if I had to choose anywhere in the world it would be Paris, France. I love Paris. I would be Tina Turner and retire in Paris.
Jeremiah: What is another community project that you would love to get your hands on?
Elise Neal: I would love to open my own dance school in Memphis that offers a couple free classes and just have a space and a outlet for young men and woman to learn the art of dance, acting and performance at the Elise Neal Academy.
Jeremiah: Is there anything else about you personally that you want your fans to know that they do not already know?
Elise Neal: NOPE! HAHA, Not me “personally” I really want people to know me for my work and I will keep my private life to myself. I will give this, I am a girl from Memphis Tennessee, love bbq, hood music and all that comes with that (laughs), but I have had the fortunate life to be able to travel the world doing what I love! I am hood girl that had a dream and it worked out!
JCFeature: Exclusive Interview with Recording Artist/Reality Star K Michelle from VH1 “Love and Hip Hop” Atlanta
JC: First of all I just want to say thank you for agreeing to sit down with me today, means a lot. Who is K Michelle; explain to my readers who you are?
K Michelle: I am a single mother, recording artist and a cool down to earth person.
JC: How did you end up on Love and Hip Hop Atlanta?
K Michelle: I had spoke with Mona about being on the New York Cast but that did not work out for whatever reason. I ended up in Atlanta working for a little bit so when the opportunity jumped back on I took it.
JC: After watching the New York Season what made you still want to be apart of the show?
K Michelle: It was an opportunity for me to tell my story and what was going on with me recently.
JC: What was the hardest thing that you had to expose about you on the show?
K Michelle: Nothing was hard for me to expose, I am a real person and that’s what my fans love about me.
JC: How have your music fans embraced you being on the show?
K Michelle: They have been amazing, I have gained a ton of fans and they have been great.
JC: Being on reality TV, it can really make your career or break it to the point where people do not take you serious as an “artist”, have you been cautious about how you act on television because of that?
K Michelle: I just being me
JC: Was being on reality TV something that you seen in your career path years ago?
K Michelle: Yes I actually envisioned having my own show, which did not turn out how I planned it, but that is life. So when this opportunity came up, I was prepared for it.
JC: What made you move to Atlanta?
K Michelle: I really do not love Atlanta, I came here from LA to work on getting my deal and to record the show, made a lot of great connections but it is not for me. I probably will not be here for another weak.
JC: Describe each cast member with one word.
K Michelle: Mimi is strong, Erica is amazing, I love her, and Rasheeda is……… I don’t know, Karlie Redd is an absolute Liar and lastly Joseline is very misguided.
JC: What is K Michelle working on musically?
K Michelle: Well my mixtape just came out last week which is titles “ 0 Fucks Given, The mixtape is just a lot of different things. I’m not just one kind of artist. I love different kinds of music. It shows my personality, also I am working on an E.P / Album and focused on being a mother beyond anything else.
JC: Will you return for another season of Love and Hip Hop?
K Michelle: You never know, it has not been a bad outcome to me, so why not.
JC: First, I really want to thank you for being patient and sitting down with me to do this interview after months of delay. Bonita tell the readers who are not familiar with you a little bit about who you are and your background.
Bonita: Well, my name is Bonita, I am from Brooklyn New York, I have been singing forever, but I got my start in the game singing hooks on songs for rappers. Predominately I worked with DipSet crew, I was on about four albums that they released and about 5 Mixtapes that they released as well. So doing that gave me a little taste of the industry starting out. Then from there I started opening up for certain artists like Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Monica, Fantasia and a few other people. After all that I decided to do something for myself so I cut my first single and started working on the release of my first project.
JC: Coming from Brooklyn NYC, How did you stay out of trouble and stay focused on your music and goals growing up?
Bonita: I am the only child and raised by my mother and grandmother, they kept me focused. I was/am very family oriented and stay in a lot of after school programs. I was in everything that you can possibly think of, so even though there was a lot going on around me I always had a good foundation.
JC: How did you end up in Atlanta?
Bonita: I was at a point where I was about to sign a deal with Universal Records, I had “OK” Management that resulted in me loosing that deal with Atlantic, I had just broke up with my boyfriend that I thought was my whole world and I was always going back and forth to ATL working with this producer that I had met. The producer was big time, had a long list of people that he worked with and had started off with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, so he put me under his wing and that was my mentor. Soon after he decided he wanted me to be his artist, I moved into one of my mother’s properties in Atlanta, came, moved and loved it.
JC: How do you deal with writing music for yourself and writing for other artists? How do you choose what is for you and what you will give away?
Bonita: It was hard at first because I remember when I first started writing songs for people I would always battle with the songs I loved that I wrote for others because I would want them for myself. But If I am writing for someone I don’t give them myself and I take myself out of my equation so that I will not get too attached or confused.
JC: What is the “Bonita” Music Category?
Bonita: I am Hip Hop/Soul; I make music that means something. Classic.
JC: What is your taste in fashion and look as an artist on the wardrobe aspect?
Bonita: I am girl next door, love fashion, Love Reeboks, nice jeans and a T shirt, Big earrings and big hair, vintage and classic but still classic.
JC: Favorite Fashion Spot in Atlanta
Bonita: I love 5 Points in Downtown Atlanta, think I have purchased at least one thing from every shop down there (laughs).
JC: What keeps you humble and low key but still able to keep buzz?
Bonita: I just feel like at the end of the day I want my music to speak for me. I do not want to have to be flamboyant and in your face about it. I want you to have to come to me I want to keep that mystery. I just like things to happen. That is what I am about.
JC: If you can call anyone up for a feature on a song who would it be?
Bonita: Common, I love him and of course Jay Z
JC: What is Bonita currently working on?
Bonita: Well I am working on my EP “Bonita Who “, which will drop very soon. I am releasing my second single “ Hip Hop Gone “ and we are doing a HUGE video for it in Brooklyn, it’s going to be a huge block party and event for the community. Working on building press and media for this single release. This one is my baby!
JC: Why should people support Bonita as an artist out of all the new artists coming out?
Bonita: Everyone has his or her own opinion. I want you to feel good, relate to my music, feel smooth, and jam out. I want people to feel like if they had a dollar and could be a sandwich or my music that they would choose my music.
Jeremy Copeland: Who is Atiba NewSome?
Atiba: I am a stylist, a songwriter and an aspiring photographer.
Jeremy Copeland: When did you realize you had a gift for styling?
Atiba: Honestly, I realized it really late, I thought that every job I had gotten and made it through, I was fooling everyone pretty much, I did not think I was skilled, I did not feel like I had a gift, I just knew I was good at making shit happen. It wasn’t until I was styling “Mary J Blige” and she told me “ Your Confidence Threatens People “and how great and talented I was that It finally hit me that maybe I wasn’t just bullshitting around and maybe I was actually doing something right. She had also had another stylist at the time and since Puff was producing her album and also he was my agent, he really pushed for me to work with her and honestly I did not think he was pushing for me because I was talented, I thought he was pushing for me because he wanted that check (laughs) but that was not the case. Soon after working with me she then fired her stylist and hired me to work with her from that point and that’s when I scored the cover of her “ Love and Life “ Album.
Jeremy Copeland: Is ever there a point now where you sit back now and think “ What more can I do “?
Atiba: There is always something to do. Fashion is ever changing
Jeremy Copeland: What artists are hit and miss for you in fashion?
Atiba: You have Rihanna who is a fashion maverick and keep stylists on their toes and she continues to do things that either people never thought of or are afraid to do! A lot of clients are scared to try new things because they do not want to be on the worst dressed list or afraid of how their body will look, but she is a rebel, sometimes she looks crazy and sometimes she looks amazing! But owns everything she wears and that is what I love about her. Or you can go with something safer like Victoria Beckham, when I mean, how many times can you wear a little fitted dress and a pair of Louboutins. After a while it gets old. I get it that’s it’s a nice classic look but I like girls who are not afraid to be different and think outside the box. That’s why I also love Katy Perry as well she takes risks but still looks beautiful while doing that. Then you have artists like Nicki Minaj and Lady GaGa who just do ……..Whatever (Laughs).
Jeremy Copeland: People really know you mainstream from being on “Reality TV Show House Of Glam” on Oxygen. Do you feel like doing Reality TV helps your brand or water it down?
Atiba: I think it helps your brand, I know a lot of people, major celebrities shopping their own shows and filming there own shows now. It can really open a lot of doors if done correctly. It’s a way of staying relevant and it even makes people who are really nobody become somebody. Everyone is his or her own brand now. From doing House Of Glam I got to work with Prince so it can open doors.
Jeremy Copeland: What do you think about these self-proclaimed stylists who work with one artist and then they run around calling themselves celebrity stylists. Does that offend you, someone who has been in this industry for so long?
Atiba: It is kind of like a double edge sword because on one end I get it. I get self-promotion and if you don’t pump and promote yourself nobody will. But also it is kind of disrespectful to the stylists who have put in 15-20 years in this game and you get these new kids who will work for free or work for half your rate and with the industry being so tight with the dollar right now of course they are going to go with the new kid for $700 instead of $2700 a day. New Kid is going to sell them a dream and of course they are going to buy it but at the end of the day is New Kid going to last in the long run? Talent tells it all, talent speaks for itself. I have seen so many new stylists come and go. Its funny because certain people can be one trick pony’s to me, the real talented stylists can do the Men, Women, Hip-Hop, Pop, Country, Heavy Metal, Commercial, Editorial, Red Carpet, press events, everyday, Costume, everything. So those self proclaimed stylists, we will see what happens. Good luck to them, I have seen them come and I have seen them go and Im still here.
Jeremy Copeland: Who is one artist you would love to work with?
Atiba: I love Azalea Banks, would love to work with her, she has a I don’t give a fuck style and attitude which I love. She is so talented. I also love Janet Jackson, I just haven’t liked her style since the Control album when she was rocking the blazers, shirts buttoned up too the top, rolling up the sleeves and all that fly shit. So I really would love to just take her from this boring Santa Monica beach meets California valley look and throw some style back on her.
Jeremy Copeland: Where would you say was a hidden city of fashion?
Atiba: Besides Paris, I would say Japan. Japan has amazing stores. I love London and Japan.
Jeremy Copeland: When shopping for a client what should you have in your stylist bag.
Atiba: Anything that will make the client comfortable. The smallest things matter, the right belts, underwear, clips, under garments, spanks etc. I even bring hand warmers for the client if they are cold, panty liners, and double stick tape. If they ask for all white, you bring all white and black because clients change their mind all the time and you must be prepared! Just be prepared for anything!
Jeremy Copeland: Who would you say has given you the most advice/Knowledge in this industry?
Atiba: Puff without a doubt, he always told me if you want 10 ask for 20. I never seen him take no for an answer, I have seen this man sell water to a whale, like, when he has a vision he makes it come to light. There have been times where I have seen him ask for things and I personally think there is no way he is going to pull that off and he does every single time. When you really want something you can get it. When I focus on something I can get whatever I want, we can do anything as a people. Above all I am so content, I don’t need too much I am happy and blessed. I am able to travel, take care of my family and myself and live beyond comfortable and I thank everyone who contributed to my success.
Jeremy Copeland: What is Atiba working on now?
Atiba: Well right now I am working on “EMPIRE GIRLS” on the Style Network starring Adrienne Bailon and Jullissa Bermudez; this is a reality show about two best friends living in New York, trying to make things happen for them. Show is currently on the air now so check it out!
Jeremy Copeland: What is some advice you could give aspiring stylists and working stylists?
Atiba: For the aspiring stylists, intern for someone like I did, you cannot come in thinking your just going to style a huge client because that is not how it works and that’s not going to happen unless someone is hooking you up or your related to them. You have to come in and learn hands on from watching someone else and that is what I did. I interned for June Ambrose and then later on worked for Eric Archibald who introduced me to June Ambrose. Working for them, watching them and seeing how they operate taught me how to work on a job and be professional. It wasn’t until after the groomed me and I felt I was ready to step out that I went out on my own and left from under their wings. Advice for someone that is already established would have to be just do your job, don’t get too personal with the clients, remain professional, always show up looking like the stylist, don’t look like the assistant and really save up your money and be smart with your paper.
Jeremy Copeland: Trina Braxton, how I have waited so long for this day to interview you, How are you?
Trina Braxton: Im a little hungry , because I am on a diet but outside of that I am doing great.
Jeremy Copeland: Before we jump right into your music endeavors, lets talk about your background and family for a second. We all became familiar with you on a mainstream level as being apart of the Hit show ” Braxton Family Values “. What was it like opening your life and issues for the cameras and the world to see and judge?
Trina Braxton: It was very interesting, it is not as easy as it looks, allowing your life to become an open book for the world to see, not just because it is hard to watch yourself and re-live a moment but also because you open yourself up too so many other opinions. People are only getting a one hour glimpse into your life every week but yet they act like they know everything about your life and while we do invite them for that moment in time it can be difficult.
Jeremy Copeland: It is no secret that the break out star of the Braxton family is your sister Toni who has broken records and has sold millions upon millions, being that you are now breaking into this field do you feel like you have the obligation to live up to that?
Trina Braxton: Toni is a veteran, she has been in the recording industry for over 20 years now. But we also cannot say that I am just now breaking into this field because we were the Braxton’s as a complete group with all 5 sisters and then we were the Braxton’s with just myself, Towanda and Tamar, this is just my first time recording by myself. But to answer your question it is very nerve wrecking to be solo and try to have to live up to the status of a sibling. I believe had we not been sisters it would be a horse with different colors because people will always do the comparison thing and especially since we are cut from the same clothe people will be quick to say ” You Do not Look Like Your Sister ” or ” You Do Not Sound Like Your Sister ” and that is fine with me because we are two separate artists.
Jeremy Copeland: Describe all of your sisters in one word.
Trina Braxton: Tamar = Busy body . Towanda = Loyal . Tracy = Funny . Toni = Maternal
Jeremy Copeland: Growing up, who did you look up too the most and viewed as a role model?
Trina Braxton: My mother, she is the most virtuous woman that I know. I hope that does not sound cliche but it is true. I am not saying that she is without mistake but she has always done the best she could. She does not allow anyone to speak to her any kind of way and even though she respects us as grown woman she is still not going to allow us to disrespect her just because we feel like we are grown.
Jeremy Copeland: Was music always your passion and goal as a child or is this something that you did because it was in the family?
Trina Braxton: We were born to sing so I believe it was already in our nature as a whole. However, there were always many other things that I wanted to do. I always wanted to be an actress, which I am doing now, I used to want to be a model when I was tall and thin back in the day but I am not as thin anymore ( Laughs ), But acting and music has always been my passion.
Jeremy Copeland: What makes Trina smile?
Trina Braxton: OH Jeremy! A really great book and my children
Jeremy Copeland: Lets talk about this latest project, your recording, performing ETC. What is the sound and vision for this project that you have coming out?
Trina Braxton: My sound is very different from the rest of my sisters, I am very ” RETRO POP “. I wanted to do something that reflected myself and my personality so I decided to think outside of the box. When you think about the Braxton sisters you always thing about Rnb Soul music and while I love RNB music that is not who I am as a person and artist individually. I am a real jeans and t shirt Def Leppard kind of chick. So I wanted to do an EP that reflected that and who I am as a person.
Jeremy Copeland: What is the name of your E.P
Trina Braxton: Time of my life, it is about my life my struggle and very retro pop!
Jeremy Copeland: Why do music now?
Trina Braxton: There was always music, however, I would have love to have done a project with my sisters but we had creative differences. I told myself If I am every going to do music again now is the perfect time especially with the platform of the show, and not just that but I am getting older and music is turning to the younger generation but just because it is it does not mean that I am out for the count. So that is why I decided to do it now.
Jeremy Copeland: Will there be dancers on this project and if so what do you look for in dancers when choosing them to perform with you?
Trina Braxton: I can be very Choreographically challenged (Laughs) so I need dancers who will compliment me.
Jeremy Copeland: As far as image and your over-all look? What is that Trina Braxton Image going to be?
Trina Braxton: Comfort, relaxed, I would love to go out with a tank top and jeans, thats not what people what to see, but I do not plan on being the major glamour girl. My hair and nails will be done of course, but I will be comfortable.
Jeremy Copeland: Do you plan on having any major features on your new music projects and if so who can you exclusively tell for this interview?
Trina Braxton: Cannot say just yet but you will hear some amazing cameos.
Jeremy Copeland: Would you consider doing features with Tamar or Toni?
Trina Braxton: I would love to do a feature will all my sisters! At least one song on the EP.
Jeremy Copeland: If you could compare your sound to anyone who could you close match it too?
Trina Braxton: Neon Hitch
Jeremy Copeland: What is Trina’s biggest fear?
Trina Braxton: Failure, It is not an option. I refuse to take failure lying down, if it does not work I will go to the drawing board and figure it out.
Jeremy Copeland: Biggest let down?
Trina Braxton: Myself, getting a DUI, because I am better and knew better. I overcame it by not letting it to consume me and letting friends and family help.
Jeremy Copeland: Advice with Alcohol addiction?
Trina Braxton: ASK FOR HELP and do not be afraid to talk about it. When we keep it inside we turn to other things, so you must talk to someone.
Jeremy Copeland: Would you consider doing a reality tv show following your journey through music?
Trina Braxton: Yes, I would consider, I think people need to see the good, bad and the ugly. Growing up I always had the security of having the record company take care of everything for me but now that I am independent It EXPENSIVE (Laughs). I have to pay for the videos and shows, tours, re-establish relationships with promoters and radio stations and make sure I get single play, hiring and firing, everything falls on my lap. My heart goes out to every artist doing it independent because It is not easy at all.
Jeremy Copeland: Favorite Designers!
Trina Braxton: One of my favorite designers for jeans has to be Chip & Pepper. I also love Reco Chapple, I Love him
Jeremy Copeland: Favorite Artists!
Trina Braxton: Def Leppard, Dave Matthews, Toni Braxton, Kelly Rowland and of course myself.
Jeremy Copeland: Favorite Magazines!
Trina Braxton: IN-Touch, Us Weekly, Upscale, and Sister 2 Sister
Jeremy Copeland: Favorite book
Trina Braxton: Pride and Prejudice I read it every year
Jeremy Copeland: Favorite Beauty Products?
Trina Braxton: Carols Daughter, Light curl booster because my hair is natural underneath the extensions of course (Laughs), so whenever I take a break from my extensions and hair is natural I use the light curl booster because other wise I have a high shrinkage rate and I end up looking like Ester Rolle (Laughs)
Jeremy Copeland: What are your views on Beyonce?
Trina Braxton: Beyonce is a PHENOMENAL ENTERTAINER and anyone who says she is not is a hater. I believe there are also amazing entertainers as well but I respect her craft as a whole, she is amazing.
Jeremy Copeland: What is one thing people mis-understand about Trina that you want to clear the air about?
Trina Braxton: People seem to think that I just sit around and drink all day and that is not the case. I have been working on scholarship programs and working on the importance of education! College/Education is very important to me and I cannot stress that I will never take lightly.
Jeremy Copeland: Would you ever do Dancing with The Stars?
Trina Braxton: Absolutely, I think I might need too, to help me on my 2 and 4’s because sometimes I be on my 1 and 3’s
Jeremy Copeland: Goals for the rest of the year
Trina Braxton: Finish E.P, Thats high on my priority list, go back to school and finish my Masters and get my Music Video out there! OH, also something that I can’t either confirm or deny, Season 3 of “Braxton Family Values”! And when the video comes out lets do another interview again I would love to work with you again. This was fun!
Jeremy Copeland: The infamous Tami Roman, Thank you so much for sitting down with me for this interview. I have been trying to book you for JeremiahCopeland.Com since the last season of Basketball Wives Miami so it means a lot. How are you and how is life?
Tami Roman: Things have been going really well. The new season of Basketball Wives is in rotation right now and doing really well, I have my T-Shirt line out right now that I am promoting, I just signed on to be the face of the new Bronner Bros product called 4Natural, I am producing movies now, I just did this short film called “ The Tomb “ which will be screening in Atlanta on March 31st, So I really just have my hands in a lot of places right now.
Jeremy Copeland: Why did you decide to sign on for another season of Basketball Wives Miami?
Tami Roman: Originally I was not going to come back to the show. But when I did decided to do so, I tried to figure out ways I could add substance and value to this particular season. It is reality television, people are going to get the drama, the bullshit, watch us drink a million drinks and eat a million dinners but I actually wanted to figure out what I could talk about that actually had some value.
Jeremy Copeland: Last season the editing of the show painted a picture of you being somewhat of a loose cannon and/or bully to the other girls, being loud and quick to snap and fight and also being label un-classy. Are you happy with this new season and the way that Tami is being portrayed?
Tami Roman: I try not to put or blame anything off onto the editing/editors. My reactions are my reactions and up until this particular season I felt that they did a very decent job trying to show people the real story and what actually happens when I react. I have to say with this season I have very discontent because its like, people are seeing my react but they are not seeing the moment that lead up to that initial reaction, they are not seeing the full story of what actually happened, so this would be the first time where I will say that I do not think the editing is providing the full truth.
Jeremy Copeland: What was it like filming this new season starting off in New York City?
Tami Roman: I loved being in New York, I am from NY and I still have a residence in New Jersey, so it was like being home for me. I feel like we beat the Miami course (laughs), all of the girls are kind of tired of Miami and we are hoping that if there were a season five that we could start fresh with a new location and take on new ventures, new atmosphere and new people in a new place. But for me New York was great.
Jeremy Copeland: What is it like opening up your life for reality television cameras and for the world to see and judge?
Tami Roman: (Sigh) well, for me, I just try to use my life as an example is some way form or fashion. I am not saying that I am perfect; I am not saying that I am a role model, what I am saying is, this is my journey, I am allowing you to watch as I take it, I am not always going to make the proper decisions or hand things the way the viewers or anyone else may handle it but I am allowing people to see that I am as transparent as I can be and I just try to always be myself in those moments.
Jeremy Copeland: What is the hardest thing you had to adjust to being on reality television?
Tami Roman: Well most people know by now that I came off of MTV’s Real World and I have to say the biggest difference that and the 14 years of time of me getting back onto reality television is the social media aspect of things, that is taking a lot for me to adjust too. Because when I did the real world, if someone had something to say that had to sit down and actually write and letter and mail it in, But now its like when people are watching the show in real time they can tweet and facebook or whatever and voice their opinions right then and there, So you kind of hear what people have to say right at that moment. Its like, if I am watching the show and I Know where I am coming from during a confrontation and then a viewer is watching and they want to tweet me and call me a Bitch without knowing what is going on it can bother you but like I said I am adjusting.
Jeremy Copeland: Talk to me about your opinions of the new two additions to the Basketball Wives Miami Cast and your views of them.
Tami Roman: I’ll start with Kenya first, you know a lot of people think that Kenya is crazy and trust me I do too but I think it is a good kind of crazy. She has that aspect in her personality that if you push her far enough she is going to go off. At the same time she is kind hearted and I am not saying that I am #TEAMKENYA But out of the two!!!!! (LAUGHS), I definitely prefer her. Then with Keisha I just DON’T LIKE HER! Again I do not like her, I think she is manipulative, She came on the she by way of one of the highest executive producers over our show and I think at this particular moment they are doing a lot to make her look like a victim and make me seem like the angry black woman and I just do not think that is fair to the viewers because they are not getting the full story and this (Young Lady), because I do not want to call her anything else at the moment, is really not being truthful and not being herself, there are a lot of secrets, behind the scenes lip boxing, that she does that usually causes my reaction to get crazy with her.
Jeremy Copeland: What has made Tami that blunt, say it how you feel, I am going to speak my mind whether you like it or not woman?
Tami Roman: Just basically the things I have gone through in my life. There have been situations where I could not speak up for myself and/or didn’t speak up for myself because I did not know how people would receive the information, and with doing that I was violated a lot of times, in different situations throughout my life and I just got to the point where I had enough and decided not to be that person anymore. I am going to say what is on my mind, you either accept it or you don’t and that is that but you will always know you are getting the truth from me.
Jeremy Copeland: What was it about the movie industry and acting that gravitated you towards it and made you take it serious?
Tami Roman: Well for me when I came off of the real word reality tv was so new that people did not realize that we were just being ourselves and they thought we were actors. So after the show I started getting a lot of auditions and gigs for acting, got myself an agent and kind of fell into acting and I have been consistently doing it for about 13 years before returning back to reality television on Vh1 Basketball Wives.
Jeremy Copeland: What is your favorite monologue to do at auditions:
Tami Roman: I like to do a monologue from a play that focuses on a lady who is an alcoholic and ends up accidently killing her husband in the bathtub and while she is dealing with that she is having this conversation with God asking him why he made her that way and why she had to be an alcoholic out of all things and I think it is a very powerful monologue because a lot of people think that God is responsible for where they are in their lives without taking responsibility and realizing that it is our choice and decisions that put us where we are.
Jeremy Copeland: What made you decided to open up and speak on the abuse and rape in your life on this season of basketball wives?
Tami Roman: I felt like I was known for being very open and transparent about things in my life, I do not try to hide anything or put on a front. I wanted to use this platform and moment I had with basketball wives to speak on this and really make a difference and share that it can happen to anyone. The responses were phenomenal, a lot of woman hit me on twitter, hit me on facebook, email and let me know that I was not alone and that they either went through that or knew someone that did and I am happy I was able to take the focus just off drama and onto something serious.
Jeremy Copeland: With the situation regarding the Abuse, what was the final straw that made you decided to be strong and get out of that relationship and situation?
Tami Roman: I am raising two daughters and for me it was important that I showed them that you must be strong in any relationship and if I stayed in that abusive situation with my ex husband where then seen someone demine me and disrespect me as a person on a daily basis, be-little my character, physically abuse me then what am I teaching them? That is the reason why I chose to step outside of my marriage, for the sake of my daughters and the futures that I want them to have. People say “ You left that money and cars and etc “ and for me, all of that is materialistic and can be replaced but you can never replace your sanity, dignity and integrity. That is why I got of that situation of abuse.
Jeremy Copeland: Who would you say has changed the most from last season to now on Basketball Wives?
Tami Roman: I don’t know if I can say if they have changed the most, but I can see different elements of each person’s personality that I might not have seen from the beginning. I think as the season goes on people are going to see a very different Jennifer and even myself, when I met Jennifer I thought that she was boujie and I still say/think that too this day, but there has been some other epiphanies (laughs) over the course of the season that has not played out yet and so I cannot wait for people to see that. People will see a different semi relationship with Royce, Royce and I have always been very cool with each other but I think with the addition of the new chicks and her friendship with Keisha, it has put a thorn in our friendship and how she is handling it.
Jeremy Copeland: What have your daughters been up too since last season?
Tami Roman: They will be on the show later on in the season. One of my girls is an actress and the other is a rapper and Jazz has just been offered the opportunity to go on tour with Diggy Simmons and the OMG Gurlz as the opening act for their school tour and my other daughter is college bound in her acting classes. They both are working and following their own path.
Jeremy Copeland: What keeps a smile on your face?
Tami Roman: My Daughters, Waking up every morning, Doing what I love to do on a daily basis in this industry and my happy relationship with my significant other.
Jeremy Copeland: Do you see yourself signing up for a new season of Basketball Wives?
Tami Roman: I am not opposed to it.
Jeremy Copeland: How do you feel about the articles that are written about VH1 Basketball Wives being a mis-representation of a TRUE Basketball Wife?
Tami Roman: To a point they are right, it is actually one sided, all they choose to show is drama of certain moments, those moments happen once and they draw it our for 3-4 episodes and its like they refuse to show us doing our business ventures, they refuse footage of me with my family, the refuse to me with my charity “ Project Girls “ all of that stuff may end up online or on the cutting room floor because the drama is going to out weigh that, so it is actually a misrepresentation because we are all far more than what they choose to show.
Jeremy Copeland: What is one thing that you want your fans to really grasp about Tami Roman?
Tami Roman: The most important thing is that they cannot look at several hours of footage over the course of the season and think they know all about our personality, our character and who we are. They have to really understand that this is a T.V Show, so within that concept, they have to make it entertaining, they have to make it dramatic so that people will continue to watch, but that is not all I am. I am not going to say that what is being showed is not apart of my personality because YES, I will go off on you, you come at my improperly it is going to go down indeed, so yes that’s true but that is not all I am about I do not walk around with boxing gloves and hate everyone that I meet, I am a very nice and caring person, If I call you a friend then I will give you the shirt off my back, but those are elements of my personality that does not work for this show. People edit us to be a certain character on the show. Basketball Wives is for entertainment purposes only. It is not a show full of role models and examples for children because we are human and things are going to be said and happen.
Jeremy Copeland: How do you feel about the article written by Tionna Smalls when she called you and the other Basketball Wives “ BITCHES WHO HAVE NOTHING TO SAY “?
Tami Roman: Well for those who do not know, Miss Tionna Smalls wrote an article stating that Basketball Wives in particular dumbs down a person and lowers your I.Q. Well, I don’t know how you could make that specific to basketball wives when there is MOB Wives, Real Housewives, Jersey Shore, like there is so many shows out just like basketball wives that I think her statement was stupid and had no substance. Like lets be real we are on VH1, Not T.L.C, Discovery, CNN, History Channel like let’s be real. Then on top of that she wanted to chastise us about using the word “ Bitch “ when in the same article she called us “ Dumb Bitches who have nothing to say “ So its even a word you use, your throwing a stone when you live in a glass how. If you are allowing T.V to be the teacher in your house then you need to take a good look at yourself because all these shows are for entertainment purposes only unless you are watching educational programming. So did I give you everything you needed??? (LAUGHS).