Amber Rose gets a bad rap. And I’m not just saying that because her photo serves as my iPhone wallpaper. But seriously. Is it really her fault that Kanye West chose to fall in love with a stripper from Philly and upgrade her to international arm candy du jour? When that level of fame falls in your lap, what other choice do you have but to whore it out? #NoPunIntended. Like she was really supposed to descend into ex-stripper hell after their breakup and throw two years of paparazi exposure down the drain?
Au contraire mon frère. Hence Rose’s ongoing media onslaught. Despite VH1’s decision to put the red light on her reality show (perhaps she wasn’t willing to get emotionally naked enough for their liking?), she’s still busy hawking Smirnoff Vodka (two new flavors, Whipped Cream and Fluffed Marshmallow), co-judging season two of the Smirnoff-sponsored “Master of the Mix” DJ competition on BET, working on a burgeoning straight-to-DVD film career, and, of course, her debut pop album. Hell, why not?
We recently spoke for 15 minutes (I know, right) on the phone about all of her promotional goings-on, her current relationship with rapper Wiz Khalifa, and how she weighs her sense of self-worth against the influx of celebrity worship/hate. But what I really wanted to know was how she manages being Amber Rose the commodity.
From the outside looking in, being Amber Rose seems like it’s filled with all kinds of ironies. Like this summer when those nude photos [NSFW] of you leaked, I remember you being upset and talking about how it caused you to lose a lucrative deal, but at the same time I’m sure it also increased your popularity, which adds to your value as a celebrity. Do you see the upside to the extra exposure and scrutiny you have to endure to be a hot commodity?
Amber Rose: Well, I mean, you know what it is — it’s Hollyweird. It’s like weird out there. It’s like your most embarrassing moments — the things that you think are gonna really just ruin your life and the things that you cry over — just make it better. It’s just weird.
I’m not gonna say that the pictures made it better, but honestly I think that people just don’t care. It’s like shit happens, you know, and that shit was out of my hands. So it happened, you know, and it’s unfortunate. I cried a lot. I was upset. I mean, I’m over it now. I have to be. But um, I don’t know, it’s just like that I guess.
In an age where women in the industry are demeaned and trashed as groupies and video hos, are you ever surprised at how much your fans seem to sympathize with your story in particular?
I mean, you know, I live my life very positive. I’m not a negative person. You don’t see me on Twitter like just talking down to girls, arguing with people, saying mean, evil things, being negative. I’m just a very positive person and I came from nothing, so I think a lot of people want to see me win. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, you know. So it’s kinda like when you watch that movie Set It Off, for instance: The girls are robbing banks and they’re killing people but you want them to keep the money, you want them to get away with the shit. So I think that’s kinda how people look at me.
So how hard was it for you to start stripping at 15?
All that stuff is like way, like, that’s the whole other story. But I mainly just wanted to have this interview to talk about Whipped and Fluffed, the Smirnoff campaign, and "Masters of the Mix" and stuff like that. So we’ll have another interview and talk about that another time.
Smirnoff is sponsoring “Master of the Mix,” right?
Yes, and I also have a Smirnoff campaign, it’s whipped cream and frosted marshmallow flavors. And I actually have two drinks coming out that go with the vodka, so they’re going to be like my own Amber Rose signature drinks. And they’re going to be at the bars all over the States and hopefully Europe. It’s really good, like the vodka tastes like candy. It’s awesome.
So I hear you’re writing a book and getting into music now. Is the book a novel?
Well I’m just going to have interesting stories, like romance novels and stuff like that, just based on true events in my life. Not just my life but my family and my friends, people that I know and things they’ve been through and stuff like that. But I’ll tell you like I tell everyone else, its not a tell-all book about anything or anyone that I’ve dated in the past. It’s just all-around good stories.
So what about the music?
I’m in the studio every single day, at least 12 to 14 hours a day I’m in the studio. Um, my music is fun, it’s upbeat, it’s dance music, and you know, I sing, I rap, I talk. I do everything. It’s just a lot of fun, you know what I’m sayin'.
So let me hear something. Spit a bar from one of your raps or something like that?
Naw, you gotta wait. That’s the big surprise; you have to wait. But it’s gonna be dope, man. I’m sticking behind my shit. You guys are gonna like it.
Who are you working with production-wise?
I can’t say anything about that right now. But I’m working with a few big, big, big names. And then I’m working with some up-and-coming people too that are just super-dope, and um, they have a whole different vibe.
People are obviously attracted to your look, but there's been so much mystery surrounding you until recently. Now that you’re starting to do interviews and spokesmodel and put yourself out in the public more, how do you make sure that the public infatuation with you doesn’t get played out?
You know, I just gotta continue to be me, and they either love me or they don’t. But I can’t worry about stuff like that. It just has to be organic. And I’m not gonna just oversaturate myself and throw myself into people’s faces. I just do what I feel like doing and that’s it.
I heard VH1 decided not to pick up your reality show because they wanted you to be crazier or whatever, but I’m sure you have to be getting offers from other networks to do whatever kind of reality show you want to do?
From the outside looking in, I’m sure it seems that way, and it’s not like they’re not offering me reality shows, but at the same time all networks pretty much want the same thing, and it’s just wack. It’s wack as hell. They want to edit your shit however they want to edit it, and I just feel like it’s not in God’s plan for me. God, he doesn’t want me to do that right now. That’s how I feel. So when something else comes along and it’s right, then I’ll go for it.
Are they suggesting that your regular life is too boring for TV?
No, it has nothing to do with that. It’s kind of some superficial inside shit that I’m not really ready to talk about. I’m gonna just keep it moving.
In your Vibe cover story you talked about how Kanye saw you as iconic even before you did. Looking back now, why don't you think you knew your worth before he came along?
Well, I mean, when I think of iconic, it’s not that I didn’t have confidence. I’m a South Philly chick, you know what I’m sayin'. I’m just a regular girl from the hood. It’s like for me, how I grew up, I’m Amber. I was always popular — everywhere I went, every time I walked into a room, they were like, "Who’s that girl? Where’s she from? What does she do?"
But I don’t know, I might have just been too humble. I just never looked at myself like that.
Do you ever feel like you’re Cinderella and the clock hasn’t struck 12 yet?
(Laughs) Well, I don’t think Cinderella constantly gets ridiculed by the public. So, no.
So you feel like you get more ridicule than celebrity worship?
I get a lot of love now on my Twitter, maybe for the past two months, since I started talking. But I still feel like sometimes I can say how I [really] am till I’m blue in the face and people still believe what they want. It doesn’t matter. And it’s not easy, but it’s life and that’s the shit that you have to deal with.
Would you say that’s the worst thing about being a celebrity now that you are one?
That’s one of the things, that people just lie and lie and lie and lie. Rumors and shit, like rumors hurt families, they hurt friends, they hurt people that you love. Internet rumors — it’s a bunch of people that are just bored with their life and they just post shit that’s irrelevant. It’s not true.
Do you get tired of defending your relationship with Wiz Khalifa in the media?
No, I’ll defend it until the day I die ’cause that’s my baby. He’s my life. When it comes to that, I don’t care. Wiz is my everything. Can’t nobody say shit about nothing, like I don’t need to defend it. Either they’re fans or they’re not fans.
Do you feel like you’re more equally yoked, or on the same level, with him than you felt you were with Kanye?
Nah, it’s just not the same. They’re not the same people. It’s not about levels. They have two totally different personalities.
What do you miss most about being the old Amber Rose before the fame and celebrity?
Just being able to walk through the mall. Being able to get up in the morning and have on sweat pants and go to the corner store and get a box of cereal. Nobody bothered me. I could just come and go as I please — I don’t want to say ‘bothered me,’ but I didn’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing. You just have your privacy taken away from you. Everybody’s eye is always on you when you’re a celebrity. You can’t just do normal things anymore.
You should try that one day anyway. I bet you’d be surprised at the reaction you’d get. People might be like, "Oh she’s keepin’ it real. She’s just going to the corner store with sweats on."
No, believe me, I try it. It does not work. Because I go to the corner store and then I gotta take a hundred pictures. And by the time I eat my cereal it’ll be three o’clock in the afternoon.
Smirnoff's Master of the Mix airs on BET. 12 midnight. Saturdays.
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