Appearing in the May issue of Black Menís Magazine, Ms. Crystal Lee is truly a rare find. Not just in physical appearance, but in location, as well. The Denver resident is as fair as the snow, but never icy. And as she warms up to Beauty & Brains, Ms. Crystal Lee talks about how modeling can break up a happy home, why pretty girls get lonely too.
Beauty & Brains: When has being too nice ever got you in trouble?
CL: In relation to girlfriends, I inherently want to believe that there are good woman out there who want to share in that happiness like my mother and grandmother had. When youíre nice as a female, itís almost taken like youíre naÔve. Other girls want to take advantage of that, and I think thatís odd. I donít invest myself in a lot of relationships with women as a result of that. I avoid the whole thing all together. I rather make moves by myself instead of keeping a team of girls around me. It hurts me because thereís no longer that camaraderie. When jobs are presented, Iím usually the first person who gets thrown under the bus for their own well-being. What they donít know is I usually get by fine because people see right through that.
B&B: So, are you more business minded when it comes to modeling? Or are you interested in the perks?
CL: I would say that I am more business-minded. I only got into it for the business. Iím coming into the game late and Iíve made moves due to whatís best in mind. I can go to the club and get free drinks and whatnot; itís easier to find an athlete that it is to find a guy with a degree. If Iím going to be headed out to these clubs and all that and not getting paid, why not see if I can make some money off of it?
B&B: How would you describe yourself to those who donít know you?
CL: I would describe myself as a fun person. Realistically, Iím an athlete first. I am a person to relate to. I have been blessed with what people think is an ideal look or presence. I am a fun person to hang out with. People say to me that, ďItís something about me.Ē I love it when I hear that from someone. Itís almost like the greatest compliment to give to me. [Laughs] Itís like Iím the cool guy with the 39 inch ass!
B&B: You worked a Kim Kardashian/Dwayne Wade event, according to your resume. Do you think that you could give Ms. Kardashian a run for her money?
CL: Yeah, I think I couldÖ eventually. I have a little bit more growing to do within this industry. But the thing isÖ aside from her sex tape being the way she got on, what sheís done since then is in the admiration of a lot of people. Iíve admired it as well. There are guys that would still want to wife her up. I donít have a sex tape out there [laughs], but I think off of what I see for myself in the future, I can make it.
B&B: Have you ever broken up a happy home?
CL: Yes. Being in that lifestyle of beautiful women and powerful men, I have come across that. I was young and I wasnít respectful to someone elseís life. I had my little flying in and out of town, but that was when I was young. Karma really came back to bite me in the ass. I was reading this book called, The Secret, and it really talks about what you put out there in the world is what you get back. You donít really think about the stuff you do; you think about the now. I had a lot of things that shot me in the foot with my relationships. I was always putting the bad person out; the selfish Crystal. I would get what I want like trips and whatnot. I got that at the immediate, but the repercussions was too tough. I was lonely in the end.
B&B: In business and in love there are certain rules that people subscribe to. What are a few things that you would never sacrifice for the sake of being successful in either/or?
CL: Reputation. You only get to go around once with anything you do. For my own standards, I was bad and I didnít want to feel like in business or in love that someone couldnít trust me based on anything theyíve heard. Thatís the one thing I wouldnít sacrifice for anything. If it takes me a little bit longer to get known in this business, I can understand that, just as long as it doesnít complicate my life. This game is so competitive. But if you do it the right way, you can make it.
B&B: Now, you were in the Lyfe Jenningís ďCops UpĒ video as an extra. What did you see from being a part of that project that youíd like to utilize to have a more defined role in another music video?
CL: You know what? I couldnít really speak on it. The bad experience of going to these things is that there are a lot of politics as far as getting into a main role. Funny story is that I didnít get cast in the video. I was working with Shawna of Ethnicity Models and I had came down to see what goes on during a shoot. It was 10 hour day that was unpaid and I was hanging out with the other girls who were cast as extras. They left and I stuck it out. I got put into their spot. Iím right there at the beginning of the video. There really is a business side to this. I think that Iíll be alright once I pay more dues and people start seeing that Iím serious about this game. Once they do, I think itíll be respected.
B&B: You know you look good. But has their ever been a time where you just didnít care about how you looked?
CL: Yeah and thatís a big part of why I m doing it now. I experienced the whole ugly girl syndrome. I was in an abusive relationship. I wasnít even dressing the way that I do now. I was a 24-7 tomboy. [Laughs] I had been demoralized of thinking that I was nothing. After I got out of that, I never wanted my happiness to be compromised. The profession I was in before was that I had been working with abused women and it brought up a lot of old wounds. I was working there to help them. I had even got my degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Human Behavior. I didnít know how to style my hair until my junior year in college. I didnít really see myself as a sexual person. My first ďdamnĒ moment was when I moved to Denver. I started to see how people reacted to me. Lauryn Hill was right when she said that, ďPerception is reality.Ē I live in Denver. The little bit of stuff that Iíve done, which is more than the average, is magnified. I bartend, as well, so I interact with people and they canít understand it in the least. Itís been an interesting six month ride thatís going really quick and I love it. I am an overachiever; if I put something into doing something, Lord knows that itís going to be done and done well.
B&B: Is the trappings of being a beautiful woman more so because of menís adulation or is it the expectation that women put upon themselves?
CL: I think itís a little bit of both. Iím pretty sure that Kim Kardashian has her own insecurities about herself. Sheís not sitting there thinking about how perfect she is. Iím sure sheís somewhere working out and trying to maintain her look. Thatís just the nature of women. Weíre going to strive to be better. One always wants that. When I interact with people they think that there is something about me and that is the greatest compliment to me. If I get that from someone, then I know that Iíve presented myself the way that I wanted to.
B&B: Youíre an athlete too, right? By playing sports, you exhibited an amount of discipline. So, what is one thing that you just canít resist doing no matter how right or wrong it is?
CL: [Laughs] Eating after 12 oíclock. You know the little burritos that you can get after leaving from the club? Well, Iíll get me a few and turn into a fat girl after midnight. Late night eating is a habit of mine. I donít care if I have a [photo] shoot to do in the morning. I think itís my inner fat girl that comes out. It doesnít help either that I had a couple of cocktails. [Laughs] Thereís a man that comes in with a cooler of burritos and theyíre great. Before that, I used to be really into McDonaldís, but I had to stop that. I really take a lot of pride in my body.
B&B: Do you think that men can ever understand women? Or do you think that at the end of the day, itís all about who gets fucked for a purpose?
CL: I think its evolving to where men and women are on an even playing field. I donít think that women are looking at men like our mothers and grandmothers did. They just want to fuck something every now and then and thatís their choice to do so. Theyíre becoming more so like men. Men are looking for a higher quality of women, as well. Itís a little different for me. My standards are very high. I couldnít speak for the average woman, but Iím not just looking at men for how they look or what they have in their pockets. It has to be a vibe thing with me. I am guilty of being the one girl who is with the person that others would be surprised with. I have dated the super cool guys and whatnot. I am kind of a hopeless romantic. Iíd like to think that as with the times, and how I know how to play the game, I really appreciate the traditional approach. We were raised with traditional woman values. I like cooking for a man every night. I like making sure that stuff is taken care for me.
B&B: With the moves that youíve been trying to make in your career Ė what are a few limitations that youíve been through? How have they made you stronger? How do you feel the rest of the public [i.e. readers] should view you and your progress with your career?
CL: One of the major limitations of being in this business is not able to know anyone in this industry at all. I had moved to Florida and didnít have any connections. That was a big limitation. I learned a lot from all that. The stuff that you get now is a big part due to who you know and what your relationship is with them. Itís forced me to see the real from the fake. Iíve applied common sense and business sense to the people that Iím meeting. I think about how they can benefit me and what they expect from me. I weed out the bullshit by thinking that way. I get hit up on Myspace about jobs all the time. Or they say they can get me here and there and Iíll email a response back and ask what they do and ask for information.
B&B: As Beauty & Brains preps for its second anniversary of doing this Ė what are a few things that you want the readers to know and love about Ms. Crystal Renee Lee?
CL: I want them to know eventually that there is a story that I want to tell that will make all this worthwhile. I want them to know that there are still some cool, good looking women out there. Give the women who you think are stuck up a chance. Donít let your first impression be that sheís shallow or about money, because weíre just cool people with banging bodies.
Think the lovely lady is the next swag phenom? Be sure to check out her Myspace page at www.myspace.com/CrystalBuiltRight or [click here].