Daughter of Wu-sampled Booker T. Jones, Olivia explains her role on Candy Girls, and how brains complements her beauty.
In the first installment of Beauty & Brains four-part series with the lovely ladies featured on E! Entertainment’s Candy Girls, the aggressive, take-no-shit “bad” girl Terricka Cason was introduced to HipHopDX. And so it’s only right that for the second edition of this special B&B series we showcase the diversity of personalities that exist in the music modeling world by introducing the show’s somewhat reserved, soft-spoken “good” girl Olivia Jones.
The daughter of Memphis soul legend Booker T. (of Booker T. & the M.G.’s, whose “Green Onions,” “Hip Hug-Her” and “Melting Pot” have become the sonic foundation for many classic Hip Hop tracks), who hails from the swanky Bay Area tourist destination Tiburon, California, is definitely unlike her Candy Girls co-stars.
The youngest of the show’s cast is currently pursuing her MBA at UCLA, and after just a few short years of modeling (making her on screen debut in Young Dro’s “Rubberband Banks” video, and since gracing Usher’s “Love In This Club” and Snoop Dogg’s “Candy” clips just to name a couple) is already preparing in earnest for her post-video life.
While her usually laidback demeanor may come across to some (including one particular candy girl) as a sign of weakness, during her recent conversation with Beauty & Brains, Ms. Jones revealed herself to be a remarkably strong, impressively determined woman who understands that beauty fades, but brains are forever.
Beauty & Brains: Now you know the first question anybody who has seen Candy Girls wants to ask you is when the hell are you gonna finally go upside Terricka’s head [Laughs]?
Olivia Jones: [Laughs] Oh, that’s funny. Well actually, in the [“Rumor Control”] episode I ended up kinda going off on her [click to watch]. The episodes get more and more interesting, so the tension there definitely ends up boiling over.
B&B: I still don’t understand Terricka’s [click to read] mocking you for not eating fried chicken.
Olivia Jones: That’s a funny thing that happens a lot during the show. But, basically the girls and I are from such different backgrounds that we just [had] different things that we experienced growing up. So I didn’t have fried chicken until I was like 12, and the girls just find that hilarious.
B&B: How much of the teasing and taunting you’ve dealt with from the other girls has to do with your complexion you think?
Olivia Jones: Now that you mention it, actually probably a lot of it.
B&B: Do you find that commonplace in this business?
Olivia Jones: Yeah definitely, I think that there’s… I think that a lot of times in this business there can be a little bit of tension between light-skinned and dark-skinned girls who are working. That’s something that I do encounter.
B&B: Your E! bio says “Olivia…consistently finds herself the target of jealousy among the other girls because of her committed boyfriend, MBA classes and rich-girl background.” Do you agree with that assessment?
Olivia Jones: Well I think that’s part of it. I think that the girls probably find me an easy target because I am a nice person, and I’m not necessarily going to fight back after every little comment that they say. So they can slip in a few here and there. As to the reason for that, I think that part of it has to do with my background, but I think it’s mostly just that were different. Like I really, really value education. That’s a core part of where I get my strength and my values that I have for myself. [And] I think that the girls are probably more focused on this industry in particular, whereas I have a few other things that I kinda have as a backup plan, and that I count on.
B&B: Speaking of, viewers of the show may be surprised to know you actually speak to young women about self-empowerment. So tell our readers about your summer speaking tour.
Olivia Jones: Basically I just want to get out a few messages to young women, everything from personal help to financial literacy and getting your credit right – everything that young women really need to know to be independent and make their way in this world. I grew up in the National Charity League, which is a mother-daughter association. And it was just such a good experience, and it was so fulfilling [that] I really want to continue to give back. Especially being on this show, I do feel a sense of responsibility because a lot of the girls that comment and are giving me feedback about the show are young girls, like maybe 13 to 17. And so I do wanna be a good role model for them, and give back to the community.
B&B: And what would your advice be for that 18-year-old young lady who just graduated high school and is thinking about getting into this business?
Olivia Jones: I would give her the advice #1 of course to always have a backup plan. And I would say to put a time limit on it. That can be different for everybody, but I think if you give yourself a certain amount of time like, “Okay, I’m gonna give myself five years to make it in this industry. And, if it doesn’t happen after that, maybe it’s time to move on.” A lot of times people spend 10, 15, sometimes even 20 years trying to make it in this industry and end up not really being as fulfilled as they might be somewhere else.
B&B: Now, you have a pretty full plate already – school, modeling, charity work – but I also read that you have your own line of T-shirts, correct?
Olivia Jones: Yeah, it’s Nogolddigger.com. They’re basically just a line of T-shirts. It’s like a funny little thing, basically just encouraging women to stop golddigging. [Laughs] If you seen the T-shirts, the front is a women digging for gold with [that] crossed out. And on the back it says “all money ain’t good money.” Just encouraging women like, you don’t have to do that to make money.
B&B: You know I gotta ask why you never followed in your father’s footsteps and pursued a career in music?
Olivia Jones: I have done some songwriting, but it’s not my focus right now. I love the music industry, and music is one of my greatest passions in life. But I really believe that in order to be successful, you have to do one thing at a time. I don’t wanna be a jack of all trades and a master of none. So at this point, I’m really gonna focus on acting.
B&B: Just out of curiosity, growing up did you have any idea that your dad’s music was sampled for several Hip Hop classics from Raekwon (“Glaciers Of Ice”), Diamond D (“Best Kept Secret”), Brand Nubian (“Love Me Or Leave Me Alone”), Ol’ Dirty Bastard (“Shimmy Shimmy Ya”)…?
Olivia Jones: I actually didn’t know that growing up. I just knew the music [he made] as my dad’s music. Actually, when I got with my boyfriend, he was the one who let me know, “Hey, you know those [songs] are sampled all the time on Hip Hop classics.” I just had no idea. But yeah, that’s really cool that Hip Hop and the old school Stax [Records] music really mesh like that.
B&B: I know your dad recorded a few albums with his wife as Booker T. & Priscilla. Is that your mom?
Olivia Jones: No, that’s not my mother. My mother is Nan Jones. And actually on his album [Potato Hole] that comes out the 21st of April – you can get it presale on Amazon right now – there’s a track [named] after her. I think it’s #5, it’s called “Nan.” My dad recorded [the] new album with Neil Young and The Drive-By Truckers. He’s touring right now for that.
B&B: You said you had done some songwriting, do you work with him, or…?
Olivia Jones: I have, but I don’t have anything published. But we have been working on that.
B&B: I wanna switch gears here and ask you about something you said in the “Rumor Control” episode: “I’ve had situations before where the artist himself spread the rumor that we were sleeping together, and that wasn’t the truth but everyone believed it.” Let’s put that douchebag on blast [Laughs]. Who threw you under that bus?
Olivia Jones: [Laughs] Oh my goodness! You know it’s funny because a lot of the times it’s people that you would never expect. Sometimes these artists who have this good guy image are the ones who might be lying on girls. So you just never know what to expect in this industry.
B&B: Hmmm, good guy image, so it was Kanye?
Olivia Jones: No. Nice try though. [Laughs]
B&B: [Laughs] In that same episode you got angry and stormed off after Brooke started telling Danielle that you were being extra flirty with J Holiday at his Grammy party, and said you did a body shot off him. How often have your job duties been misconstrued as trying to get with an artist?
Olivia Jones: That’s actually probably a weekly, sometimes even daily, thing that’s misconstrued. Because you could be on set having a break in between takes on a music video, and you could be engaging in a totally appropriate conversation with an artist and people on set who are not listening can take that and see it for whatever they want to see it for.
B&B: Terricka, she said that she seemed to not really have problems with the artists as much as with their entourages. Is that the same for you?
Olivia Jones: Oh absolutely! The entourage usually are the ones that start all the trouble.
B&B: And watching that “Rumor Control” episode just made me wonder why do artists pay you guys to party with them? I’m not trying to mess up your money, but can’t J Holiday get his own beautiful women to party with?
Olivia Jones: Well a lot of times it’s the caliber of women. And then also, the fact that we’re there to work. So [the artists] don’t have to worry about women coming to the table and then leaving, and kinda doing their own thing. We’re there to make him look good, and it’s a job. And we do it well.
B&B: So you guys have like a gameplan, like a strategy?
Olivia Jones: Well no, when you’re hosting a party, that’s actually probably one of the easiest jobs that we do in my mind. All we really have to do is show up on time, look great, and be a lot of fun and party.
B&B: Yeah, that sounds pretty easy. [Laughs]
Olivia Jones: Yeah, it’s not too bad. [Laughs]
B&B: But…is it hard to keep a relationship doing what you do? Does your boyfriend question your faithfulness to him because of this type of work?
Olivia Jones: I’m really lucky, because he doesn’t question that. I spend a lot of time with him, and I go home to him at night. And he just really doesn’t question it because we have a really good relationship and we have a lot of trust. So it’s not even a topic of discussion. He would never even ask me a question like that because he already knows.
B&B: He’s not out right now looking for J Holiday. [Laughs]
Olivia Jones: No, no, no. [Laughs]
B&B: And my final question for you is just what’s the future hold for Olivia Jones? Where are the readers of HipHopDX going to see you in 2010, 2011?
Olivia Jones: Wow, 2011, um…let’s see, it’s 2009 right now, [so] in 2011 hopefully something will be coming out on the big screen. I’m in a couple classes for improv and scene study. And I am auditioning. There are a few things in the works, so hopefully something will be locked in by that date… I hope that [my degree] does work its way [into those plans] someday. The World Arts and Cultures was a major that encompassed so many different things. I kinda think of it as like cultural anthropology. And so that really informed a lot of the things that I do. Especially when I travel I’m able to relate to different aspects of peoples culture. But [my] Spanish [double major], I really hope I can use that some day. Who knows, maybe I’ll be hosting a show on Univision one day.
Tune in to the show on Sunday nights at 10:30pm on E!