Tahiry Jose: Real As It Gets
Hollywood has dozens of examples of women who have parlayed their looks into bankable, credible careers—such as Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez. But in the Rap world, the term “vixen” is usually a nice way of identifying a washed-up video chick with hopes of trying to make bad sounding music or grabbing a bit part in the next Tyler Perry shuck-n-jive vehicle. So, at least in theory, this is supposed to be a nerve-wracking time or the waning moments of 15 minutes of fame for Tahiry.
But on a day when the Internet is abuzz with her ex calling her a “miserable bitch,” the bartender-turned-magazine cover model sounds anything but nervous. There is talk of a reality show and other entrepreneurial power moves. In an industry which rewards being artificial, can Tahiry buck the trend of other vixens and create her own identity by turning the phrase “keep it real” into a mantra instead of just an overused phrase? To hear her tell it, she already has.
DX: You're in the public eye a lot lately. Between this upcoming reality show, TahiryTV, and Twitter, do you have to hold back some of the “real you” for when you’re out of the public eye?
Tahiry: No. I’m not the girl where the director says, “Cut,” and then I have to say, “Fuck!” because I just wasted my energy pretending. This is pretty much what I am. What you see is what you get, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I really am what you see on Twitter. When I’m feeling blue, I’ll say, “I’m down and out. Twitterers help me.” Or I might [write], “It’s a rainy day. I feel like watching a movie…making a move and ordering in.” So you get no pretend. It’s all raw just like it was on BlogTV.
DX: Are there every any regrets with all these “raw” aspects of your life being so available to the public?
Tahiry: I don’t have any regrets. God has it mapped out, and things happen for reasons. Like I said, am an open book. That’s what I chose, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. I’ve never even looked at it like, “Damn, I can’t believe I did this.” I am who I am, and I’m happy with who I am. It’s all good. Let’s let it all hang out baby!
DX: OK, fair enough. You have a pretty interesting story. You’re now a bartender/entertainer, but you also have a college degree, right?
Tahiry: Yes, I have a degree in criminal justice.
DX: What led you into criminal justice?
Tahiry: My passion was law enforcement. I’m not the girl to be sitting in a cubicle typing my life away with the little radio and family pictures hanging up. I would die. I get bored easily when it comes to jobs, and that’s why I bartend in different locations. I would bartend at a bar where it’s cozy and cute, then I’d be at a strip club. I gotta keep it interesting.
Being in the criminal justice field on the beat and driving that car…As a little girl, I lived on a block that got raided everyday. I remember walking out and seeing a female officer with her uniform and her braids. She had a man on the floor with her gun drawn like, “Motherfucker, don’t move!” I was thinking, “Oh, that’s so going to be me in the future.” So I interned as a cadet, then I graduated. I started bartending right after 9/11 just to take some time to digest that situation, and I kind of fell in love with the nightlife. But I had a plan B, which was my degree
DX: I think you just recreated that fantasy from Wayne’s “Mrs. Officer” video for all of HipHopDX’s male readers.
Tahiry: Oooh, Lord have mercy. I love that! Can you imagine that, with the little outfit? [laughs]
DX: [laughs] Umm, yes…as a matter of fact I can imagine that quite well. But I digress. Since law enforcement turned into bartending, what’s your drink of choice?
Tahiry: Well, I’m a moody drinker. If I’m feeling girly I’ll have a martini. If I’m feeling like a thug on some straight ra-ra, I’m having straight liquor. I don’t chase it.
DX: Say word? What about if you’re making the drink for someone else?
Tahiry: I make a pretty good Nutcracker. It originated from a restaurant 10 years ago, and they never printed the recipe. I learned to bartend and just watched them make it. So guys come by and they want their nutcrackers.
DX: [laughs] That’s what’s up…
Tahiry: No pun intended on the Nutcrackers okay?
DX: Hey, sophomoric humor never gets old. Alright, changing gears, I noticed you had a recent blog post about Chris Brown. He was on Twitter getting emo saying men can show emotion without being weak. As someone who also went through a very public break-up, I’m guessing that hit a little close to home?
Tahiry: You mean the Chris Brown entry today? I’ll be honest. I didn’t write the entry today. Sometimes I have somebody post stuff on it. I have too much stuff going on to post my own shit. How about that? Between the breakup, moving, traveling and sitting down with attorneys I had to reach out to some people to help me.
DX: Fair enough. Well since we’ve got you live, what is your take on having a public breakup like that?
Tahiry: Well, it comes with the territory to be quite honest. I personally have no regret. I signed up for this, and it is what it is. I think that breakups shouldn’t be as ugly. When you’ve been with somebody for so long you should find other ways to let it out. But you’re in the public eye, so even if you walk down the block with someone people might think you’re sleeping together. So it’s between you and the other person to keep it like Beyonce and Jay—they only give you a little.
DX: Good point. Well, I was gonna ask you about another post on TahiryTV, but I guess we should scratch that…
Tahiry: No, go ahead. Which one?
DX: Your next one was about Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian getting the matching tattoos…
Tahiry: I think that’s awesome; I have a tattoo.
Tahiry: Yes, and it says “Joey.” When I got it I felt it. I wanted it. But I’m that girl though. I’m a rider and I’ll rock out. If they felt like getting tattoos—regardless of what the person who posted that says—I don’t have a problem with that.
DX: Okay. Let’s switch things up. You’ve done King magazine as well as this recent shoot for Complex. I think I can speak for a majority of men when I say we pretty much just focus on the T and A. But you hear females who models talk about shoots being classy or artistic. Nudity aside, is there a difference?
Tahiry: I would say it depends on what avenue you’re in. I think Coco is beautiful and she does a great job. I like to keep it a little tasteful. You can see, but I’ll have something on…my legs won’t be wide open. I can’t even say it leaves something to the imagination because I’m holding my chest with no bra on and wearing lace panties [laughs]. Really, who am I to talk?
There’s certain ways to do certain things, but it’s all up to the person. Less is more, and I love less. I love sex and I think it’s great. Women are beautiful, so whatever you choose to do, do that. It depends on what you’re wearing, how you’re posing and a bunch of other stuff. I choose not to have my legs wide open, stick my tongue out or some of the things that other females do.
DX: Yeah, there’s a fine line. You had the milk bowl and the kitty costume for that Complex shoot.
Tahiry: Listen to you, you’re running down the whole set up [laughs].
DX: You know. We sacrifice in the name of research [laughs].
Tahiry: I was really proud of that interview too though.
DX: I was wondering about that, because you guys really went there—so much so, that it kind of exahusted the option of asking more questions about you and Joe Budden.
Tahiry: Yeah, even when I went back and read it, I almost teared up. It was like, “Oh my God, this is so me!”
DX: Understood. I don’t want to get crass, but I feel like we’ll let my fellow male DX readers down without addressing those curves of yours.
Tahiry: Oh that’s cool. I love my curves! And Everything about me is real. I get people asking, “Where did you get it?” or “How much was it?” a lot. And when I go, “What, my shoes?” They say, “No, your ass.” But I've had no work done.
DX: Well we love your curves too. It's hard to call the Tahiry Jose onion fake after seeing that "Floating Booty" video.
Tahiry: I don't knock people who do what they gotta do, but I’m all natural.
DX: Can you point to one specific moment when people started noticing it?
Tahiry: I’ve always embraced my curves…since I was a teenie-bopper. I was that girl on the block with a tight dress on, and I loved me a pair of jeans. I’ve never looked at myself and said, “Dang, I’m kinda chunky,” or “That’s too much on the bottom.”
DX: So was it a case of you just waking up one morning and noticed all the neighborhood looking back as you passed?
Tahiry: I would say at 16. One day I walked into the building, and the next day I walked by with guys like, “Dang!” And I’m thinking, “I just walked in yesterday and y’all didn’t give a fuck.”
DX: [laughs]. Yeah, we’re attentive like that. Well, as it concerns your career, are you at all worried about the fickle nature of the entertainment industry, and what do you have line up next?
Tahiry: Well right now I have the reality show on deck. I also just started a partnership with a t-shirt company. The shirts will have quotes on them about how to live your life. There’s more magazine shoots, and I’m also taking acting classes. I’m building my brand, so hopefully I won’t be going anywhere. But I have a plan B, and that’s where the college degree comes in. I’ll be fine no matter what I do.
DX: Can you give us any details about this reality show?
Tahiry: Yeah, I have something in the works with a production company right now. We’re gathering footage right now, and we should start filming in January. We’re talking with networks and it’s just life. I think people can relate to being with someone for half of a decade then having to pick up the pieces and start all over again. I went from being a bartender—and I’m still a bartender—to waiting on tables, to being on the cover of a magazine. It’s my life, my family…just keeping it Washington Heights, Harlem. Add in the people around me and how interesting they are and that’s about it. I’m trying to give people a little T.O. mixed with Keyshia Cole.
DX: Now the acting classes sound interesting. If someone came at you with a stack of scripts right now, what would be your ideal role?
Tahiry: I won’t lie to you, I’m not going into this acting thing thinking I’ll be the next Halle Berry. I’m always open to try new things, and this is something I’ve always wanted to try. My role would probably be the 2010 Rosie Perez.
DX: Hopefully were talking Rosie from Do the Right Thing and White Men Can't Jump instead of Untamed Heart.
Tahiry: Yeah, just a character who's the funniest chick on the block. That would be ideal. I also like doing hosting events. I did the Rucker this summer. It was hosted by Michael Bivins, and I was the halftime girl. So I just interviewed celebrities who came in and watched the game. I enjoyed that a lot.
DX: Really? Well this is like the 6 million dollar question in terms all the guys out there feeling Tahiry then.
Tahiry: What's that?
DX: Are you an avid basketball or sports fan in general?
Tahiry: Yeah, I love basketball--love, love, love it. I stopped watching it a whole lot after Jordan retired, which was a long time ago. But here and there, I watch my Dwight Howard's. I don't get into football too much, but I'll check out T.O. I love a good game, and I can't wait to go to my first football game. I went to a tennis game and that was cool too. At first I didn't think I would be interested. Once I got there, I said, “I need to find out the rules in this motherfucker" [laughs].”