Our interview with Shay picks up right where the reunion left off — Shay gives us the exclusive word on what went down when the cameras stopped rolling. Find out what was said, who cried and all the details of her reconciliation with Larissa. It’s true: Shay and Larissa are "cool" again. Shay also gives us the lowdown on coming close to winning Charm School and how she is extending, in her words, her "15 minutes."
What’s your overall feeling on Charm School?
When I was there, I didn’t understand what they wanted me to improve on, why they even wanted me. But once I got there and I saw the commandments and that Mo’Nique was for real, I had a better understanding of what she wanted. At the end of the day, this show was about teaching you different lessons to apply to your life, and I think that’s worth way more than $50,000.
Does that mean you weren’t disappointed when you weren’t named the winner?
Anyone would be happy to walk away with a $50,000 check, but to keep it real, I’ve done more than a lot of the other girls. I’ve done more magazines, I’ve had more offers for movies, I have a couple of endorsement offerings for clothes and hair-care products and I host a lot of parties and events. I get paid to host them. Of course, I wanted to win, but at the same time, I’m gonna get what I want regardless. I’m making my money.
What kind of terms are you on with Becky now? It seemed like you sort of made up at the reunion.
I don’t hate Becky. I don’t hate anybody ’cause I wasn’t raised that way. But I know that our friendship is not the way it was before. I haven’t talked to her since the finale aired [which was after the reunion taped]. Her behavior just goes to show that people will stoop to very low levels for money. Maybe she felt like she was in a position where she felt like she needed the money. I don’t know. But to turn on your friends? If you turn on me, you’ll do anything. She said she would give Saaphyri $50,000 of her earnings, but personally, I don’t believe that she would. I don’t believe nobody would. Who would do that? I could see someone helping another person, but not giving half. You’re better off putting that person in a position to help themselves than just giving away money.
You seemed really moved when Saaphyri gave her speech about not having a home.
I was moved when everybody told their story. But if I got up there and told my story about how my life was in the past, the world would have been moved by that, too. But I listened, I gave them respect. If any of those three were in the position that I was in, I don’t know if they would have done the same thing.
But you came away looking so good after you had to judge their speeches. I think it did a lot to redeem your involvement in the picture situation.
Yeah, but I didn’t do what I did to look good. I did it because that’s how I felt at the time. I have a heart and I don’t hold grudges. After they ganged up on me, I could have turned around and cussed everybody out. I didn’t want people to go in there thinking, "Oh, it’s payback time now." I wanted people to know this is the real Shay. The real Shay don’t hold grudges. The real Shay keeps it real all the time.
After they saw your turn as a judge, a lot of people thought you deserved to win.
I know. There’s people on my MySpace talking s*** about Saaphyri, and I don’t like that. Recently, Saaphyri and I have become friends. We didn’t hang out until the BET Awards, and I didn’t even know her at that point. Even in the house, she was cooler with Becky and I wasn’t in her face. She didn’t really care for me. All I know is that all the girls knew that if they didn’t get Shay out, Shay was gonna win. I have that type of aura. I have that type of personality, and people can see that in me. There are certain people that you can tell are made for this business, are made for this industry, and there are others who want it, but it’s not meant for them. But I don’t like that people talk negatively about anybody on the show because they don’t really know us. All they know is what they see on television. So just to set the record straight: everyone on that show has a big heart. Everybody is a good person, but nobody’s perfect. I think if everyone takes advantage of the situation they’re in because of this show, we can definitely extend our 15 minutes. Well, actually, we already did extend our 15 minutes from Flavor of Love, of course. But you can extend that 20 minutes even further. I know that I am, so I’m happy.
You were at the crux of the drama during the reunion. Tell me about that day.
Before the show, Mo came to me and was telling me, "Shay, calm your spirit. I understand that you and Larissa have some things going on, but you be the bigger person. Let her run off at the mouth." I was like, "OK." But Mo’Nique didn’t understand my position. I heard all of the different interviews Larissa gave and I was always the focus. Everything about me was negative. "I’m gonna check Shay." "I’m gonna whip Shay’s ass." "Shay this, Shay that." So that was running through my head, and I was like, screw what you’re talking about Mo’Nique: I’m gonna speak my mind. When Larissa came on the screen, she was, of course, talking crazy to me, and I just snapped back. I’m not used to just sitting there when someone’s running off at the mouth. I forgot everything Mo had said and just got into it with Larissa. I should not have done that. I should have just chilled out and been like, "OK, whatever."
I thought you were standing your ground, whereas Larissa was being hateful.
Yeah, but, that’s just the way that she is. I usually don’t argue with people. If you really want to do something, let’s just do it. All that yelling and arguing isn’t going to get you anywhere, so if you wanna get down, that’s what we’re gonna do. Are we going to actually fight or are we going to leave it alone and shut the hell up? That’s where I was: Larissa was all over the blogs and all over the radio saying what she was going to do to me, but when it came down to it, she didn’t do anything. But me being who I am, I’m not scared of nobody. Everybody knows that, that’s why there was a big, long, fake rumor out there saying Larissa and I had a fight, which was such a lie. We never had any type of physical altercation ever, to this day, and I doubt we ever will. But if you read that lie, you saw that they put me down as the winner because everybody knows that if it comes down to it, I’m the one that’s gonna get in that ass. But I don’t want to be known as a fighter or someone who’s talking s*** all the time, and I think I showed that on the finale.
So you’re saying that you regret your behavior on the reunion?
I do. I should have never replied the way I did. But if you look at the reunion, I was laughing. I kinda had fun.
You’re on stage and Mo’Nique "rolls up" on Larissa and then preaches for about an hour, focusing entirely on Larissa. What was it like to be up on stage for all of that?
I was just sitting there like, "OK, whatever." But Mo did meet my mom and she does know how my mom is. She was right what she said about my mom, that she wouldn’t accept the things I was doing onstage. My mom is very religious and she will go off on me in a minute. If my mom was sitting out in the audience like Larissa’s was? Uh uh. I wouldn’t have been doing that. As grown as I am, my mom is the type that would get up and slap me and there’s nothing I could do about it.
After Mo was done talking in front of the audience and after the cameras had stopped rolling, how much longer were you guys up on stage?
Like a half hour. When they cut off everything, I was about to leave. I told Mo and she said, "Wait right there. I need for you and Larissa to sort this out."
And so, you and Larissa made up?
Yes. We had our talk. The reason that Larissa was mad at me was that she said I hurt her when I said, "Kick rocks. Deuces." She said that the way that I said it was like, "F-you, goodbye, you’re out the house." When we talked about it, I told her I didn’t mean it that way. I don’t mean to ever hurt her feelings. But she hurt me, too, when I found out, through Becky, that the whole house thought it was me who took the picture. It hurt me knowing that we was about to go to the carpet and everybody was about to come down on me and she never told me nothin’. She was supposed to be my girl. So we talked it out and I told her, "Larissa, I don’t hate you," and she told me, "Shay, I don’t hate you." It was all petty. We laughed about it and called it stupid. It was just a picture that got out of hand. And me and her are cool. We’re going to work together.
What are you going to do?
We’re going to be hosting parties together. I already know that for a fact.
So you’re friends again?
Cool. We’re cool. I’ll use that word. Me and Larissa were cool in a house together for three weeks. Besides that, we never hung out. Everybody thinks we’re best friends, but we were never best friends. We’re cool. I’d hang out with her, but me and her are still on the level of getting to know each other. I can’t speak on her behalf, but I can say that I see that Larissa will accept people helping her. She doesn’t always run off at the mouth and curse people out. That’s not who she is, it’s just what they showed. She can be a good person.
But she did do a lot of running off at the mouth.
Yeah. (Laughs) But even though Larissa was mad at Mo, what you didn’t see on the reunion because taping was already over, was that Larissa cried and poured her heart out to Mo’Nique, and let her know, "I don’t like the fact that people think I’m just mean and evil." She told Mo’Nique that the reason for the picture incident is that when Schatar took the dresses, she was praised for it.
What I took away from the marathon reunion taping is that Mo’Nique really cares.
She does! She was totally mad at me. She said, "I just told you not to go on there and do this!" But I apologized to her and I even apologized to America. I was wrong. I can’t even cover it up. Just because I went through Charm School, it doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I’m going to make mistakes. Before Charm School, I would have been like, "Whatever. I cursed her out. And?" But now I realize with my mistakes, I cannot take back what I did but I can apologize and know not to step over that boundary in the future. I know that I’m a role model for young girls, and I don’t want them to think that it’s OK to be cursing people out.
Besides your endorsements and movies, is there anything else coming up for you, Shay?
I’m looking to open a group home and start a nonprofit organization. But even sooner, I’m going to be in King magazine, which hits stores July 13. I have my own spread. I haven’t told anyone because I didn’t want any of the girls to go copy me.
That’s awesome and hilarious.
It seemed like after my calendar came out, a lot of girls on the show wanted to put out calendars. I figured I was a role model for them, too.