After finally opening up during her speech, Risky takes it and wins Charm School with Ricki Lake! Below, the graduate talks about learning to open up, whether strategy came into play during her time on the show, her post-show boob job, and what she plans to do with the $100,00.
Congratulations, first of all. Were you surprised to win?
Yea, I was very, very surprised to win. I know that I gave a really good speech, but I really thought that Marcia was going to win because she made that huge commitment to stop drinking and she lasted that long.
From the start, people wondered why you were on Charm School in the first place. Did you feel like you actually needed it and were able to get something out of it?
I did. I had a temper. I had an attitude problem. I was very impatient. The main thing that they made a big deal out of is that I didn’t open up as much as I should, but there were a lot of other things that I needed to be there for, which, I guess they saw. I feel like I learned a lot from being there. Like everyone has seen, I opened up way more than I ever have before. I became more patient with people. I worked on my attitude a lot.
Did any strategy come into play? Taken as a game, Charm School is a hard one because if you do too well, you’ll be kicked out.
I was really scared because I was like, “Man, I’m doing everything right. I’m doing everything better, everyday.” I mean, I got into one little argument. That’s it. I didn’t want them to say, “Well you’re good, Risky. You don’t need Charm School anymore. You’ve learned everything you can learn. Your time is up.”
But was there any strategy in not opening up, so that you could surprise everyone with a big reveal at the end?
No. I actually didn’t want to open up at all, because I’m a very secretive person as far as things that go on in my life. I’d rather keep that to myself because I don’t want anybody judging me for what I’ve been through. But I’ve also realized by being there that a lot of people have been through the same thing that I’ve been through, so why not open up?
It was interesting to watch how the women on this show progressed differently. Bubbles admitted she was molested in Episode 5, but it took you until Episode 10 to open up that you went through the same thing.
Like I said, I wasn’t going to say it all, but once I started writing my speech, things just started flowing, and I figured I might as well just go ahead and say everything. Why not?
Obviously, the particulars of your molestation and even what your brother did to be sent to jail weren’t clear. Even when you were talking with your mom, you were sort of speaking vaguely. Do you feel that you have more opening up to do or do you feel you’ve told the story you want to tell?
There’s always more to every story, but I feel like I’ve opened up as much as I should and everything else. People can fill in the blanks.
Doc Ali said it was your gift and responsibility to go out and help people. Do you feel that way? And have you?
Yeah. Since I’ve opened my mouth and shared my whole life on TV, I just want to use that and go to different places and talk to people, like maybe battered women’s shelters, and different schools and boys and girls clubs, and things like that. I want to spread the word and help people and let them know that it’s OK to open up and not be ashamed about anything that you’ve been through, and you can overcome that.
You brought some real levity when you said that you wanted people to look up to you for being more than just a finalist on Real Chance of Love.
Making it to the end of Real Chance of Love, it’s like whoop-de-doo. It’s just a dating show. Who cares? It didn’t have a purpose. It didn’t even matter. If I won, so what? But making it to the end of this show, there’s actually a purpose. I helped people. I helped myself in the process, and I feel like this was a big honor for me. Whether I won or not, making it to the end of Charm School – this one, because it was so deep and about giving back, not like the other ones – was a big honor for me.
You said that you wanted to start a charity for girls with incarcerated parents in your speech.
I wanted to, but I didn’t realize how hard that is. That’s still one of my main goals, though. I want to start a charity for kids with incarcerated parents, mainly little girls, because of the situation with my brother. My brother is incarcerated and he has a little girl, my niece, who I see all the time and help to take care of her. I’m looking now for sponsors and funding and everything like that. It’s still on my list of things to do.
What else do you plan to do with the money?
There were three main things I was talking about on Charm School if I won: I was going to open my charity, I wanted to start my own clothing and belt line, and I wanted to get breasts. Yeah, well, I already actually did that. I think that’s why people are saying, “Hey, she won because she got boobies.” I also helped my mom a lot, because my mom is a workaholic. She works everyday, so many hours a day. I just wanted to be able to give her the break that she deserves.
It seems that if you go onto VH1 and you don’t have fake boobs, you come out wanting them. Is it something in the water or is it just being around them all the time?
I wanted big boobs before even Real Chance of Love. I did modeling before, and I wore my little chicken breast cutlets all the time when I did bathing suit photo shoots and all that. So I was like, “I’m tired of wearing these things and I’m tired of having small breasts. I’m going to get breasts regardless, whether I get on a TV show, or get money, I’m going to do it. If I have to finance them, whatever the case may be, I’m going to get me some breasts.” But being on the show, Charm School, with all the Rock of Love girls – and you know they all have big breasts – that made me want them even more. They all were like talking about their breasts and wearing little bikinis, and I said, “Oh yeah, I’m going to get me some breasts.”
How was that being with them? Because I’m sure the first few days everybody was like, “I can’t believe we put these two groups of girls together.”
Oh yeah, it was crazy. Especially the first week, I didn’t even know if Charm School was going to last, because there was so much arguing and bickering. I didn’t think it was going to last at all. It was really crazy, but it all worked out in the end.
Looking back on it, do you still think Ki Ki’s elimination was race-related?
I feel like the situation was just about Ki Ki. I still hold my ground and say that that was the wrong decision. I was thinking it was racist, because on the show, Ricki kept physical over verbal, which is blatantly stated in the contract — you can’t be physical at all or you’re going to get sent home, regardless if you’re exempt from elimination. So everyone just jumped to the conclusions of racism, but now, looking at the show, I don’t feel like it was racist at all. I don’t feel that Ricki is racist or anything like that.
And the whole physical thing, you meant about Ashley locking Brittaney in the bathroom, right?
Well, no. They didn’t show this, but Ashley and Farrah actually used to throw food at Brittany Starr all the time. They threw a cucumber at her wrapped with hair. It wasn’t the fact about them locking her in the bathroom, because I was standing around laughing. And that was wrong, but I thought it was kind of funny.
I think later on you even said you wished Brittany Starr had stayed locked in the bathroom.
Yeah, they should have kept her in there forever, for the rest of the show.
Obviously you came knowing the Real Chance of Love girls and you remained friends with them. But were there any Rock of Love girls who you bonded with or made unlikely friends with?
Well Marcia, actually. I didn’t think I would be friends with Marcia. I’ve never thought that I would be friends with her. We still talk now. I was actually helping her to not drink in the show, and I was like, this could actually ruin my chance in the show, but I’m a nice person and I can help somebody else out, and she was really struggling with the not drinking.
Have you seen any change in your daily life since you started revealing yourself in Charm School? Have you taken the lessons that you’ve learned into practice use?
A lot of lessons that I’ve learned, I’ve used them in my daily life. Like I said, I was very impatient – and I still have a little bit of impatience – but it’s better. Everything that I went to Charm School for, I’m not going to say it’s completely gone, but it’s better. Nobody is perfect.
I think one of the things that I liked best about this Charm School is that when you see people on TV, especially on reality TV, they exist without content. You’re just sort of judging them by their behavior, and people love to watch reality TV just to hate on people. It’s so much harder to judge them blindly that when you understand someone’s past, and where they’re coming from, and why they’re doing the things they’re doing.
I never really had haters. I have had a few, though, and since the show and me saying everything that I’ve been through, a lot of my haters have been through the same thing. They’re like, “Wow, I didn’t like you before, but now that I’ve seen the show, I really look up to you. I really respect you.” It’s like Bubbles. People were like saying she was retarded, and a lot of nasty things about her, but now they’re like, “Man, I see why she acts the way that she acts now.” I really think this Charm School helped in a lot of different ways for a lot of different people.
That’s kind of an interesting thing to say though, because you went through something similar to Bubbles, but you don’t act like Bubbles acts.
That’s true. She took that Bubbles name to the full effect. They gave her that name and she was going to live that role. Bubbles is very, very smart, but I think it’s the name that she feels like she has to live up to. I’ve been through the same things that she’s been through, but it’s hard for a lot of girls who’ve been molested to grow up and move past that. For me, though, I feel like it has helped me to grow up.