Annnnd Ebony takes it! Though she was often described as “rough around the edges,” her hard work and determination clearly paid off, nabbing her victory on I Want To Work for Diddy 2 . Below, she talks about whether she’s started working for Diddy, what her winning strategy was, why she was fired from her teaching job as a result of appearing on I Want To Work for Diddy and what she thinks of her former castmates.
Thank you, sir.
Have you been working for Diddy?
Yeah! I’m unemployed! I lost my job. I taught algebra and coached basketball and football. They said a teacher is a public servant, and the thing that got me was the profanity. That was a violation against our code of conduct, per our teacher handbook. I didn’t find this out until they fired me, but they did so Friday, October 30, which was a few days before the show came on. They said it was bad PR for the school. So I’ve been unemployed ever since, and they also denied my unemployment. This is the most broke I’ve ever been in my life.
It’s been tough.
Has anything good come from the show at this point?
Now I’m not afraid to step out and do what I love. I don’t regret it. No matter how broke I get, I don’t regret it. Nothing huge besides that. People want to pay you a couple hundred dollars to show up at a club. I haven’t gotten a team together yet. I’m hoping to have a job at Bad Boy.
How did they leave it?
“Don’t contact us, you’ll be contacted.”
Besides the final outcome, how was being on the show?
Amazing. It was an eye-opening experience, and kind of a more realistic look at that part of the entertainment industry. It’s not all glamorous, like people would like to believe. It gave me more respect for what Diddy does and the person that he is. That’s what I was most skeptical about. “Am I gonna go mess with a d***head?” But all that he does is for a good reason. Now I can respect it.
Was there any point when you thought, “I don’t want to work for Diddy?” He really got on you for walking around his office in bare feet.
No. With the shoe thing, I thought I screwed my chance up. I thought he was thinking, “This little ghetto girl has no class.” I had taken them off so I could run down six flights of stairs, and I ran back barefoot. I just needed a minute to adjust, but, uh, no excuses. You just gotta deal with the ass whoopin’ you got dealt.
Is the prospect of always having to be on your toes like that intimidating?
It just makes you better. How could it not? Remember when he said that the city of New York is beautiful, but it eats people alive? You could go missing and no one will come looking for you. Damn, he’s right. You either rise to the occasion or you’ll be swallowed alive, and my athletic background just does not allow me to be swallowed. I thank God for the kind of teachers, and coaches and mother that I had. There were times when I wanted to say something in my defense, but I feel like it’s better to be seen and not heard. Speak when spoken to.
As someone who was often called out for being rough around the edges, and who described herself as “raw,” that must be particularly difficult for you.
It is and it was. But you realize that until you own your own, there’s always someone who’s going to be in charge of you. Until you are the captain of your very own ship, that’s life. Period, point blank. Even when I worked at Taco Bell, the damn manager didn’t have a high school diploma, and there I was in college, working on a degree. He’s talking to me however he wanted, but it was the difference between keeping my job and being fired. You have to learn the way the chain of command flows, and you have to play your position. If and when I’m given the opportunity to do that, it’ll pay off.
What’s your ultimate goal? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d love to be working with Bad Boy still. Maybe take over the women’s line, or the record label. With Dirty Money, I know he’s trying to take the label and brand to a different place that is marketable to people of all walks of life.
That’s quite a departure from teaching. Was teaching your way of biding your time while pursuing other stuff?
Teaching gave me normalcy. It gave my son stability. It was not lucrative, but it was my stability. At the same time, it was a box for me. I could have been content in my box, but I don’t want to look back and regret anything.
How old is your son?
Does he watch the show?
Every now and again, when he’s not playing. That’s his mom, though. That’s who he knows. None of it is a surprise to him, not even when I had my hissy fits and lost it temporarily. He knows it, he sees it, he gets the business, too. He knows I don’t play.
Was he affected at all when Jon brought your past as a stripper to light?
He doesn’t know what that means. That was more of an issue for my mother and church. To them I just said, “I need you not to judge me.”
Diddy didn’t judge you.
Thank god. Regardless of the way Jon tries to make it seem like that wasn’t a low blow, that’s exactly what it was, and it backfired on him. I believe that a man’s intentions determine his outcome. It backfired because I’m a good person. I’ve worked hard to get to this point, and I will continue to work. I’m loyal and I’m transparent. You look at me, and you know what you’re getting. I’m not fake, and I think that bothered him.
Looking back, what do you think of your alliances with Dalen and Ivory?
The understanding was that the best people should be there. And yes, at the conception of our team, even with Blake, the best two people that were there were me and Dalen, period. That was an understanding, but I don’t have to align with anyone. I’m an individual. Then when we split, yes, based on personal experience and going strictly by resume, Ivory was the best person in the house. But there was a recurring question for me about her business integrity, and then you have to look at the person’s character. Would the person’s idiosyncrasies be a good fit for Bad Boy? And no, they were not. She’s confrontational, and about dividing instead of uniting and you can’t get anything done that way. When I really thought about it, Dan’s more like me than anybody. He’s young and green, but he’s passionate and loyal. Ivory is not.
It’s interesting that you say that when so many people on the show told Diddy that Dan’s heart wasn’t in this.
He’s passionate, but not necessarily about Bad Boy. That was my only issue. Dan’s passionate about life. He’s young, and nothing gets him down. Something new may be in front of him, and it may not be what he originally wanted to do, but hey, he’s gonna go hard for it. I think that he has other things he wants to do. I think this was a summer experience for him, like backpacking through Europe or spending the summer on a villa. These are experiences are part of something bigger than him.
That’s not fair. Before Jen got herself eliminated, there was an elimination where I spoke on her behalf because she did that for me, and I believe in loyalty. I would have rode with Jen till the wheels fell off, and she knows that. I was shocked that she would open her mouth and say that.
Did you feel any racial tension with her?
Not at all. I thought that me and Jen got along better than me and Ivory. I mean, I guess I was wrong, but Jen and I laughed, we talked about boys, we talked about sex, we wore each others clothes. I was her sister from another mother, or that’s what I thought. When she got sent home, I’m the only one that cried and gave her a hug. I couldn’t believe that she played me like that.
Did you use any strategy to help you win?
I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, so I kept my eye on Ivory and the way that she did things. I also watched Poprah. People will say things to me like, “We noticed you were always back in the cut.” Hello. I was being seen and not heard, because I was observing. So I noticed what people did right, what things to put in my repertoire, and then I watched what they did wrong so I knew not to repeat those mistakes. But at the end of the day, I think who you are is good enough. So I just wanted to be true to myself. I didn’t go in there branding myself a certain way. I didn’t want to be Queen Bitch. I didn’t want to be the next fashion icon. I didn’t want to be the it girl. I just wanted to be Ebony. Ebony has hustle, work ethic, and she’s down for Bad Boy. That’s all I wanted to be.
So, hopefully it all works out for you and Bad Boy calls you. But say they don’t? Or, say they do, and it still doesn’t work out for you there? Then what, Ebony?
I’m a go-getter. It’s not over. I like reality TV and I like that reality has made my mark on history. Regardless of whether I’m on TV again, there’s always going to be only one winner of I Want To Work for Diddy, Season 2. People can’t take that from me. But if I can take that momentum, I’d love to get into acting. I’d love to do some public speaking. I’d love to do a tour of colleges speaking on issues concerning my people: education, healthcare, college prep. I feel like my strongest weapon is my voice. It’s what saved my ass many times as you have seen. I wasn’t the most qualified based on resume, it was the fact that I was able to translate my real intentions with my voice. I’d love to be an actress. I’d love to have a fashion line. I’ve been sketching for years. I have all these ideas, and now what’s my excuse to not do them?