Below, I Want To Work for Diddy 2‘s perpetually upbeat runner-up talks about Ebony’s victory, the allegations that his heart wasn’t in this competition and what it was like to rap for an audience of Diddy.
How disappointing was it to lose out to Ebony?
Just being a competitor, I was disappointed. But on the other side, I was so tremendously happy for Ebony and for what it’s going to open up in her life. And it really was a learning experience: you can get close to the top, and not win. That’s been motivation for me to continue to work hard.
I had a feeling that you would put a positive spin on it.
Exactly. Even in defeat you can find an element to pull from. I believe in what positive energy and inspiration can do for people, and just knowing that her dreams can come true because of that just shows me that I have work harder for mine. She’s an incredible, amazing woman.
Were you happy that you two were the finalists?
I was, because of how much I respected her. I told her, “You’re the strongest woman I’ve ever met,” and I honestly believe that.
What did you think of the widespread allegations that your heart wasn’t in the competition?
It offended me a little, but it was a wake-up call. It was also a compliment because they talked about how my passion and drive were for something else. I don’t think it was as big of a deal as they made it seem. Everyone knew I was working hard and that I care about everything I do.
Why did so many people say that, though?
In some ways, I think it was rooted in the fact that I was a strong competitor, but there were other factions. I would always be in the house talking about things I loved, places I’ve been, whereas everyone else was strictly business on Bad Boy. I think they thought I wasn’t passionate about the Bad Boy job, because I’ve talked about other loves in my life.
Ebony referred to this as a “summer experience” for you and she said that it was part of “something bigger” for you.
I wouldn’t consider it a summer vacation. If I would have gotten the job, I would have given it everything I have. I did see it as a learning experience, though, and that’s what I wanted out of it more than anything. I told Mr. Combs that I was there to be his assistant, but I was hoping to become much more. Sure, I would be his assistant for a year or two, but it’s not what I wanted in the end. I’m pushing for things a lot further, and eventually they probably will be for things I’m 100 percent passionate about.
Was there at any point in this competition that you thought, “I don’t want to work for Diddy”?
Not at all. I’ve talked about that energy you feel when you’re around him. You might have to do something you don’t want today, but he’s making you better. I was forced to think, learn and act on my feet in everything, from mundane as it could be to as serious as it got. All of it to me was a learning experience, even if it was, “This isn’t how I’ll treat somebody if I’m in the position of an executive someday.”
At least you got to rap for him. I loved that scene.
So did I. He kind of asked me if I knew any rap songs, and I told him I was offended by that. I never in a million years thought he’d make me prove it, but I did and I started rapping. I think my street cred went up with that. (Laughs) It was at the point in the competition where I was thinking, “I’m either gonna get this job or not, but this is who I am.”
Were you ever onto the fact that he was being deliberately hard on you guys? A lot of times, he’ll signal to the camera that he’s kind of busting you to see what your reaction will be.
Yeah. The one instance in particular was when he asked us if his clothing looked good. It’s like, you can’t win that. If we had said, “No, it looks bad,” he got us. If we said, “It looks good,” he got us that way, too. Regardless, you had to be ready for everything.
What about your reputation for being less than assertive?
I was really, really against that. In the house, there was a tone of, “You’re not assertive if you don’t yell, scream and argue with each other.” I took a back seat, and I was able to accomplish stuff. When Poprah and Ivory would argue, nothing was accomplished. We’d have to have a mediator sit down with them and talk things out. I don’t think I’m less assertive, I just have a different way of dealing with things. I use kindness and generosity to deal with things.
In one of your last interviews, you said you didn’t understand why you didn’t win. Do you have any more perspective now?
Looking back, I see why they say I was a little green. I didn’t know what to do. I never had to put on a fashion show before. I kind of went back to my roots with things that had been successful in the past, but not experiences directly related to outcomes of events. For that, I kind of understand. I do feel that I would have been a great assistant, though.
What’s on the horizon for you?
Right after I filmed the show, I flew to Napa Valley, California, and worked a wine harvest for Chateau Montelena, which is probably the most famous winery in Napa Valley. It was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. People would ask me, “How was working for Diddy?” and I’d say, “Not nearly as hard as this wine harvest!” We’d work from 6 in the morning till midnight. It was an incredible opportunity, though. Now, I’ve moved back to New York and accepted a position at Wine&Spirits magazine. I’m also in the process of starting my own business, the Urban Vine. We’re trying to do for wine, food and travel what Lupe Fiasco has done for the combination of skateboarding and hip-hop. We’re taking a real young, urban, hip look at the culinary world and the travel world. It’s an exciting time for me, trying to start something on my own, but I am looking for employment advancements as well.
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