Fantasia Barrino: Professional Survivor

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If Fantasia has a career angle, it’s one of simple existence — or maybe, conscious, simple existence. Recently, both she and her rep referred to her as an “open book” (she in a New York Times profile, her rep in a letter to TMZ that followed her suicide attempt last month). Her career has always been about baring her soul (she didn’t stumble into the genre of that name by accident), and when we interviewed her earlier this year, we discussed how this ethos made her perfect for reality TV (and will undoubtedly continue to do so, as the second season of Fantasia for Real premieres Sunday, Sept. 19 at 10/9c).

In tandem with this confessing was drama to confess — drama that stretched back way before American Idol (concerning her rape as a teenager, dropping out of high school and becoming a young mother) and way after (her legal battle with her father, her financial woes and her affair with Antwuan Cook). But for now, it would seem that the storm has settled. In a recent three-sentence “exclusive” “interview” with RadarOnline.com, Fantasia told the gossip site, “I’m doing much better now. I’ve got my strength. I’m OK.”

But, of course, that’s relatively speaking as she suggested to the Times that while her emotional woes may have abated, her financial ones rage on. On her debt, she explains, “I created the monster myself. I’m big on family and I want to see everybody happy. That’s where I messed up.” On one hand, her accountability is admirable, if not unexpected (her team didn’t even attempt to shroud her suicide attempt in secrecy, taking just a few hours to lay it all out there in the aforementioned note to TMZ after initial news of her overdose broke). On the other hand, though, she’s something of a self-powered machine — creating (some of) her own problems and then tending to them. Most of us are similar machines, really, and that’s why Fantasia’s so easy to root for — her humanity is tangible, just like the pages of an open book. [The New York Times]

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