Somaya Reece was absent for much of season two of Love And Hip Hop and fans definitely took notice. Team Somaya was up in arms when they noticed that she disappeared for three episodes in the middle of the season, only to return to episodes nine and ten for brief cameos. I spoke to Somaya by phone while she was out in L.A. visiting — she told me that though she has a house out there, New York is home now — and we talked about her absence from the show. We also discussed how intense all the fighting this season seemed to get (“the show went from Love And Hip Hop to Bad Girls Club” she says), the current status of her relationship with Midi Mafia producer Swift, and what she really thinks of Erica Mena (“ultimate trashiness”). Real talk with Somaya Reece starts now.
In the final episode, they showed you going back to L.A. so I wanted to see if you’re planning to stay out there.
No, not at all, as soon as I got my investment, I got to work, and Midi Mafia is based in L.A. so I went to L.A. to record and then I traveled to Boston, Denver, but I live in New York.
Speaking of Midi Mafia, can we discuss the love story there between you and Swift? We never really got any resolution there.
You know, we pretty much continued to get to know each other, and then we started seeing each other, we’re still good, we’re in a good place. He’s not my boyfriend because we’re still getting to know each other, it’s only been a few months since we started meeting, but we’re still in a good place and I’m really happy. I really want to focus on my career, that’s my number one thing, so that’s why I’m just choosing to date right now.
How much does the platform of a reality show help your music career?
As far as VH1 and the show goes, it’s amazing being on there. It’s given me a much larger fan base and more visibility. It’s great, it’s not a bad thing. I’ve stuck to my guns and stuck to my personality, I’m not one to change who I am. As you can see, at one point everyone was just back-stabbing each other. No one could ever make me do that, I’m a very loyal person. I was able to end the season with a very clean slate, which has opened up more opportunities to me. I signed to a new talent agency, I have new management, and I’m starting to work on new television projects. I’m not ashamed of anything, and that’s why I think so many fans connect with me, I’ve never been ashamed to show my struggles and pain and everything without filter.
I definitely noticed that to a degree with your performance when you had the pants malfunction, your reaction to that in real life was to laugh it off and not be upset by it.
It happens! I never thought that would happen, but every big performer has had something like that happen to them in the most embarrassing places, in front of Obama, you know? You have to realize that everything is reversible except for death. You have to look at the bigger picture, I’m still alive so we’re okay, let’s move forward.
How have things changed between you and the cast since last season? I know you and Chrissy actually managed to work things out, right?
They showed this in the bonus scenes, but basically Chrissy was like, forget the past, let’s move on, I don’t hate you, I’m over it. That was confusing to the audience because they were like “So, huh, you and Chrissy get along now?” and it would have been really great if that was on the show and people saw that because that’s like, a really big deal considering me and her were so head to head. I didn’t hold any grudges against anyone, I was like, let’s see what happens, I even tried to reach out to Olivia and she’s stubborn and she’s always going to be stubborn, but I tried! I’ll never try again, I did it once, she decided to be extremely arrogant and rude towards me without any reason. She’s the one who’s always been rude to me since season one, you didn’t really show it until season two, though. She always talks about me. With Emily, you know she’s really sweet so she’s always very nice to everyone. I had a really good chance to get to know Kimbella, and Yandy I knew from season one because when I was recording with Jim in the studio, I met her then.
You had Kimbella’s back when she confronted Erica at her party, were you hesitant to get involved in that whole situation?
I wasn’t there to get involved, but when she told me about what was happening, i was like, “And you don’t know this girl?” that doesn’t make any sense. The first thing I thought was “She just wants a spot on the show.” That’s what it has to be. There’s no way in hell this is a real beef. So I pretty much was like, I gotta witness this s— for myself before I make any assumptions. It was really clear to me though, this girl kept saying the same thing over and over to Kimbella, “You’re not on my level!” but like, she kept touching her breasts and they were pouring out her shirt and she was drinking out of the bottle and as far as I’m concerned, I’ve never seen Kimbella act unclassy like that. Yes, we met her on a weird note, but for you to say “You’re not on my level” but you’re doing the ultimate trashiness of trashy on national television, I told Kim “Girl, this beef is not real,” and she listened and she walked away after a couple words were said. And yeah, you know, Erica started insulting me but it’s not like anything she said isn’t stuff I haven’t heard before. I’m still going to leave the show on a good note, unlike her, public enemy number one. I’m classy, you’re shaking your t*ts.
She did it so often! I called it her only move.
Yes! I saw that, it is her only move.
And to be honest, Kimbella was not popular at first, so it takes a strong character like Erica to make Kimbella go from hated to beloved by the end, people started rooting for her.
I think people also started to see that Kimbella really was trying, she really made an effort to make things right on the show. So even if Erica would not have done all that, I think people would have seen the genuine in her, but yeah, I told Kimbella don’t be mad, whatever this girl did just helped you.
Have you spoken to Kimbella since she found out she was pregnant?
Oh, I know everything. But I’d rather she speak about it. It’s not my business, but she’s happy about everything. Relationships are always weird when you’re in this business, so that episode with her talking about Juelz, I mean, she’s just a really sweet person but she’s strong, she’s tough. I just don’t wanna speak for her.
Last season saw its share of fighting but this season was inSANE.
I was really disappointed that the show went from Love And Hip Hop to Bad Girls Club. I was extremely like “What the f— is going on?” I don’t know, I lost everyone’s storyline at one point because everyone was fighting.
In that respect, does it make you less upset that you weren’t featured as much on this season?
You know, I’m not mad at that! Even the producers were like, look, you missed out on all the bulls—. I’m NOT mad at that. I do feel so many mixed feelings about everything that’s going on, I don’t like seeing people fight, it seemed like so many fights were just impulse. It’s really hard to watch, and the last thing I want to see is somebody I know in a fight, it was so intense. I really hope everybody solves their differences because when you have to, you know, not have glassware on the set and stuff like that, this s— is real.
Was that real, the report that glass wasn’t allowed on set?
No one told me specifically, but I did notice in scenes that if there were any plates or anything, it was definitely plastic. So that says a lot.
Last season you got the brunt of Chrissy’s criticism, I guess you could call it, and she’s had the most issues with other people this season. Since you have firsthand experience with her, do you think she just has incredibly high standards of loyalty, or is there something in her that instigates fights?
Good question…I don’t know, I think maybe…maybe it’s her test for people, like “What are you about?” I think maybe after watching season one and after she saw that I wasn’t trying to be with her boyfriend and I was just working, I mean, you could tell at my showcase, she even said “Wow, you can’t get mad at somebody with that much ambition.” I almost feel like it’s a test. After all that shit happened between us and then coming back for another season, obviously she saw what I was about, I was about money and making it in New York and that had a big part of why she was like “Okay, I got you, you’re just trying to do your thing.” I do that sometimes too, standing off from people until I see what they’re about. She’s probably been through a lot of things and can’t trust nobody. You can’t trust nobody in this business.
Those pictures you posted on Twitter from your reunion taping were amazing, you look great. What have you changed, what’s the Somaya makeover?
Thank you. A lot more money in your bank account helps. [Laughs] But hey, nothing wrong with some Target, man! They have the best leggings there. But yeah, I have a celebrity consultant I work with, Derek August, and I have a stylist, Ricky, who was in the earlier episodes, but in reality, on the show at one point I had lost like twelve pounds and now I’ve lost even more, so that’s part of it. But I also have a fabulous makeup artist, he does all the makeup for me, Emily and Kimbella. Between him and the celebrity consultant, we decided I needed a new look for 2012 and it wasn’t so much for the reunion, it was time to upgrade all the way. So we pow-wowed and decided I would go back to wearing my natural hair. My hair is naturally huge and curly, and I never wear it because it’s so much more maintenance than just straightening it. Then we decided to dye it. Then we just started to show off my new style and my weight loss and that more polished Somaya look.
[Photos: Somaya Reece in Roberto Cavalli:Twitter]