Erica Mena‘s a wild card. We know that, she knows that. Then there’s the other side: a NY born hustler–something even Rich and his mom admit to in a joint interview together. But why does Erica always seem so angry? “It’s coming from a good place,” she insists. And like most hustlers, she’s had a hard-knock life. Her Underneath It All book delves more into the nitty gritty details, but we caught up with the fresh-faced beauty while in hair and makeup at the Love and Hip Hop reunion. There was no animosity, to animation. Just a sweet, “Move that luggage so she can sit down,” she said with a smile as wide as a kid at the candy shop.
VH1: Tell me what’s going on with the music?
Erica: “Where Do I Go” dropped on iTunes a few weeks back and it’s been doing pretty well. People are pretty surprised by it and they’re liking it. I got a lot of haters trying to dim it down with the whole autotune thing, but I’m also getting ready to release my single which is a club song so I’m really excited about that. This second song is bigger because I kind of did everything on my own and I think when people hear the second song they’re going to be even more surprised than the first time around.
VH1: What direction are you trying to go with the music?
Erica: I’ve always been an uptempo artist, I love house music and hip-hop. It just so happened “Where Do I Go” came to me and it felt right and as an artist you kind of have to go with what feels right even if it’s opposite of what you are intending to do. Overall the goal I think is to be the ultimate performer because that’s really what I want to be. I want to sing, act, I want to be able to do it all.
VH1: Are you looking for new management right now?
Erica: I don’t really think I need it, I think I was really smart to stick with my gut. For whatever reason I just didn’t feel right signing. I never felt comfortable to sign with Rich from jump street, never felt completely comfortable to give him the control of my career that he was asking of me. So management right now isn’t really something I’m doing a worldwide search for. If it comes my way absolutely, but I think I’m doing pretty well in the sense of making my own ruckus and noise and I don’t mind being the manager and the talent at the same time. It’s a different dynamic and people aren’t use to having to be that way so maybe we can start a new trend.
VH1: Are you and Rich still talking? Are you guy’s friends?
Erica: No, we’re not. I’m actually really happy that we’re not together; I think it’s a good decision. He wasn’t the right one for me so it ended up working out perfect. No contract and once I was done with him I could move on and don’t have to worry about initial ties or attachments.
VH1: Would you be willing to still work with him?
Erica: I don’t really think it’s healthy for us to work together. I don’t really trust him anymore and I think you could only really hurt and betray somebody so much. I don’t want to be the girl that’s always looked at as having to fight, or that is always hurt or lashing out. Clearly my relationship with Rich has been a huge rollercoaster from jump street and even though my heart was in it, I kind of had to walk away and learn a real important lesson and I think its time for me to be single for a while and enjoy life.
VH1: How do you think you’re portrayed on the show?
Erica: You guys don’t get to see every minute of the six months that we film and I do react off emotion a lot and I think that’s what comes across on camera. People think it’s crazy but I can’t help it in that moment I’m being extremely passionate and not taking no sh– and whatever it is that’s super aggressive. I get that its intimidating for people but you don’t always get to see what happened and what made me say that or what happened before that scene before the cameras came on. I know I’m definitely considered being a wild card and this and that. I think even during the craziness the intentions come from a good place.
VH1: Do you think and Lore’l could rekindle your friendship?
Erica: No, I think it was good when it was, but I think she’s definitely crossed many lines. Regardless of what she feels, talking about my son, personal things or my scenario with abuse of my son’s father. If there was any respect or I could let it go I don’t care to now.