The Sultry Side of the Sassy Sister Known as New York
Tiffany Pollard was born on January 6, 1982 to Michele Rothschild-Patterson and Alex Pollard and raised in Utica, New York where she graduated from Thomas R. Proctor High School.
Tiffany skyrocketed from obscurity to fame as the scene-stealing seductress with a world-class attitude on Flavor of Love, the reality TV-series where contestants vie for the affections of hip-hop star Flavor Flav. The clock-carrying rapper didn’t choose her as his lifemate, but he did give her the nickname “New York,” and had the good sense to have her back for his program’s second season.
Since her outrageous antics had been so good for ratings, VH1 offered Tiffany her own show, I Love New York, flipping the script by letting her have her pick from among a score of fawning, eligible bachelors. She was assisted in this enviable endeavor by her ever-sassy mother, Sister Patterson, who helped her daughter settle on Tango, the first season, and on Tailor Made, the next.
Although New York accepted marriage proposals from both of her hunky heartthrobs, neither relationship would even last long enough for an exchange of wedding vows. After several years of frustration at trying to find Mr. Right, Tiffany recently decided to shift her focus from romance to her acting career, now allowing TV cameras to follow her around from audition to audition, of course.
Judging from the snippets I’ve seen so far of Tiffany’s latest reality series, New York Goes to Hollywood, her fans should be happy to know that the flamboyant vixen hasn’t toned down her act one iota for the sake of casting directors or studio execs. Here, she talks about all of the above, including the new show, which premieres on VH1, Monday, August 4th at 10 PM (check local listings).
KW: Hi Tiffany, thanks for the time. I really appreciate it.
TP: Oh, you got it, no problem.
KW: I must admit that I’m a bit intimidated, having seen you go off on so many people at a drop off the hat.
TP: Aw, you know what, Kam? I’m going to be good today. I don’t want you to be intimidated. At least not a lot, just a little bit.
KW: Thanks. Well, I watched some of the new series, and I have to admit I really enjoyed it. It was a refreshing change of pace from seeing you in nothing but romantic situations.
TP: Well, it has a different vibe. It’s definitely New York, but it’s New York grown up. I had fun making the show, but I’m serious about the acting business. So, I want my fans to know that this is a real chunk of my life, like this is my dream. You don’t know how people might receive it, because like you said, it’s different from Flavor of Love and I Love New York. I’m not running around the house with 20 guys looking for love. Basically, I’m on a mission. I think the show is going to go over well, because I had fun doing it.
KW: This program seems to have a much wider range of possible activities than the previous shows.
TP: Absolutely, because there’s so much room for error on this show. When I was with the guys, we had things planned, so I knew what to expect from day to day. But shooting New York Goes to Hollywood, you couldn’t escape day-to-day life.
KW: Should we anticipate seeing your mother on the show?
TP: Oh, come on Kam! Do you really need to ask that? You know my mom’s going to be there. Definitely, definitely. I couldn’t do it without her. She’s going to come down and make sure everything’s in order. You know how she does it. She’s going to be there for a large chunk of the show, actually.
KW: What happened to you and Tailor Made? I thought you lovebirds were getting married?
TP: Umm, Tailor Made and I experienced the ups-and-downs of a typical relationship. Unfortunately, we succumbed to what everyone succumbs to eventually. We broke up. I wanted it to last, but it didn’t happen that way. Nothing lasts forever. However, I’m back in my happy place. I’m in a good zone, and hopefully he is, too. I don’t see him losing any sleep over what happened, because he’s mostly to blame for the break-up.
KW: You initially declined his marriage proposal on the show. Why had you been hesitant in the first place?
TP: Why? [Laughs] Oh, you caught me out there. Why? Because I didn’t know if it was real, if he was just proposing to me because Tango did last season. There was a lot that went into it, and I didn’t want to make a hasty decision.
KW: Why do you think the relationship failed?
TP: The main ingredient that we lost was definitely the passion. And when I say “we lost” I really mean on his end. If you were to speak to him, he would admit it to you, because he even admitted it to me that he pulled out emotionally. We weren’t connecting or spending as much time together. We had a new relationship, and a very public relationship, so it needed a lot of nurturing. But he started doing his own thing, so I had to go on about my business and do my own thing. So, we kinda fell apart. But there’s nothing bad I could say about him, because he’s still the same person he was when I picked him on the show. He’s still a good guy.
KW: Do you think becoming famous might have gone to his head?
TP: I want to be honest, so I’m going to say, yes. That’s my take on it. I’m entitled to have my opinion and perceptions, and that’s what I saw. Tailor Made did everything for me from top -to bottom, until the show aired. And once he was able to get gigs on his own, and hang out with all his fans in all his glory, he didn’t know me anymore. He wasn’t calling me. He wasn’t texting me. I was the one trying to make things happen. It’s unfortunate that it ended up like that.
KW: Would you say Tailor Made broke your heart?
TP: [Pauses] Stop. I said I was going to be good. [Laughs] No, he didn’t break my heart. My heart never came undone with him, because he went his way, and I went mine.
KW: What is it like dating 20 guys at once?
TP: You definitely know how to be a multi-tasker. And you have to know how to separate the guys who are there for you from the ones who are there to be on television. I may have been in a house with 20 guys, but I only really connected with 2 or 3 on an emotional level.
KW: Did anything happen between you and Flavor Flav while taping that reunion show? I heard that you were off alone in the bathroom with him.
TP: He followed me into the bathroom, but not into a stall. Nothing happened. Definitely not. We were just talking, and he was hanging by the door. I was kinda like flipping my hair, getting the oil off my skin, and patting my nose down.
KW: Are you still friends with any of the losers from either season of I Love New York?
TP: Any of the losers? [Laughs]
KW: How about Boston or Buddha?
TP: You know who sends me the cutest text messages occasionally? Midget Mac. He’s still really cool. And Buddha, will send me text messages, and it leaves me crazy voice messages. They’re both cool, too.
KW: What do you think are the odds of finding true love on a reality-TV show?
TP: I’m still optimistic, Kam. I definitely think it could happen for somebody but, unfortunately, some people, like Tailor Made, pull out, because they’re not used to having the fame.
KW: Does that mean that season three of I Love New York is in the works?
TP: [Laughs] Do you know something that I don’t know? Actually, right now, I’m on a journey pursuing my passion for acting. But if someone approached me to do another season, I would certainly consider it.
KW: How much would you say you’re similar to the person we’ve seen on TV?
TP: Seriously? I’d say I’m 100% like that person. I love makeup. I love hair. I’m larger than life. If you press the wrong button, if you step on my toes in the street, I’m gonna get pissed off. That’s totally me. When you go onto a reality show, they don’t draw a character up for you. I’m that same person. But you have to understand that you might see me fight a little more on reality television, because the circumstances cause me to fight since people are always coming at me. When viewers see me defend myself, they think I’m this crazy, loud person, but that’s not true.
KW: Why do you think the medium of TV loves you so much? Have you thought about what it is that makes you so magnetic?
TP: [Chuckles] I hear that a lot, that I’m so captivating. But I’m a humble person. A lot of people might not know that about me. I’m just an individual. There’s nobody else who looks like me, or walks like me. I would guess that I have some special ingredient.
KW: The “It” factor. Will that special quality translate to the big screen as an actress?
TP: That’s a different league right there, a whole different ballgame. That’s what’s so exciting to me about acting. You have to work extra hard at it. Reality-TV, you can just jump on the screen and be you, but with acting, you have to show up and be that character they need you to be. So, I like the challenge of it all. That’s what draws me toward it. If I keep working at it as hard as I’m working at it now, something definitely will come my way.
KW: Which actresses would you say are your role models?
TP: The ones who inspire me the most are the ones I grew up watching transition to the screen. The first one that always comes to mind is Queen Latifah. Watching her evolve was such an inspiration. I love her… Vivica A. Fox… Angela Bassett…
KW: Are you worried about being typecast as the sassy sister?
TP: To be honest, unfortunately, that’s the bittersweet reality of the business. You’re going to be typecast. It is what it is. It’s up to you to stay strong and try to break down the door, because it’s going to happen. Nobody’s going to cast me as a nurse or a lawyer right off the bat. So, I’m going to have to break down those barriers.
KW: What director would you like to work with?
TP: Spike Lee. I loved Jungle Fever, Do the Right Thing, Girl Six, all of his films.
KW: And what leading man would you like to be paired opposite as your romantic love interest?
TP: Love interest? Let me see… I have the biggest crush on Laurence Fishburne from back in the day right up ’til now.
KW: “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan asks: Where in L.A. do you live?
TP: When I first came out to Los Angeles, and lived here on my own, before anybody knew me, I lived downtown.
KW: Where do you live now?
TP: I don’t want to give too much information, because I’m a private person, but I’m really close to where we shot the last show.
KW: Which was?
TP: I think we shot this recent show in Sherman Oaks.
KW: Where were the mansions you lived in during I Love New York located?
TP: Oh boy, somewhere in the Hollywood Hills. The last mansion we shot in was right above or below J-Lo’s place. It was really huge and beautiful, with security guards at the gate. So, you couldn’t just walk onto the property.
KW: Are you living in New York City, too?
TP: Right now, I’m mostly in L.A. I kinda miss New York a little bit. I can tell that I’m going to be taking a trip back East real soon.
KW: The reason I ask is because a friend of mine, Danielle, was recently house-hunting in Manhattan, and she said she met you and your bodyguard. You were both looking at the same three-bedroom apartment in Nolita [North of Little Italy].
TP: Yes! Oh my goodness! That’s so funny. It’s such a small world. I was looking for a place in Manhattan, because I didn’t want to be on the outskirts. But I didn’t take that apartment. Did Danielle jump on it?
KW: No, she didn’t either. What do your high school friends think about how you’ve turned out?
TP: Growing up in such a small city inspires you to want more. Any person from Utica who knew me prior to my moving to L.A., would say they knew I had big dreams. I never let that go. I made it known to all my friends that I wanted to get out, do my thing, and be on television, because I always had that dream. And they supported me. So, the people back home are not surprised.
KW: What would you like your fans to know about you that might surprise them?
TP: That I have a real solid, spiritual background. I have a great connection with God. People probably don’t see that side of me, but I want them to know that it does exist.
KW: Were you involved with the church growing up?
TP: Was I? I went to Sunday school every Sunday, to Friday night Bible Study and to Sunday services. My grandfather is a pastor, so I grew up in the church. A lot of people probably don’t know that.
KW: Then, how do you explain your use of foul language?
TP: I look at it like this: nobody’s perfect. When I pray, I always tell God, “You know, I’m your work in progress.” I’m here on Earth just like everybody else. I’m not claiming to be a perfect person who is not going to slip up from time to time. He understands, and I really don’t answer to anybody else, so I’m good.
KW: You strike me as even tempered and totally different from on the show, where you always seem to have a very quick trigger. Do you ever try to stop yourself from blurting out an expletive?
TP: I definitely have that mechanism that can decipher right from wrong. But when I’m having a bad day, and you’re in my zone, and up in my face, you’re going to hear it. Basically, that’s what happens.
KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
TP: Columbus Short … he’s cute. Am I happy? You turn on the news, it’s trippy. Things are crazy. I don’t even remember it being this crazy five years ago. So, yeah, I’m ecstatic. I got my pets, my friends and my family. I’m doing great.
KW: How many pets do you have?
TP: I have my Chihuahua living with me. My mom has my cat, and I’m thinking of adopting another Chihuahua this weekend.
KW: How many kids do you want to have when you find Mr. Right?
KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
TP: Of course. This is life. We had an earthquake in L.A. just last week. You never know what’s going to happen. But that fear can actually sometimes be a good thing. I like walking into a place and not know exactly what’s going to happen. That’s a healthy fear without any anxiety.
KW: That’s interesting, because most people probably see you as tough and fearless.
TP: No, no, no, I experience the full range of emotions of any other human. Yeah.
KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?
TP: Russell Simmons’ Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success. It’s a self-help book to get your life together and make it happen.
KW: That’s a coincidence. I’m supposed to interview Russell at a CD release party this week. I’ll tell him that you said his book was the last one you read.
TP: Thank you. It’s a really great book.
KW: What’s the most outrageous question a reporter has ever asked you?
TP: If I were really a woman, because of all the hair and makeup and the larger-than-life personality. He said, “That can’t be real. You must have some extra business between your legs.” I think that was the craziest question I’ve ever been asked.
KW: How do you want to be remembered?
TP: As a person who encountered life’s ups and downs, and twists and turns, and survived it all. I’d like people to remember me as a fighter and a go-getter, because that’s who I truly am.
KW: Who are you supporting for president?
TP: Oh come on! Barack Obama! I couldn’t shout it loud enough. Seriously, I have to say that I’m so proud of him. I never thought that I would see what he’s doing in my lifetime.
KW: Well, Tiffany, this has been delightful, and I’m going to tell my readers that you didn’t come close to using foul language even once. Good luck with the show and your career, and I’m eager to see what happens in the upcoming episodes over the course of the season.
TP: Kam, it’s been wonderful talking to you. This has been a really cool interview, and I’m glad you’re as excited about the new show as I am.
KW: I hope I’ll be able to get another interview when you’re a big movie star.
TP: Absolutely! We’ll definitely have to do this again. Take care.
Watch a sample of New York Goes to Hollywood