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All About Aubrey Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Aubrey O'Day

This is a transcript of an interview with Aubrey O'Day on February 22, 2011 about the show All About Aubrey. All About Aubrey premieres Monday, March 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm Eastern/Pacific on Oxygen. On the series the outspoken former member of the group Danity Kane is back and this time she is doing it her way as only she can. She has been through a lot since getting the boot from Diddy on Making the Band and she is going to tell her story and get back on top. The show will cover everything from creating her first solo album, getting herself back in shape physically, vocally, and emotionally as well as her search for love.

Question:
Watching you on Making the Band you were under a lot of pressure to perform and to work as a group. Can you tell me how much of that pressure you were able to relieve and how were you able to move forward to launch All About Aubrey?

Aubrey O'Day:
Well I'd say the pressure has probably only gotten stronger. It's a different type of pressure though. Originally Making the Band and you know, forming a unit with four other women was the struggle. And being able to find our niche and also support each other with our differences was kind of the struggle in that situation whereas being a solo artist everything is on my shoulders and all of the weight of every move that I make is a complete and 100% representation of just me. So I almost feel it a little harder than I did in Danity Kane.

Question:
Do you regret your actions that caused your separation from the group and what is your current relationship with Diddy?

Aubrey O'Day:
I don't regret standing up for what I thought was right and allowing my voice to be heard. I think that's a strong characteristic for any human being and most importantly for women to do especially nowadays in the workplace. It's not for everyone but because that has been who I am since childhood, it's just what is right for me. And my relationship with Diddy you will see explored on this season of All About Aubrey.

Question:
How were you able to get yourself back into shape physically?

Aubrey O'Day:
I think that for me my fluctuations in weight have been more about an emotional struggle than a physical struggle. I have a smaller frame to begin with and have never really had too many issues with battling weight but I did find once my emotional balance got shook that my weight started fluctuating heavily. And you will see especially on the first episode the harshness of kind of what I go through every day with people addressing my weight and basically the feelings behind why I've had so many issues with it.

Question:
You were introduced to us on a different reality show, Making the Band, and now you get to reintroduce yourself on All About Aubrey. Was that important for you to get back in front of the television cameras? Did you feel like you wanted people to see a certain side of you that they didn't see before?

Aubrey O'Day:
Well I think after being fired in Making the Band and Diddy and Danity Kane kind of went under, I felt like that was the last thing I wanted to do which is why I ran to Broadway and did Hairspray and then after that did Peepshow. I mean, I think it was like the last thing on my mind and I had a lot of like anger and frustration toward what I had gone through and a lot of like not understanding the way the business is and things like that that I hadn't like reached a comfortable position with at that point.

After a year of being on stage and doing all that stuff I got back to a place where I felt like I wanted to approach the music industry again. And initially starting that phase I really thought to myself like we've been accustomed to seeing so many girl groups rise to fame and falling in love with them and then however they break up, get dismantled, whatever it may be, it kind of just goes away, disappears, you never hear from them again or maybe you hear from the one that stood out. But you never really understand why or even how hard it is to have success a second time potentially on your own. And I really felt like that was a good story to tell and I think Oxygen felt like I was a good person to tell it because of how honest I am with my low moments as well as my highs.

And for me reality TV on Making the Band, it was real, it was actually real TV whereas nowadays everything is so scripted and feels very phony. And I really wanted to get back to what I was used to and what I knew reality TV to be which was basically like a long therapy session for the people involved in it and also the people watching it. And I really loved that Oxygen allowed me to have a reality TV show where we were just filmed 24 hours a day, was never handed scripts or given story lines. Everything is honest to God the truth of what was happening at that point in my life. And I feel like really blessed and like it really helped a lot to be able to get out all the things that had been like weighing heavy on my heart for so long.

Question:
What can you tell us about the music you've been working on and who you've been working with?

Aubrey O'Day:
Well Automatic is actually the theme song of the show so you'll see that opening the show every day or every episode. And from there basically I am working with Adonis who is a three-time Grammy award winner. He came from B. Cox's camp. He is amazing and also produced a lot of records for Danity Kane as well as Usher, Mariah Carey, Diddy, Beyonce, everyone. He's amazing, he's an amazing writer and producer.

And along with Gil, Janet Jackson's choreographer and was Danity Kane's choreographer and Johnny Wright who is my manager, those three are the ones that are really heading up the ship of my career and allowing me to come back into the music industry on my own terms even though they all have opinions about how I should be and what I should do and how I should present myself. But you'll kind of see all of that, the arguments and the thought behind the process of what it takes to come back as a solo artist especially from a situation that had so much success.

And the music is amazing. It's urban pop. Danity Kane fans will love it. It has a little bit more of my voice in it because I've written everything. And also some of it has like a 90s retro sound. One of the Danity Kane members does come back on my show and we do a record together and it has like a really 90s vibe to it, like Prince drums and a 90s retro sound which I love.

Question:
What have you learned about yourself since you left Danity Kane?

Aubrey O'Day:
Oh God, I don't even think we have enough time in this phone call for that question. What have I learned about myself? Let me think about the big ones. I'd say picking and choosing your battles, knowing when to let your voice soar and when to tone it down. You see a lot of the ideas of like celebrity versus artist in my show and I think like you've seen me kind of do both with being someone that was like on the cover of Playboy to being someone that has two platinum albums.

I think I've explored a good amount of both sides of that which is not usually the case. Either artists are artists and celebrities are celebrities. You don't necessarily always see crossovers done in any type of like successful way. So I think being able to explore both sides of that, I learned a lot and both of those worlds are very different. And the expectations both of those worlds have for you are very different and you'll see the struggles that I had with both of those.

And kind of my hopes would be to bridge them in a way where you can feel valuable and concrete in both of them which is kind of the burning question on my show because everyone has different opinions about whether that can successfully be done and how artists should act versus how celebrities act and which one is more valuable to me, etc.

Question:
How do you deal with the dark side in the industry in terms of tabloids and gossip and that stuff?

Aubrey O'Day:
I think day by day. You know, I've heard like a lot of celebrities say they don't care and it doesn't matter and any press is good press. I think they're all probably lying or trying to like put a positive step forward. Because at the end of the day like how can you not have your feelings hurt by people saying horrible things about you or making fun of you or suggesting that you're things that you know that you aren't. I mean, all those things can be very confusing and very hurtful. I think after you hear it enough you start to become like almost immune to it like there really isn't anything anyone can say to me to hurt my feelings because I think I've heard it all.

But I will say that I love that Oxygen gave me the opportunity to do my show the way I really wanted to which was having it be a real reality show. Because I think you'll honestly get to see who I really am, the good sides, the bad sides, the silly sides. And I think that lovers and haters alike will be pleasantly surprised by me because there are a lot of misconceptions about me in the media and there are a lot of inaccuracies about who I am.

And I think that being able to see me on the show in my real environment. My cast members on my show are my best friends since middle school and they're the people that I love and am closest to in this world. They didn't really like some shows will hire friends for you and stuff. Like there were no hiring of anyone, everyone is just like really the people that are in my life day to day. And I think it's like interesting to see who I am behind all of the rumors and gossip.

Question:
What's the story on the tie-dyed dogs?

Aubrey O'Day:
I have two dogs Ginger and Mary Ann and they are both dyed, Ginger is pink and Mary Ann is purple. And they're both dyed with a product that actually I created after using different dog dyes. They're all natural, mine is a green product, and I do it when they sleep so they don't even really know that it's being done. But they're just colorful and fun to me.

You know, I get a lot of mixed opinions about whether you should or should not do that to dogs. My dogs love it because it doesn't like affect them one way or another when it's being done and when it's done they get more attention than any other dogs that I've ever seen them around. And I think that the one thing my dogs love and need more than anything is attention and love and they get that, handfuls of it, more than any other dogs I've ever seen. So I think that like to say the least they're very spoiled with all of those things and the coloring and that kind of like stand out. I mean, I'm an owner that stands out. You know, you see owners dress their dogs up or we've seen all kinds of craziness.

There are shows nowadays with owners and their dogs and everyone kind of like living vicariously through their pets or having their best friends or their families through their animals. And I'd say to a small scale that happens with my dogs. I don't have the most like nurturing family background so to me my dogs are my family.

Question:
Did you feel that Gil was hard on you on that scene on the first episode?

Aubrey O'Day:
You know, when I was in the moment I was kind of like shocked by it, I think you can see that when he first goes in on me. It's not something I expected to hear or really understood was such an issue. I don't think that he was like too hard on me. Everyone is hard on you in the industry. This industry is like unforgiving and very brutal and it's not for everybody and you have to have a very thick skin. And the one thing I'll say if anything being attacked so much in the media for such a good amount of time really made me have to understand myself and what I feel is right.

You know, in life if you didn't have that happening you'd kind of just listen to other people and you'd kind of make opinions based off of what's around you and you'd kind of go with the times, go with the flow, go with what's hot, what's not, whatever and you have like a good amount of your life being dictated by other people.

And when you are attacked by so many people and you are forced to question things about yourself you really have to come to an understanding with your own self whether anyone else believes it or realizes it or not. So I think that if anything like a lot of that type of harshness that I've had actually has helped me become a stronger human being on my own without having to rely on anyone.

Question:
Could you tell me about Fight Aids Now, that's an organization you started?

Aubrey O'Day:
FAN, it stands for Fight Aids Now. And basically when I had my junior year of college I did a program called Semester at Sea which is where you travel around the world on a boat. You basically get to learn everything about every country that you go to. And I spent a lot of time in various places in Africa and I would say like changed my life being in the orphanages, being with children that had Aids that were dying of poverty, all these things.

And I'd say that was the first time in my life I realized like life is just not about me and I'm a very small piece. I think when you're young you feel like everything revolves around you and every little like thing that goes on in your life is such a huge deal. And seeing that was the first time that really made me realize that there was so much more I could do and be and very little actually revolved around my like small little existence at home. And so I started this program. I started really grass roots in my sorority. I would make like Aids apparel like to support anyone that had Aids, to support the disease, to support keeping yourself tested and aware.

And I would like look online and there wasn't a lot of really cute apparel so I started like doing like studded Aids ribbons and things like that on different T-shirts and hats and we'd sell them and raise money and donate it to The One campaign. And it started off really grass roots and small. I'd get everyone I knew to pull favors and put little events together and my sorority would always help and from there it kind of took a different form. My like ending goal for it would be to implement programming in children's hospitals internationally and basically do like art and therapy for kids that are affected by HIV.

Question:
Television has always gone hand in hand with your music career thus far. Do you feel like it's been a hindrance to your success or an asset?

Aubrey O'Day:
Definitely an asset because the two albums that I have are both platinum so I would say it didn't hurt. It did hurt me emotionally as a person I'd say in a lot of ways but it definitely didn't hurt my career in music. It doesn't always have that effect on everyone though. I mean, there are a lot of people that haven't like successfully been able to turn those two things into a successful venture.

But Diddy and the way that he did Making the Band, just the effect that it had on people being able to see young women who were used to sit at home and would dream of having opportunities really like stand on lines and sing their hearts out and dance their butts off and really like fight night and day to be a part of something that they wanted their whole life. I think that the world really stood behind what we were trying to do.

Question:
If you had to choose one thing you hope to accomplish or gain from this new show, what do you think it would be?

Aubrey O'Day:
I would say being able to show people the real me and change opinions. I always was kind of sad when the bad press started like rolling like wildfire because I think I'm a really interesting person. And I've been through a lot in life and I'm a very like self-reflective person and I've really challenged myself and pushed myself to be better and I've learned a lot of lessons because of that. And I think that I'm somebody that could have a really strong be a very vocal person for the youth.

I think that I'm like not afraid to stand up for the underdogs and the outcasts and the people that feel hopeless at times because those are all things that I felt and I'm not afraid to say that. And my life is not perfect by any means and I don't like necessarily promote this brand of like princessy like look at me, isn't it so great to like roll around in nice cars and expensive clothing. I mean, instead of doing that I've chosen to really like stand up for the people that don't have those things and the people that are being made fun of because they want to live their life differently than society tells them to, whatever it may be.

And I think that someone that's able to stand up and do that is really important nowadays especially when celebrity culture is really dictating a lot of the way people feel about themselves. And I was always kind of sad that my voice was so muted by the media's opinion of how ridiculous or messy they thought I was.

Question:
Also the controversy around your body and the changes that you made or didn't make. How important is it for you to express to girls who look up to you that body image isn't everything?

Aubrey O'Day:
Again like I've been in a place where it was everything to me and I also have seen it come and go and I've battled with the emotional part of eating versus the physical parts of eating. I mean, I think I've had every type of like experience in regards to the ups and downs of weight loss and I'd say like I think everything in moderation.

I really can't stand when celebrities come forward with new fads and new diets and pills and suggest that people should do all of these things to look exactly like them because we all know that every woman's body is different and nobody's body is going to look like the celebrity promoting it. And usually the celebrity promoting it has had tons of surgery anyway.

But like I really feel like it's important to tell young women especially like everything in moderation. Take care of yourself. It is important to be healthy and be fit and to have stamina and energy and to treat your body well. But at the same time stressing yourself out and feeling miserable about eating or feeling miserable about how you look is also not the way to go about living your life.

Question:
Specifically what will fans learn about you by watching the show that most people never knew about you?

Aubrey O'Day:
Well some people tell me from watching it they never realized how nerdy and silly I was. To me it's like who I've always been so I don't know that stands out to me. I think you see me in my natural element with my friends and there's a lot of, I mean, a big conception about me is that I have changed and I let fame get to my head and I've had like a million plastic surgery procedures and I'm this like mess of a person now.

And that's absolutely not the case. And you can see me hanging out with my best friend since middle school and being the same girl I've always been as well as seeing my fluctuations with my body and my weight. I mean, it was really hard for me to like escape all these plastic surgery rumors because I went from being this tiny girl with no butt and no boobs and people don't understand how I could be curvy now and they think that it had to have been some like surgical procedure that made me look like that.

And really like, I mean, I've gained weight all the way around and I have a body figure that like has been able to go from one to the other. And, I mean, I never would have thought that then but I also was heavier when I was younger. I've always kind of seen my body transition through phases of my life. And I think that like seeing me at sporadic points in my career, they see something one way and then all of a sudden a jump to something else but really it was a natural progression in time that led me to a different place like physically. And that's not always seen because I wasn't always seen for certain periods of time.

Question:
Will we see you corroborating with any other artists on the show?

Aubrey O'Day:
You will see me collaborate with an artist from Danity Kane.

Question:
At the end of it all, will we see you finding Mr. Right?

Aubrey O'Day:
You'll see me go through a process of trial and error for sure and I think that sometimes that's even more comical than finding Mr. Right. But not right now, no. You'll see different forms, I mean, it's not always dating disasters that you see. You'll see me liking guys, you'll see me kind of get played a little, you'll see different aspects of dating and like honestly what I really go through.

Question:
And at this stage do you think that you have the star power to get back on top?

Aubrey O'Day:
Yes.

Question:
Dawn has made a comment that the reason the band broke up is because the rest of you didn't want it as badly. What is your opinion of what she said?

Aubrey O'Day:
Well I would say that at this stage in my life I'm really about keeping it positive and I think her comment is a reflection of her negativity. And I hope that all of us are able to get through that place and come to a place of feeling good and supportive and positive because that's what allows you to sleep easy at night and be happy. And I wish her and everyone else the best.

And I would definitely have to say that everyone in our group loved Danity Kane and there wasn't any one person that loved it more than another. And I think everyone fought the group's battles and their own battles very hard and it has affected everyone in a very emotional way. And I don't think it's anyone's right to decide who felt the pain of that any harder than anyone else.

Question:
Are we going to be hearing any up tempos on your upcoming album or are we going to get to hear you singing some ballads to really show off what you can do?

Aubrey O'Day:
Oh you're going to get an amazing ballad called Goodbye Heartbreak on the show and it's really about kind of the last question you asked me about. It's about letting go of the past and letting go of being angry or negative or any of the things that have kind of held you down and brought you like ten steps back in life. And it came at a really emotional time during filming and it was exactly what my heart was feeling in that moment. And I think the ballad is amazing. You're going to see me write, record, and perform it live at R&B Live.

Question:
What do you want and perfect scenario, where are you in five years?

Aubrey O'Day:
I always get asked this question and I don't really have a concrete spot as far as like I want to receive a Grammy and I want this and I want that. You know, I used to think like that starting out Danity Kane and once I reached those places I was probably the most unhappy I've ever been. And I'd say that for every girl in the group. We could be performing at Madison Square Garden opening for the biggest tour of the summer and all be unhappy where we were at. So I would say that where I want to be in five years is happy, consistently happy and loving where I'm at and what I'm doing.

Question:
Which artists do you like?

Aubrey O'Day:
I love Calvin Harris, I love this group called Sleigh Bells, they're amazing. Those are like the more centric like different type music. I really love Ne-Yo, I think Keri Hilson is an amazing writer. I love Trey Songz, he's amazing.

Question:
Did you have a good time in New York Fashion Week?

Aubrey O'Day:
Yes I had so much fun. It was fun to be amongst all of the fashionable people, great energy, great vibe. My favorite part about New York Fashion Week is seeing my ads on every bus in New York. I was so excited I jumped out of my cab like 15 times to take pictures in front of my bus. I'm such a nerd.

Question:
Are we going to see you being nerdy on the show?

Aubrey O'Day:
Absolutely. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised at how nerdy I really am. Very funny, I think the show is really funny and also very honest and vulnerable.

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