Singer Aubrey O'Day of the P. Diddy all-girl group Danity Kane is returning to the world of reality shows. After being dismissed on MTV's Making the Band, she is now flying solo on Oxygen's All About Aubrey. The new show chronicles the trails and tribulations as Aubrey is out to prove that she can make it without the band.
Windy City Times: Hey, Aubrey. After the pressure of Making the Band, how has it been with your own reality show?
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 forming a unit with four other women was the struggle. Everything is on my shoulders as a solo artist so I feel it harder than I did in Danity Kane.
WCT: Do you regret your action of separating from the group?
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
WCT: How is your relationship with Diddy?
Aubrey O'Day: You will see it explored on All About Aubrey.
WCT: How have your problems with weight changed?
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.
WCT: You have had a long journey to land back on a reality show.
Aubrey O'Day: Well I think after being fired in Making the Band, 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 to do Hairspray and, after that, Peepshow.
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.
WCT: How real is the reality show?
Aubrey O'Day: Reality television on Making the Band was actually real, whereas nowadays everything is so scripted and feels very phony. I wanted to get back to what I was used to which was basically like a long therapy session for the people involved in it and also the people watching it.
I loved that Oxygen allowed me to have a reality TV show where we were just filmed 24 hours a day. We were 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.
WCT: You will be spotlighting new music throughout the season?
Aubrey O'Day: Yes, 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 an amazing writer and producer.
Along with Gil, who is Janet Jackson's choreographer and was Danity Kane's choreographer, there is 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 how I should present myself.
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. 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 which I love.
WCT: Did you feel Gil was hard on you in 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.
WCT: It is very brave of you to put everything out there like that.
Aubrey O'Day: God, it's been embarrassing. When I watched the first episode I'm like, "Why did I do that?" I can't believe I'm telling this much of the truth; it's a little too much.
WCT: You have two dogs on the show with some colorful coats.
Aubrey O'Day: Yes, 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.
WCT: Can you tell our readers about the organization you started to raise money for AIDS?
Aubrey O'Day: Yes; FAN 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. I spent a lot of time in various places in Africa and that changed my life being in the orphanages and with children that had Aids that were dying of poverty, all these things.
I'd say that was the first time in my life I realized life is just not about me and I'm a very small piece. So I started this program. I started really grass roots in my sorority. I would make AIDS apparel to support keeping yourself tested and aware.
My goal for it would be to implement programming in children's hospitals internationally and basically do art and therapy for kids that are affected by AIDS and HIV.
WCT: How do you deal with the tabloids and gossip?
Aubrey O'Day: I think day by day. I've heard a lot of celebrities say they don't care and it doesn't matter that any press is good press. I think they're all probably lying or trying to put a positive step forward.
Because at the end of the day how can you not have your feelings hurt by people saying horrible things about you or making fun of you? All those things can be very confusing and very hurtful.
WCT: How has it been working with the Oxygen channel?
Aubrey O'Day: 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. 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.
WCT: What have you learned since Making the Band?
Aubrey O'Day: 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 on the cover of Playboy to being someone that has two platinum albums.
I think I've explored a good amount of both sides, 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 successful way.
WCT: Is there something fans can learn about you from watching the show?
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.
WCT: You have lots of gay fans that will be watching.
Aubrey O'Day: Thank God!
All About Aubrey premieres on Oxygen March 7. Check out www.oxygen.com for listings and details.