The world first met Tami Roman when reality TV was young. She appeared one the Real World LA in 1993 and made an impact with viewers when she got an abortion, got her jaw wired shut and got dragged while wrapped in a blanket by one of her fellow castmates. In other words, she managed to get into drama. Now, nearly 17 years after her first TV debut, she’s back on Basketball Wives. She’s older, wiser but she’ll still slap a broad. VIBE caught up with her to talk about her life since the Real World and why anyone who tries to disrespect her can catch it! ⎯Starrene Rhett
VIBE: What have you been up to since the Real World?
Tami Roman: After I came off The Real World, people back then didn’t really realize that it was reality and that we weren’t acting. They thought I was an actress so I fell into that field. I’ve been doing a lot of guest starring series regular work and being involved in that part of the business. I’m a mom. I have two teenage daughters, one is16 and the other is 14 so I’ve been grinding that out as well, which is difficult at times... I’m involved with a lot of charities and I’m just really trying to find myself again, because also with the acting in that little time span, I was married and divorced so now I’m at the point where I’m getting back to Loving Tami and enjoying Tami as the person I’ve become now.
Not only have you changed, but so has reality TV…
I’m gonna speak now in the context of what I see on TV. We had no idea then that reality TV was going to become what it is today. We didn’t know what we were doing. They put us in a house with cameras and taped us 24 hours a day between three and five months, I think. And they just took the footage and made an episode. But what I witness on TV now is, I think people come into the situation like, “I’m gonna do this to get camera time, “I’m gonna be this type of person, I’m gonna act this way” and they use it as a launching pad for whatever it is they’re trying to do. Coming into Basketball Wives for me, the reason I felt I decided to take part in this particular show was because I watched the first season and I felt I didn’t really get a chance to know those women and get a chance to see who they are and what their lives really are. I felt that I wasn’t represented. I’ve been married, I’ve been divorced and my situation was less than amicable so how they’re driving the Bentleys and the Range Rovers and all this other stuff. That’s not my moment and I felt like if they were gonna put a show out there then they need to show all aspects of having been involved with these high profile individuals. I spoke with the producers and everybody and told them that I didn’t feel represented and that my story would bring some value some substance to the show because I’m not the type of person that’s gonna sit and talk about and wallow about my ex-husband and I felt like I witnessed a lot of that in the first season⎯women arguing and being depressed about their exes and I think I wanted to bring about the aftermath, the ability to fall from grace and reestablish yourself, your independence and be your own person again. I don’t need Kenny to be able to survive and do what I need to do for my children and I felt that was not portrayed.
Talk about the scene in the trailer where your daughters let their father have it.
That was one of the main story points that I discussed with Shaunie and the producers. I wanted to introduce that because I felt it was necessary because Kenny and I⎯we dealt with each other not in a positive manner and that trickled down to our children. I felt it was important to let the world to know that sometimes relationships don’t work out but when there are children involved you have to take them into consideration regarding the decisions that you make because they’re gonna be effected, and when Kenny and I didn’t’ get along, he looked at it like “Well I’m just not gonna be involved,” and he didn’t uphold his responsibility to his children⎯not to me to his children⎯and I felt who better to tell him that than them.
We also saw you scrapping with Evelyn and Jen in the trailer, what was it about them that drove you nuts?
It’s not that they drove me nuts but I look at it this way: With the situation with Evelyn and Jennifer, I’m 40-years-old. I’m probably the oldest one on the show and within my 40 years, I’ve been through so many ups and downs⎯good, bad and different. I’ve lived in a mansion, I lived in my car⎯so I’ve run a 360 and so I feel that I’ve earned the right to be respected and when that’s violated then you’re gonna bring out a different side of Tami and I think that’s what people are gonna see. At the end of the day, whether you like me or whether you don’t, I’m always gonna keep it real and say what’s on my mind. I’m always gonna stand up for myself and you, whoever you are, are gonna respect me. You don’t have to agree but you’re gonna respect me and my position.