MVP: Evelyn Lozada Talks 'Inner Circle,' Defends Love Life and Ex-BFF Beef
is exactly the bitch you think she is. And that’s a good thing. Since season one of Vh1’s Basketball Wives, the curvy and candid ex-girlfriend of Antoine Walker has been depicted as a money-grubbing mean girl. But while the Bronx bombshell may come across brash, beneath the reality-show veneer is, dare we say, a sweet and forthcoming woman.
While there’s usually more brawlin’ than ballin’ on the show, we’ve all become engrossed in the tangled webs these women weave. The drama unfolding in Season 4—which premieres on February 20—involves a hostile and seemingly physical feud between Evelyn and former BFF Jennifer Williams, a friendship that seemed rock solid. But judging from leaked stories and bitter back and forth on Twitter, the pair’s bond has gone through a Titanic-esque collapse. A small tiff last season—stemming from an interview where Jennifer called Evelyn’s fiancé Chad Ochocinco a fame whore—has only grown bigger. Most recently, in a Sister 2 Sister interview, Jen accused Evelyn of being jealous of her friendships with fellow reality vixens Mashonda and Nene Leakes, a statement that had Evelyn fuming.
Theatrics and ’bow-throwing aside, Basketball Wives has yielded plenty of moneymaking ventures for Evelyn, including a customized t-shirt line (most of them bearing her signature phrase: “You’re a Non-Muthaf***kin’ Factor, Bitch”), a makeup line aptly named "E" by Evelyn Lozada and her first novel, Inner Circle, hitting shelves June 5 via Cash Money Content. VIXEN chats with the HBIC on those ventures, Rihanna, her epic breakup and what Ochocinco thinks of all this. —Clover Hope
VIBE VIXEN: You’ve said that you try to go into filming and not come across mean. Has that been working out this season so far?
Evelyn Lozada: From Season 1, they started calling me and Jennifer mean and evil. If me being mean is me being honest and real… Maybe my delivery is not always what everybody wants. Everybody has their own way of dealing with things. But if me being honest and blunt is being mean, then that’s fine. Girl, none of that stuff bothers me. When you sign on to do a reality show, life is no longer private and everyone is judging it.
Does it seem like you’re judged more than, say, an actress or singer? Does this type of fame feel different?
Absolutely. I think reality is so much harder because you’re being yourself [laughs]. Actresses, they’re acting to be someone else. For you to be on a reality show and really show your day-to-day and how you are, I don’t know how many people can do that. And then have the world have an opinion about everything you’re doing. Your reality is not always positive.
Is there a part of you that doesn’t like being in front of the cameras?
I do have those times if I’m with my daughter, or I’m with Chad and I have to leave and go film. This season has been a little difficult because I’m living in two places. I definitely have those moments when I just want to not move or stay with my family, but I have to do what I have to do.
I always wonder why reality shows that have returning casts don’t address the fame that comes with being on the show, on the actual show. When you’re filming in public, does the crowd acknowledge you guys?
Definitely. I remember filming recently with Shaunie and we’re walking and talking, and you have those people that are yelling from across the street [laughs]. It was very different first season—you did have people that were curious as to what you were filming, like, “Who are these girls?” But now we have a fanbase. We always have security on set to make sure no one’s crazy and jumping in, ’cause we’ve had those moments [laughs]. For Season 1, we didn’t always have security on set, but I guess they didn’t know what to expect then.
What’s your main storyline this season?
It’s a little bit of everything. Obviously, my personal life is something people are interested in. My business ventures, the book, and my store [Dulce], my makeup line—that’s obviously talked about on the show. And the drama I’m having with certain cast members, that’s obviously going to be number one because that’s what people are really interested in.
That would be Jennifer. There’s a lot I’ve already read about. You did an interview with Necole Bitchie recently to kind of explain it. But is there—
Can I just say something? I didn’t mean to cut you off, but I’ll say this: I don’t do a lot of interviews. Even when we’re promoting the show, I’ll do limited interviews. Or when I’m done, I’m done with it. I’m not on every radio station. I just don’t have the energy. It’s so draining filming. So when I did the Necole Bitchie interview, it’s because there was an interview that [Jennifer] had done prior. There’ve been several interviews that she has done. And I stay quiet because I’m just like, “Whatever, she’s just doing another interview.” She’s like on a media tour. But I felt like this one time, I needed to say something.
It really made me angry that she’s saying that this is why we’re having issues, when it’s clear, especially on Season 4, what the issue is. I don’t understand. If you know what the issue is, because it’s been talked about time in and time out, how you would go and do this fake interview where you’re basically lying and throwing these two innocent people [Mashonda and Nene] into something that shouldn’t even be involved? That was why I did that Necole Bitchie interview: to really clear up that I don’t have an issue with the two ladies that she mentioned. It really baffled me that she really went there when you know the truth and you know exactly what’s going on.
And then there was news on TMZ about your assistant and Jen getting into a fight.
When the show airs and the story fully comes out, you will see what happened. Nia is not only my friend. Nia was friends with Jennifer for eight years. That’s where the media got this all wrong. TMZ went back and corrected that. Nia and Jennifer had major history, so whatever was said in the police report is false. And that’s another reason why the issue just keeps getting bigger and bigger. But when the show airs, you will see how everything plays out. Nia is not just my assistant. Trust me when I tell you. Her and Jennifer have major history. They were friends.
What is it she’s saying in these interviews that’s getting to you?
The reason I did the Necole Bitchie interview is because she made a comment saying that I’m jealous of her friendship with Nene and Mashonda. Me and Nene have spoken on the phone before; we’re cool. I could care less who you hang out with. And the other issue I can’t really touch on because that’s something that talked about on the show, but it’s something else publicly that was talked about that pissed me off as well.
Do you take any blame? Do you try to see both sides and look at yourself in the situation?
No, ’cause it’s hard for me to… Why would I take blame for her doing interviews and always putting me in her interviews and making certain comments? That’s all her doing.
Do you think you and Jennifer would still be friends if it weren’t for all the interviews and things said on Twitter?
I mean, the outside things, the social network, Twitter, that’s not what affected my friendship with her. It’s her commenting on different things. I’m not saying Jennifer can’t do interviews. It’s what she puts out there is what I have issues with. Everything else doesn’t affect my friendship with her, with Chad or anybody.
Do you regret anything you tweeted about her contacts and her wanting to be a white girl?
No, I don’t. I would be lying if I said I did feel bad. That’s me… And she does have contacts [laughs]. I don’t feel bad at all. And my thing is, when I love you and I’m a loyal friend, I love you ’til the end. I’m there for you. But at the same time, when you’re on that other side, you’re on that other side and there’s no in-between for me. Maybe that’s something I need to work on, but I can’t be a partial friend to you. I’m either all in, or I’m not your friend at all.
Chad tweeted at you to get off Twitter after your tweets to Jennifer.
You know what, women are different. We’re very feisty; it’s just how girlfriends are. And he doesn’t like that. I don’t talk to him about anything on the show, ’cause he could care less. But he definitely put me in my place. And listen, I got off of Twitter. I respected what he said because he knows when I’m in that space; he knows I’m pissed off. People are like, “Why would you get on Twitter?” Because I can say what’s going on! That’s me typing. I wrote it so I can’t blame anyone but myself. He doesn’t like the drama. He tries to calm me down and he does, because he definitely checked me and I haven’t said anything else since [laughs].
It seems like the show has gradually evolved into women just confronting each other about things that they’ve said. Doesn’t that feel like high school?
No, because I think that whenever there’s an issue going on, it’s like “We’re all gonna sit down and have this discussion.” But you have so many different personalities that a bomb is bound to explode. It doesn’t feel like high school. It’s part of what makes the show work. If we were all great friends and we all got along and we were all going to church together and baking cakes, I don’t think anyone would be interested.
There were some recent tweets that people assumed were you talking about Chad. One was “Sick and tired.” Another one was something about instincts telling you before your head figures it out. What was that about?
That’s the thing about Twitter. That actually wasn’t even towards him. But anything I say, especially if I don’t “@” no one, it’s like, “Oh, who’s she talkin’ about?” That’s why I have to be careful with… Sometimes I read relationship tweets that I want to retweet because I think it’s a great quote. I have to really say to myself, “Let me not tweet that, because they’re gonna think I’m talking about him.” So those comments weren’t even towards him. That was just something they ran with it.
Is trust the biggest issue in your relationship?
I don’t trust a lot of people. I don’t trust anyone. Whether it’s a man, whether it’s Chad, or if I was dating someone else, just human beings—it’s hard for me to trust people. I’ve been stabbed in the back and I’m very leery about anyone that’s around me. I trust my family, my closest friends. And that’s why my core girlfriends, I’ve been friends with them, six, 10, 15 years. I’m leery about letting new people into my life and that has nothing to do with the show. I think that just magnifies it.
Last season, you had a talk with your dad about him not being around. How is your relationship now?
It’s good. It’s better. We don’t speak every day. It’s one of those things that I don’t think is just gonna change overnight, I do feel awkward at times. But I’m working on it. I’m looking to fly him here to Florida to hang out with us. He calls me every week. He kept his promise, I’ll tell you that.
In your book, Inner Circle, do you get into your background? I know some of it is based on journals you wrote.
A lot of these novels are based on these journals I found. I was moving and I bumped into them and I was sitting there reading. There are good and bad stories in there, things I was dealing with at the time and I was like, “How awesome would it be to put them in these books?” That’s when I ended up meeting Courtney Parker, who helped me write the book. So it was pretty cool being able to put those stories in these books and change names and make interesting novels out of them. I always say I would never do a tell-all, because I would never put anyone on blast. But for me to be able to handle all that information and put that into these books is pretty cool.
Oh, so it’s fiction.
Yeah. It’s a series of three books.
How did the Cash Money signing come about? And have you met anybody in the crew?
With the Cash Money contract, I’m really good friends with Teresa Caldwell, who’s Bow Wow’s mom. She had a conversation with Baby and his book agent called mine. And everybody had a million and one conversations about it. I had other offers on the table, but this one felt good. I think that anything that Baby and Cash Money put their name on, it works. I haven’t met Drake and I haven’t met Nicki Minaj. Baby invited me to the Grammy’s, but I’m actually going to be out of town.
What’s your favorite song right now?
Anything Rihanna is my favorite song. I play her album when I’m at photo shoots. I’m like addicted [laughs].
You guys have tweeted back and forth. Have you met yet?
No, I haven’t met her. And I was so bummed ’cause on New Years, we were at Puffy’s house. She was there and I ended up going to Boston. She ended up seeing my daughter there with some of my friends and she tweeted something like, “Where are you bitch?” and I was like “Ughhhhh! I hate myself!” [Laughs] ‘Cause I was in Boston by myself, [Chad] had curfew ’cause he had a game on Sunday, so I was literally in Boston, by myself, at the house. And then she tweeted me the other day, ’cause I watching The First 48 and I guess that’s her favorite show, too. She’s cool. I like her ’cause she doesn’t care. She’s like this fire. She says what she wants to, she tweets what she wants to. She doesn’t change, and that’s what I really, really love about her and respect about her. You never know what’s gonna come out her mouth.