Love & Hip Hop vet Tahiry Jose is popping up everywhere these days—from our Twitter timeline to our TV. The curvy multimedia mogul is taking over the social stratosphere, building an empire of her own and investing in more important things—her dreams.
Dabbling in all things sexy, the famed model talks about taking her talents to the next level by promising more “ratchetness” on the next Love & Hip Hop season, the launch of her nail polish line with Color Club, the success of her 2014 calendar Intimacy and how much Team Tahiry means to her.
The fearless reality star got up with Vixen for some girl talk and paw pampering. For our latest edition of Digital Dish, Budden’s ex explicitly shares her personal issues and reveals how her mistakes have only made her stronger, proving how helpful a thick skin can be in the entertainment industry. She certainly exudes strength and perseverance—and an admirable ability to dodge drama.
Vixen: What made you want to do the calendar?
Tahiry: My fans. My supporters. “Team Tahiry” is what I like to call them. I had my first calendar released in 2011. It was called “The Wet Edition,” shot out in St. Lucia. The plan wasn’t to be on TV, but it kind of was, maybe subconsciously. Once all this started, I always dreamt of having my own calendar, being seen on covers, even doing playboy. So in 2011, I took it upon myself to give my fans something else. Calendar’s have been done before, but when I first got started I got pretty hot really quickly.On the internet, social media was just starting to really take over, so I figured why not sell my images.
To keep it real, these magazines say that it’s a platform for us or a way of branding, but they’re really pimping us. You get on a cover—not even on a cover—sometimes you just get a spread. Back then they would pay you, but now-a-days you have a lot of people wanting to be famous and doing it for pennies, so the industry has gotten saturated. I realized really quickly that as much as it was kind of helping me, they were pretty much selling my images and I wasn’t seeing any money. So I’m always thinking about how to make a dollar and I was like “shit, I can pimp myself.” I decided to invest. I took my savings at the time and I decided to come out with the calendar in 2011. It had a great response. I was still behind the bar, so I would sell it outside at like 5 o’clock in the morning out the trunk of my car or behind the bar and after a while I was running around with them in boxes…like straight like I was selling a mixtape. Doing that, I got great responses and I learned a lot, so I said why not do another one?
Vixen: Why did you skip a year?
Tahiry: When 2013 came, I was in higher demand and my schedule also did not allow me to do it. I skipped 2013 and a lot of people were disappointed, so even me being busier this time, I was looking forward to giving my fans what they wanted. It took longer than expected, but I’m a perfectionist. I love showing off my body, I don’t care if I’m fifty, if I look good and it’s mine why not? I still run around the house naked. It took long because I was trying to get it right.
I did it in New York and it was an amazing experience. It’s the more mature me, it’s kind of artsy. Art is in now and everybody is jumping on the bandwagon. To me, it wasn’t about jumping on the bandwagon. To me, it was about telling a story and how I’m growing as a woman. Cheeks are cool, but how many times am I going to wear a thong and turn around. So I decided to add something deep and romantic and personal. That’s why we brought intimacy. It’s pretty special because I realized that I’m in every jail cell.
Vixen: How many have you sold?
Tahiry: We’re still counting. The pre orders have done really well, but I haven’t checked the numbers yet. I’m not pressed because I know I always do well.
Vixen: How do you deal with being naked in front of the camera?
Tahiry: This calendar took me nine hours; my first calendar took me three days. You get better with time. I work better with a photographer that gives me direction. A good photographer will take 300 snaps, but they’ll tell you when to move. A good photographer is not going to put out something that’s going to make them look bad. They know that you’re a reflection of each other. I’m usually surprised when I see my face, but sometimes it just clicks.
Vixen: Which avenue that you have partaken in has been the most challenging? Which is the most rewarding?
Tahiry: The most challenging would be me being part owner of the nightclub “Suite 135” in Harlem. I’m going through 90-day boot camp of being an owner. I’ve been in the industry for 10 years as a waitress, hostess and bartender; I did almost every part except for owning an actual establishment. That opportunity presented itself like nine months ago and I was scared as shit. The responsibilities are different. Before, you’d walk in, you’d work and you’d leave with money regardless of the circumstances. As an owner, now that becomes your responsibility. I’m glad I have a partner who’s a great general manager. Now it’s just getting the venue up and running, making sure the bills get paid and making sure everybody’s doing what they got to do. When you attach a figure or someone who’s in the public eye to a venue, it’s harder. They don’t see the hard work you put into it. I get up every day to make sure things are going right. None the less, it’s a blessing and I’d do it again.
The most rewarding is the fact that I have a huge support system. I love my fans. I get to show every kid in Harlem that I’m a product of my environment and I made it out the hood. Every day I wake up and strive to do better and be some kind of a role model. It’s good and bad because it weighs heavy, we all make mistakes.
Vixen: How do you deal with social media negativity?
Tahiry: I don’t have a Google alert. I’m not trying to go through central booking. I’m fully aware of what happens online. I’ve had really nasty things said about me. I see things differently now that I have experienced reality TV and my fan base is growing. The industry forces you to grow this thick skin really quickly. I’ve been pretty blessed. Most of the women in this industry will be lucky if they’re around for two years before there’s a new chick coming out with bionic booty. I also come from Joe Budden school. He taught me a lot and we’ve been through a lot. He taught me that you have to not care and that this shit is going to come with it.
In the beginning, I remember being in bed for weeks straight, depressed and not understanding. Now, when I’m having a bad day, I’ll just answer. I’ll hit hit up whoever like, “ya mother” or curse them out really quick. Sometimes when I’m bored, I’ll delete some comments. I try not to entertain because why would you feed a monster. The fan wanted your attention and once you pay attention, it just gets worse. At the end of the day I really have to remember that they don’t know me. People have this preconceived notion of who you are before they shake your hand, so you’re already losing from the beginning. I just surround myself with my team.
Vixen: What’s the craziest rumor you’ve ever heard about yourself?
Tahiry: From my body parts being fake to me being sick to me living in other peoples’ houses to Joey spending the night, but I’m on a date.
Vixen: What’s the biggest misconception that people have of you?
Tahiry: That I’m uneducated. That I only date rappers. I’m in the industry and I’m getting to know other people in the industry, so it’s kind of hard to date regular guys because either they get intimidated, they don’t understand the lifestyle or he’s your fan; he loves you for the first two months then he becomes insecure. When I first started dating Joe, he was really not throwing anything. I was paying for a lot. People talk, but they don’t know. I dated him when there was lent on his fan and a blanket on his window. Who knew he was going to be this big?
Vixen: Can we look forward to a Tahiry show?
Tahiry: Hopefully. There’s certain things I wouldn’t do for a check, but that’s just me. My life is exciting I guess, I don’t think so, but everybody else thinks so. Ultimately, producers and what not, sit and talk about what’s going on. I didn’t know I was going to get proposed to on TV; my life is just drama. I’m the oldest of 14, my father just had another baby, I have a lot of responsibility that my family has left me with. From having sisters, work, and the man situation—that I can’t seem to get right. I wake up with 100 texts a day.
Vixen: What’s next for you?
Tahiry: Right now, I’m dealing with the club. I have nail polish coming out with Color Club. My nail polish is kind of cute because it’s scratch and sniff. I took a lot of my favorite colors and tweaked them a bit. I’m in love with whiteout white, so I did that and added a little pink. I played with my hot pinks. It comes out 2015 in February for Valentine’s Day. It’s called “Love Tahiry” and when you polish it, it will smell like a scent. I have one called “champagne” that smells like champagne. It will be sold in stores like urbanoutfitters, nail supplies stores and discount stores. I have two independent films coming out. I’m working on jewelry—not costume jewelry—like rings and earrings and some chains that I like.
I’m really interested in opening a gym. That’s very premature, but I woke up one morning and I was on my way to the gym and I just thought of it. I’m thinking about something cozy with personal training and yoga classes somewhere the average girl can feel comfortable. Kind of like a spa vibe. We’re working on Tahiryonline.com, we want to make it more interactive. I plan to do some charity work. I like to give back. I’m dipping my feet in everything I love.
Vixen: What’s an ungoogleable fact about you?
Tahiry: I sleep with Vix every night. My mom used to do it to us when we were kids. My mom would do it when she was sick and it’s something I do now. My sister does it. Joey would say, “nobody wants to sleep with a grandma.” Now he walks around with Vix in his pocket. I don’t know. I can’t think of anything else. I really just don’t care. I am who I am.
Vixen: Do you wish that your relationship with Joe wasn’t as public?
Tahiry: No, Joey and I were supposed to be public. He raps about it, he tweets about it. It is what it is when it comes to Joe. It didn’t damage what we had, Joey damaged what we had. Do I in the future plan on keeping my relationships private? I would love to find someone that would love to be public with me, but not a lot of men enjoy that hype or they’re not secure enough. Even within celebrities. Not a lot of men can deal with the slack that comes with it. Today, it has to be a thirsty guy who wants attention or someone that you have history with. Just because you went to dinner or hung out with someone a few times doesn’t mean you’re sleeping with them. I’d rather get to know someone and take my time so I know it’s real. If it’s worth it, I’m cuffing on that red carpet!
Vixen: What are five ways to get over a break up?
Tahiry: You have to pray because it feels like the end of the world. You surround yourself with family. Don’t go jumping into another relationship because you’re trying to get over him. Surround yourself with real love, the unconditional kind: your mom, your dad, your sisters, your cousins. I went back to my grandma’s house in the projects. I’ve done that a few times. You stay busy. You work out. I get really skinny when I’m going through it. I lose cheeks and all.
Vixen: Would you recommend going back and fourth with a guy like you did with Joe?
Tahiry: I call that recycling—going green. I’ve always went back to an ex that’s something I absorbed from my dad. I notice that pattern now that I’m older. I say, do what your heart tells you to do because only you know when you’ve had enough. If you want to do it 20 times, I just suggest that you don’t tell your friends and your family everything because then you’re going to have to hear it every time from them. I don’t care how many times people told me. I saw Joey on Twitter and Instagram, I saw all of it, but I’m glad I took that chance.
Vixen: When you date, is it hard for guys to grasp that you’re always going to be there for Joe?
Tahiry: I’ll be there for him by far, I’m ready to go. I got these nike’s on, I’m running. Joey was very strategic even when I was just giving him my friendship. For him, it was easier to get some little bird to be on a TV show and hang around him. No man wants their girl to still be around their ex. Joey would hit me up like “you home” and two seconds later he’s knocking on my door. I allowed it though.
Vixen: Does it bother you that you always get asked questions about Joe?
Tahiry: No, I can never get mad at my past. As much as he tries to say he made me, I can say that I gave him another life. He was dead before me. I think we did a lot for each other. I was already playing with the idea to be on TV, but I was too shy. When I met Joey I told him that Juelz wanted me to be in a video. There were definitely times where I played with it.
I can’t be mad about my past though. Joey and I were magical. It just worked. I never knew, until we broke up, that people would actually sit and wait for the next episode to watch us. I just wish he would’ve gotten it together in time because we definitely would have rocked out together.
Vixen: If you guys would have been in the prime of your relationship when he proposed would it have been different?
Tahiry: What? I would have definitely married that man. Y’all would’ve seen me on TV getting dresses and planning baby showers. We would’ve did everything. That was the plan; at least that was my plan. I mean we were magical. From the realness of the industry to what he really went through to what I went through. I wanted the world to see it all; when I was wearing poom-poom shorts and fish net stockings with the ten dollar pony tail.
Vixen: Do you think that girls shouldn’t get tattoos of a man’s name on them?
Tahiry: I tried rubbing mine off, it didn’t work. I’m impulsive like that. When I love; I love hard. Am I ever going to get another tattoo? I would say no. I’m so expressive and I love hard, so I would say do what you want to do. Just get it somewhere you can add something or cover it if a guy plays himself. Do whatever you feel. I got the tattoo and two days later we broke up, but we were crazy like that.