There’s a thin line between reality television and real life. With shows like Love and Hip Hop and Basketball Wives keeping Twitter busy, it sometimes feels like we’re watching a soap opera instead of real people. But Mona Scott-Young‘s newest TV project The Gossip Game–a series following the lives of seven media personalities in NYC–may give Vixens a balance of ratchetness and real ambition. Let cast member and media personality JasFly tell it, she’s synonymous with what’s true and “real.” “I am the person that keeps in 100,” she says of her role on the new VH1 show. “I keep it real.”
As a woman who “wears many hats,” Jas tells Vixen about her reluctance to join the reality TV world and what we can expect to see starting April. — Nicole Brown, with additional reporting by Niki McGloster
VIBE Vixen: What made you want to be apart of this show?
Jas Fly: I got a call asking if I would consider doing a show. So I [took a meeting], and I didn’t know if this was for me. I talked to a couple of people and kind of grabbed their perspective, and I have a story I want to tell, so why not?
What is that story?
I am the living personification that anything is possible. In 2008, I was 100 pounds heavier. I was completely broke and I had been cast out of my dream. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. It occurred to me that if nothing comes of this life, it’s going to be nobody’s fault but mine.
How are you going to tell your story amongst the gossip?
We have a great cast–Kim Osorio, Angela Yee, K. Foxx, NYC Gossip Girl Vivian, Ms. Drama from Drama TV, and Sharon Carpenter–so there really is a wide spectrum of media. It’s not just gossip; it’s everything from hard-hitting news stories to “I heard this rumor.” So I’m not worried about it being misleading because I am who I am. I’m very honest and true, so you’ll get a great sense of who I am. Watch a few episodes. You’ll learn me.
At times, not always, when there is a group of women dealing with one another, it’s not uplifting or empowering. How did you ease your way into this situation?
We were thrown in. We don’t all get along. For me, there were some that I knew right away I’d click with. There are some I’m still learning, and there will always be one or two people where you’re like, “I respect you, I just can’t fuck with you.” I sit back and see who you are. I’m going to respond to you as you are, not who I want you to be. With my cast mates, I was able to kind of get some time with each one. I can’t speak for anybody else, but there’s no one on the cast that I can generally say that I don’t like.
What is one of one of the greatest things you’ve learned from your cast mates?
I’ve always had this professional fascination with Kim Osorio…
VV: What is one of one of the greatest things you’ve learned from your cast mates?
JF: I’ve always had this professional fascination with Kim Osorio. I was super geeked to interview her back in 2008. And even as vulnerable as her book was, I’ve always put her on this pedestal. Thus far, I’m being reminded that the difference between a legend and not a legend is the work.
In media, it’s a small world. With that said, what’s the tricky part about working on and off camera with these women?
Understanding what’s for camera and what’s not. It’s tricky also because we haven’t been able to talk about it. There’s so many misleading things about the show and about the cast; that was the hardest part. There’s all this going on and I can’t really set anything straight. I’ve seen all of my cast mates out and about, and you just smile because it’s a common secret. It’s a little sorority.
How do you think the show will lend itself to your brand?
The other question I get is “What do you do?” By the end of the first season, it’ll be very clear what I do.
You went on the show as a writer for VIBE. What other hats will be revealed?
I’m a freelance writer. Everything I do began with writing. Whether I tell that story in an interview with a rapper–thus deeming me “the rapper whisperer”–whether I tell that story first person on a web series or whether I strategize on how to tell Ne-Yo’s story, it’s all consistent; I’m just telling stories.
What do you think young women of color will get from this?
I feel like young women are going to see themselves. I never watched Basketball Wives because I didn’t see myself. I’m struggling to get my career off the ground, not have my baby daddy finance a clothing line for me that I’m not designing myself. That’s not my life; that’s not my reality. I remember [when I had to] decide whether to spend this money to take this trip because I know it’ll be good for me professionally or pay my rent. I want young women to walk away from this saying, “Somebody does get me. It’s not just me. I’m not alone,” especially women of color.
That’s not to take anything from Basketball Wives; that’s not to take anything from Love & Hip Hop. But we aren’t here to be somebody’s girlfriend, wife or housewife. We are professional women. You get to see us deal with a lot of challenges in different ways, and it’s great to see this spectrum of women who know how to or don’t know how to deal with what’s in front of them.
Well, will there be love sprinkled in the mix? Are you dating?
I am dating.
Will we get to see it.
Yes. You will get to see my life.