When Chrisette Michele signed on for TV One’s R&B Divas LA, she thought she’d be petrified about her small screen debut.
“They’re so many ideas of what it means to be on a reality series,” the songstress admits. “My fans are so scared for me. I really didn’t want to disappoint them.”
But as time passed and the air date inched closer, Michele replaced that spirit of fear with excitement.
Now, she’s ready to show the world the beautiful and captivating woman she is aside from her heart-wrenching love songs.
The newest edition to the diva crew chatted with JET about her first impression of the other ladies, the musical project she can’t wait for us to hear and her love for the infamous Joseline Hernandez of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.
Read what she had to say, and check out the trailer for season two of R&B Divas L.A., which premieres Wednesday, July 16 at 10 p.m. ET, at the end of the post.
JET: Why did you decide to enter the world of reality TV?
Chrisette Michele: I thought it was really important for my fans and new friends to meet me as a person outside of my lyrics. I’m really, really involved in my songwriting and the music I put out, but I am a lot more than just 3 minutes and 30 seconds of a record. I just wanted people to hear my voice outside of singing and outside of a tour bus.
JET: What will we learn about you that we might not have known before?
CM: There’s a lot about me that you’re going to learn. You’ll see how I dress on a daily basis. I know that may not sound like a big deal, but to a woman, the way you put yourself together every day is a big part of who you are. You’ll see how I react under pressure. Usually, I have a manager to my left, a road manager to my right, a make-up artist behind me and maybe a publicist in front of me. Now, I have none of those things to depend on (laughs). I’m really all by myself.
JET: When you are faced with drama and all of those people are not around, how do you react?
CM: I’m really an introverted person. I spend most of my time in my house if I’m not on the road or literally inside of a tour bus or backstage. I usually revert to myself, but this time, I kind of had to step up to the plate. One thing that I realized about myself that I didn’t realize I do is read. I do read. Lil’ Mo brought that to my attention a couple of times. She said, ”Chrisette, you read people.” But I didn’t know I do that! I was raised to just say what I’m thinking. I didn’t know that was reading, so we’ll see what happens with that.
JET: Aside from a few reads, what else can we expect from you this season?
CM: You’re going to see me putting together some music. I’m really excited, because I took money out of my own bank account. I hired an orchestra. I hired my best friend and a composer and an arranger. We put together this medley of music over an orchestra. The pressure of putting all of that together on television was enormous for me, because I didn’t want to show it on TV and not actually come out with it at the season finale. It will be out on time! It’s called Lyricist Opus.
And then just getting along with people who I’m just meeting – six Black women getting to know each other in a period of six weeks. We had to learn how to forgive really quickly.
JET: What was your first impression of the ladies when you all began filming?
CM: My first impression was about their outfits. I’m a girl who loves clothes, so the first thing I looked at was the make-up and hair. I said, ”Oh my god! These women wake up every freakin’ morning ready for a full-day photo shoot!” The make-up artists are with them every single day. I had brought my best friend out, who does my make-up, and said, ”I’ll have you come out for a week, and we’ll see what happens.” Next thing I know, I’m buying extra clothes…I mean these girls are dressed to the T, weave just done and everything! I’m definitely a flannel, skinny jeans, Ray-Bans kind of girl. Finally, I decided that I’m just going to wear red lipstick every single day, and keep it easy. Boom.
JET: What are some messages you want us to take away from season two?
CM: At the end of the day, you hear our music. You hear our songs, and you hear the lyrics. But outside of the love songs and the keep-your-head-up songs, there are these lives that we live. We fall in love. We fall out of love. We have make-ups and break-ups. We fight with our moms. You’ll see lots of ups and downs with my mom on the show. She is the most instrumental part of my world. I think the fans will really get to see a light on our families. Oh, you’ll see me and my brother get wasted! I mean Black girl, White girl, Puerto Rican girl wasted – every nationality at the same time! I don’t think people know those kinds of things about my family, so I just want them to see who we really are.
JET: What reality shows will we find you watching?
CM: You’ll definitely see me watching the Braxtons [Braxton Family Values]. You’ll definitely see me watching Tamar [Tamar & Vince]. I have an infinity for the Kardashians [Keeping Up With The Kardashians]. I’m definitely watching them when I’m walking on the treadmill on my phone. I don’t watch too much television, but I do watch – are you ready for this? – Love & Hip Hop. I really love Joseline. I don’t mean to, but she’s just so much fun to watch! She’s one of the most confident women on television. You cannot take that away from her. She makes you follow your heart and live on your particular edge.
JET: Please tell us you’ll be live tweeting when R&B Divas airs!
CM: I’m going to be live tweeting with the fans. I am going to be at a club in Los Angeles watching it live with the fans. Then, I’ll be interviewing the fans to get their thoughts. Then on Thursday, I’ll be posting those interviews on my YouTube page, so everybody can see what the fans think, what they want to know and their questions will be answered…I think they’re going to enjoy it, and have fun watching it. I can’t wait for them to see it.