She is a sexy, curvaceous Salvadorian music and TV personality with the spirit of a lion and the hustle of a Wall Street trader! As the star of one of the US famed reality series on VH1, Love and Hip Hop New York , Somaya Reece captured our hearts with her rags to riches journey of poverty, abuse and gang affiliated lore from South Central LA to one of courage through adversity, believing in your dreams and making her career happen on her terms in New York City. That is the essence of what makes this internet marketing powerhouse just so damn intriguing to her fan base worldwide.
Somaya is representing for the independent music artists out there who at times feel the road ahead might be too hard. She is calling out for the women who have dreams of acting fame or modeling fortune to take a chance and go for it just as she did. She is what the hip hop hustle represents and she does it with the Latino flair of a red rose in her hair. Musician, Actress, Model, Tequila Brand Creator, Shoe Designer, Fitness Motivator, Philanthropist. Although she refuses to be defined by a label or title, Somaya holds many but caters to none and does what she does authentically and with heart and for that the world just can’t get enough of Somaya ‘Boss’ Reece!
I am so excited to talk to you all the way from Sydney Australia ;o) Do you have any plans to come down here and visit us?
Thank you! I would love to come down to Australia again, maybe do some shows and get a feel for the crowds down there. I have heard a lot about the Aussie Hip Hop scene through my friend and artist Iggy Azalea but I’ve never experienced it yet. You know I dated an Australian guy from Sydney a few years ago and came down there for a visit and I really liked the vibe and the people. So hopefully next year we can try and make it happen.
I have to congratulate you on your amazing success so far, not just for your work on VH1 reality TV show Love & Hip Hop but your music; acting, modeling campaigns are just growing from strength to strength! How can you best describe what all of this success means to you and how do you process it all?
Thank you so much. Yeah everything has been going really well and I have been super busy with so many projects I feel really blessed. I have to say though that I didn’t get into the show to become a reality star, as I already had my music game happening prior to the show, but I looked at it as an opportunity to open up more avenues for my music to reach so I took the chance to go ahead and build a platform. I always had in mind that this show was not my last stop and against all odds and all the hating that goes on I was not going to let that stop me you know. I am a very honest artist and I wear my heart on my sleeve and I have always been like that so I wasn’t about to change for the show. So through all the drama that it showed on camera, I am a drama free person and am just focused on living a positive life.
Your background is Salvadorian and you were born and raised in South Central LA. Your childhood was amidst poverty, gang life, abuse and just a lot of hardship! Can you share with us here how you decided to not become a statistic to that lifestyle?
I come from a very strict yet close family that instilled in me to work hard for what I want but to not forget my roots and where I came from, so that really stays with me throughout my journey. I mean life was hard, my family was poor, we lived in a garage in South Central and my parents had their own demons they were dealing with every day. My dad was an alcoholic and used to beat us and my mom was verbally abusive but even through all that my parents are now totally different people, they changed their lives around and live cleaner and happier and I am so proud of them – but we never forget where we came from! For me I just want positive energy and experiences and people in my life because of what I lived through as a child so I walk that every day and have learnt a lot from my life in LA and my parents. I am woman of strong faith but I am also a human so I’ve had my days when I’ve questioned the ‘why is this happened to me’ and have had those doubtful moments but I am defiantly a woman of strong faith and it’s given me that strength to be the boss lady that I am.
What would you say your biggest inspirations on life are Somaya and why?
I have always had a very big time hard-worker spirit all through my life and I can honestly say I would have inherited that drive from my parents, watching them work so hard for their family all their lives just really resonated with me you know. I mean I got my first job at the age of 4 years old cleaning houses with my mom so I’ve never known what it’s like to be the pretty girl that just gets things because she is pretty, damn maybe if I knew how to have done that years ago it may have helped my career ( laughs) . I have learnt to have some very tough skin since a young age and coming from a very poor family you know, that really toughens you up but it also makes you appreciate the small blessings in life. So I would have to say my past has been an inspiration to me to strive for more today and always work hard for what I want and never give up!
You have been referred to as ‘the female emcee you need to know ‘ by XXL Magazine, the Hottest Latina in Music by Maxim En Española and the ‘Female version of Pitbull” – when you read or hear those descriptions of yourself how does that make you feel?
I’m glad that the main person that I have been compared to is Pitbull – he is one of my music idols. Those are very big shoes to fill indeed in the fact that his music is Spanglish and his representation of the Latino community is so heavy I feel great because that’s what I am doing and am so proud to represent my Latin community too. I adore him and look up to him but at the same time I am so glad that I am not being compared to another female you know, my sound is unique and I am doing what no other female is doing out there so it has the Somaya stamp on it, which makes me proud. Pitbull as a man would be the closest to what I’m doing and I would rather it be him than anybody else to be compared to and it is just an honor.
Would You Still Love Me – Somaya Reece feat XO
You have been in the music game for many years, your sound is vibrant and dynamic and you have taken the digital / online music world by storm. How would you describe your sound and what are you currently working on musically?
As an independent artist coming from the MySpace world, it is very hard to get commercial airplay with the big label budget behind you but I have been blessed in that a lot of the DJ’s here in the States have embraced my music and have been playing it and supporting what I do, which has been amazing. They are helping me put my music out there. But as an independent artist I am always pushing ahead on my own and I got my current single Party With The World as the main TV placement for the TV show Bad Girls Club Season 9 on the Oxygen Network in the US, I’m busy filming the music video for it and that’s been wonderful for me, especially having done it by myself. I have a Latin record, Eh Mama, which is currently playing on Top 40 Latin radio independently so I’m proud and just want my career to grow organically. Coming from the digital world I am always interacting with my fans on Twitter, Facebook etc. as that’s where my fan base started so they are always helping me out and supporting my work which as an artist is just amazing!
Your role in the first 2 seasons in Love and Hip Hop were pivotal indeed and made for definite must watch TV – how was that experience for you?
You know when I went on the show I didn’t know what to expect really and then all of a sudden I am thrust into this environment with all these hating people and I was so not used to being around that you know. I was not used to being around any negative energy, especially with all the negative things that happened to me growing up I made a decision to turn all my negative energy into positives so that I could move on and live a full life so being around all that drama was really draining at times. It’s important for me to build a positive legacy and try and reach and help as many people as I can and one thing I really find is that people very rarely root for the underdog these days you know!
Descontrol – Somaya Reece
The tension between yourself & Olivia in Season 1 was very interesting – was that a challenge for you to work through to get to the point of comfortable conversation in Season 2? Are you still in touch with some of the girls and will there be a Season 3?
I don’t really care for Olivia to be honest as I did everything that I could to be cool with her in Season 1. Now when I first joined the show I understand that she was hating on the fact that there was to be another female artist on the show so she just didn’t like me from the start. However I only found that out like 2 years after the first season so I was like okay now it makes sense why she was hating on me so much. At the end of the day I was like listen I don’t care who you have been signed to or what you feel you have done more than me, at the end of the day you are not God! We are all artists walking the same common ground, we have the same worries about our careers not working out, where we getting money from to keep afloat as independent artists, what if our fans aint feeling us no more, all the same worries that every artist has had at one point in their careers! But she refused to believe that so everything I said about her in Season 1 was true. She was acting like this huge star but she was living in a tiny room at her mother’s house, broke and she kept portraying herself like she was something she wasn’t and that just got to me as she was judging me, yet I was broke, sleeping on a mattress in my friends attic and on my grind just like her everyday – I was just honest about it. So as you saw in Season 2 she had to come out with the truth and I guess because I outed her she just continued to hate on me. I don’t portray myself as being perfect and you either like me for me or just leave me be! Either way I am not fazed by her and just continue on my grind and surround myself with people that genuinely care about me!
Your body is looking amazing– what do you do to stay fit and keep your looks fresh?
Thank you. You know it is not an easy journey to lose weight and it takes a lot of commitment to not only change your size but your lifestyle as well. I think it all goes hand in hand with this industry and the pressure it places on you to look a certain way and be a certain size. Now I am a curvy woman that is not a size 0 but a size 10 and I want to be healthy but embrace my curves. It all started when I had been thinking about getting a breast reduction for a while but I was scared of going through that and not knowing how I was going to heal and scars etc. But I went to the appointment and decided to go for it and the doctor told me that I had to look at changing my diet and to learn how to eat healthy and get back into gym after my recovery period. So I came across a diet that had me eating every 3 hours and it just forced me to be more disciplined – I eat 1400 calories a day and I lost a lot of weight doing that and combined with gym workouts I have so much more energy for my performances now. It’s just so much easier for me to move around now and I am so happy I went through with the breast reduction as it has given me more confidence and I feel so much healthier.
Your style is sexy, colorful and very feminine and for women with real curves and designing is another title to add to your resume being that you created a shoe line in Season 2 of the show? Is that still growing? And how is your Tequila brand La Jeffa growing?
The shoe line which I was doing with a friend of mine, we have decided to create it out of the US and of course that is taking a bit more time considering all the factors that come with creating a shoe. We don’t just want something we can put our names on, it has to be something we have worked on ourselves every step of the way before we put our stamp on it – so it’s a work in progress but is definitely in the works.
Now La Jeffa Tequila I have decided to re-launch in 2013 and I do have my first buyer for it which is great so I am considering partnering with them. I am the first Salvadorian to have her own Tequila brand and that’s huge for me to do that for my community, so I am very excited about it.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into the music game or the reality TV game and follow your path?
I’m all about girl power you know and enjoy encouraging other woman to follow their dreams. I’m very focused on my music and I will never change who I am for fame or a paycheque. I mean when I fired Maurice ( former manager ) in Season 2 it wasn’t a pleasant experience you know but I’m glad I did it because he wasn’t doing anything for me that I couldn’t do for myself! I mean like I said in the show all he was doing was collection cheques and I was doing all the work. I am what hip hop represents you know , we all go through the horrible management, being the starving artists and the self-discovery is of yourself as an artists to perfect your craft, so doing this show was representing something people never get to see which is the process every artist goes through before the fame and money come into play – so I was glad that the viewer’s got to see me go through my process and hopefully that helped a lot of younger woman wanting to get into the music industry. I’ve allowed people to see me blossom and I am very grateful for showing that! So my advice would be watch the process I went through and learn from that!
Any romance in Somaya’s Reece life?
Dating is just great for me right now ( giggles).
Your plans for the future? Any word on a Love & Hip Hop 3?
I’m just focused on my music right now and I have 3 singles I’m pushing right now whist I work on a quality album that I can be proud to share with people. I am also pushing my fitness brand as well and trying to reach as many people as I can through that . Love and Hip Hop New York Season 3 is going to happen and I have been very clear about what I want and how I want to be represented. If they don’t allow me to have those guidelines represented then that will show me that they don’t want a reality show but something scripted and it may be best for me to move on. I believe every show should have at least one person who represents balance and not just gossip and negativity and balance is very important to me and my life. So watch this space I guess ;o)
For more information on Somaya Reece visit: www.missreece.com
For more information on Somaya on Love & Hip Hop New York visit: www.vh1.com/shows/love_and_hip_hop
Always Hip Hop