Q&A With Tanisha Thomas: New Book, New Business, New Bod!
"You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, so you might as well do you. That's my motto for 2016."
Bad Girl Matriarch Tanisha Thomas keeps busy. Between hosting reunions, headlining a talk show, and establishing a beauty franchise, somehow the HBIC of BGC found the time to write an entire damn book. Diary of a F.A.T. (Fed Up And Tired) Girl tells the tale of Tanisha's personal journey, and it just debuted earlier this month. While her narrative has plenty of heartbreak, we took the time to chat about some lighter things, including some reflections on her experience as Mother of the House of Bad and other upcoming and exciting projects. Check out our interview, below!
Hey Tanisha, how have you been?
I am great! I can't complain! Everything is awesome. Really excited about all the possibilities for 2016. I'm looking forward to it all.
Your book just came out earlier this month. How have people been receiving it?
Well, I don't really care about the reviews. I'm more of a numbers girl. The publisher seems to be really happy and excited. There's talk of turning the book into a series; I can't give too much information about that. I'm super excited. They don't know who is going to play me! I'm ecstatic that the book has attracted this much attention.
You're not going to play yourself?
I'm not! So listen, the book initially started off as a novel. The publishers came in and said “We want you to make it a diary. Your diary. We like the Curb Your Enthusiasm feel to it. We want to incorporate a lot of your moments and your story into the book.” So then I kind of intertwined it, I wrote it based on a lot of actual events. It's awesome, it's funny, it's laugh out loud, it'll have you shaking your head. But, hopefully, at the end of the day it'll have you taking something awesome away from it. That's been the feedback from all the fans who have read the book.
We'll get back to the book in a minute. But before that we want to hear about your opinions on the new crop of Bad Girls!
Well you know what, I have to be honest with you. The Bad Girls Club is like a machine. It never stops. It's like the energizer bunny! It's really hard to keep up with the girls because as soon as you kind of start to like some then they disappear and here's a whole new set. They change pretty quickly. Obviously I'm from the old school. I'm from the beginning of when the franchise started. I'm best friends with Cookie, Amber, Leah, Blue, Jenn. I keep in contact with them.
The girls – you don't see it coming! You think you know what's about to happen but you have no idea. This season is going to be insane. I can't say too much but the reunion gets really insane as well! This is the craziest one ever. To date.
What's your reaction to the "Ain't Got No Sleep" meme going viral again?
It was so funny! I was working on this new show and then all of the sudden “No Sleep” goes viral again! They mashed it up with a Fifth Harmony song to the point that Fifth Harmony actually did a rendition of it on stage. I could not believe that!
It was great! Just to know that people are still connected to something that was the beginning of my journey. It's almost ten years later; I turned 21 in the Bad Girls Club house and I'm 30 now! It's so long ago but the fans still remember like it was yesterday. It's going to go down as one of the most epic reality television scenes of all time. And I'm OK with that! And that's what's up! It's not embarrassing but the woman I am now is like, “Girl. Girl, really?”
Just the things I would pop off about back then I wouldn't even look at twice now. I'm in a completely different place, as I should be. I've had years to mature, years to become better. That's the ultimate goal, right? To go through a process, take something from it, and use the tools you got to make yourself a better person than you were before. It takes time honey! It's not easy! It takes time baby! It takes time! I still pop off every now and again, but it's more controlled now.
What was your last big pop-off?
It's mostly business stuff now. It's not as much of a pop-off now. It's like: I need to get this right. I'm trying to become a mogul, I'm trying to be a successful business woman and venture out into different things and spread my wings. It's been hard to be a young woman in business and for people to take you seriously. People associate me, no matter what I do –- I just did my first nationally syndicated television show –- but I'll still forever be known as Tanisha Thomas, the girl who bangs the pots and pans on Bad Girls Club. And that's fine! That's where I got my start; I do not hide where I come from. Because, honey, I needed to go through all that to be where I am today. But don't think I'm not coming in here and I'm not about my business. Honey, I'm about my business. I take care of my business, and as long as we take care of that we good.
I pick and I chose my battles wisely now.
It's true though. Women really have to fight to be taken seriously as entrepreneurs.
Google doesn't help. If you're walking into a group of investors or a group of advertisers or whatever and they don't know who you are and they look you up and the first thing they see is you in a nightgown banging two cookie sheets together. They're like “Well this girl is psychotic.” And I'm like, yeah, I am! And that's exactly why you don't want to mess up this deal, honey!
On that note, do you consider yourself a feminist?
Yeah, I definitely think of myself as a feminist. Absolutely! I'm all about women's empowerment, I'm all about sticking together, I'm all about all of us making it to the finish line.
Lately, there's been a lot a talk about how Beyonce didn't give Rihanna enough time. They just have them up against each other. And I'm like, honey, let's be very clear. Neither of them is taking any losses. They are both beautiful and successful women. There is room for all of us to win. It is 2016. Stop the BS. Stop the shenanigans. Support and encourage your fellow sisters! Hello! Everybody!
And that's what's impressive about BGC too. It's not only about girls fighting, it's about girls finding strength together.
You know, the Bad Girls Club – some of the girls say they'd never do it again. Others say, “Yes, I'd do it again. I loved the experience. I learned so much about myself.”
For me, I learned so much about myself. I really think it's a sisterhood. It's a dysfunctional sisterhood! But it really is what you make out of the experience.
And how was your experience with Crazy Talk?
It's been great! We're now wrapped from Crazy Talk. It was my first nationally syndicated show. I had some amazing opportunities, got to meet amazing people. It was really fun! I got to meet my new friend Steve Harvey, who has taken a special liking to me, and I'm really looking forward to working with him on future projects.
I'm thankful for the opportunity. I don't know what they're going to do in terms of coming back ... With syndication there's a lot of pressure. They bought 100 something shows off the bat. We were getting six shows out in two days. We became like a machine, me and Ben Aaron.
That sounds like a lot of work, but we should get back to the book. What was the process of writing like for you?
It was about 2 and a half years in the making. It took me a while to write it. When I started to write it I wasn't working, then midway through I was. It was crazy and all over the place. I had fun with it! It was really and truly my diary. I was writing it in the style of a screenplay, I wanted it to be adapted easily. It kind of just took me through my life: battling the scale, seeking self-acceptance in the public eye, struggling to find the one, or at least someone who would pay for dinner!
The title, Diary of a F.A.T. Girl, so many people were offended. I'm like, relax! It stands for Fed Up and Tired.
And what are you fed up and tired of?
Fed up and tired of dudes not wanting to return your calls. Fed up and tired of Netflix and Chill and not getting taken out on a proper date. Fed up and tired of the scale not budging no matter how many diets you on. So, the book is my sounding board for women everywhere about the trials and tribulations we go through.
How do you feel about the body positivity movement?
I love body positivity! Like, look at Tess Holliday who covered People Magazine. That was a big moment for women everywhere. Look at Gabourey Sidibe from Empire, who just loves herself. My girl Melissa McCarthy, who I love! She's just unapologetically herself. I love that.
I've gone through a major transformation and reformation over the past two years. I've lost a lot of weight. I've received a little bit of backlash. By no means am I a skinny girl, but I've definitely lost a substantial amount of weight with diet and exercise and under direct doctor supervision. I'm happy! I'm comfortable! I'm Ok! That's what it's all about. It's all about loving the skin you're in. Being comfortable, being assertive, and embracing yourself.
I love that women are opening up the doors for everyone to be uniquely themselves.
You got backlash from people over losing weight?
People were upset! They were like “OMG you left the BBW club! You not a fat girl no more! You not in the cupcake gang anymore!” And I'm like: Yes I am! I still eat a few cupcakes! I might not eat 3! I might have one! Listen, I'm not in my 20s anymore. It's not a game. It's one thing when you're young and when you have time.
But when you go to the doctor and they tell you, "Look, you're points away from being diabetic." Or, "I have to put you on blood pressure medication." They told me I was shortening my life expectancy by 12 years by keeping on this weight. It's not funny anymore!
I love my fanbase, they've rocked with me from the beginning. But I've got to live my life.
I looked at the doctor and I was like, am I responsible for this? And he was like, “Yes, and you've got to take control right now.” And I did! It wasn't easy. I committed to the program. I did what I had to do. And I did the work internally and spiritually, too! And the end result was amazing.
There does seem to be a double standard though. You're criticized for being fat and then criticized again when you lose the weight.
Right! You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, so you might as well do you. That's my motto for 2016. You are damned if you do and you're damned if you don't so you might as well do what you want to do. It is your life. You are the CEO. You get to decide what goes and what stays. Hello!
I'm not gunna keep you too long but I will say this: writing the book was – I was in a really different place than I am right now. I was in the process of really trying to pick up the pieces and figure out where I was going to go, what I was going to do, what was going to happen next. I was dealing with the unexpected passing of my Dad and then, following that, I was dealing with my marriage, which was in shambles. I had moved on to another relationship, but that one was on the rocks as well. That one really did it for me. It was a really rough time for me. I talked about all of that, my journey in the Bad Girls Club, so many things. At the end of the day: I learned from all of that and I committed to changing my life.
Once you get fed up and tired, honey – R. Kelly wrote a song about it. He said, “When a woman's fed up, there is nothing you can do about it.” And he is so right. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I got sick and tired of hearing my doctor complain to me about my health. I got sick and tired of being heartbroken. I said I am going to take control over my life. And I did just that.
Damn girl. Any other projects you want to let us know about?
I'm really excited about the book signings and seeing the fans. I want to start encouraging women to journal their thoughts. It's so important to write things down. We get so caught up in this millennial social media stuff that we kind of forget to take the time out for ourselves …
I'm looking forward to opening up my Glam Bar! We were initially going to do it in New York but now it's looking like it's going to be in LA. It's going to be a full beauty service concierge. The most elaborate nails, make up, eye lashes, you name it. Your one stop shop for everything glam!
We're in the beginning stages – I'm super excited. I'm partnering up with someone: they want to remain silent for now but the public knows them. We're going to make this happen! I'm all about the coin honey. We want to sleep and wake up to the coin. That's the ultimate goal.
Check out Tanisha's weight loss transition!