Whether you agree with her victory or not, you have to give it up for Saaphyri's determination and unique spirit. Like the most memorable Celebreality characters (such as New York), Saaphyri has her own distinct way of communicating -- the stuff that comes out of her mouth is all hers. She blessed us exclusively with her unique insight, unflinching honesty and quirky sense of humor. After the jump, Saaphyri talks about winning Charm School, her plans for the $50,000, her thoughts on Shay and Larissa, her gigantic boobs and the drag queen who helped her become the woman she is today. The fierceness starts as soon as you click:
Thank you. It's been on my mind for so long and I've had to shut up for so long that now I'm like, OK, I can finally release it.
Was it tough keeping it a secret?
Yeah. Especially these last couple of weeks because everybody's been anticipating the finale. People try to get it out of you any way they can. "Oh, so how's your life been after the show?" "I'm sorry that you didn't win, and I know that Leilene won, but you did great." It's like, "OK, whatever."
Were you surprised to win?
Yes. I was just hoping to stay there longer than a day. Once I stayed past a day and past two days, I was like, "Dang. Maybe I will last a week. Maybe I can get to the end of this!"
Your OTF commentary about people was one of the highlights of the show. Did you have a sense before the show that you could read people so humorously?
Yeah. My great grandmother and all of them used to say that. It seems kind of weird, but it's easy for me to run into people and feel, "Oh, this is a good person." Or, "No. This person's not good." I can feel them out really quickly.
You have that sense.
A sixth sense. (Cackles) But I don't see dead people.
But regarding your comments and your general interaction with the girls, is it all good? Do you have outstanding beef with any of them?
I'm cool with everybody. I'm happy, I'm the winner. I have no reason to be mad. (Laughs)
For the most part, you stayed out of the drama that went down. Was that conscious?
Yes. I knew that certain people wanted to make sure I did get into drama. That way I would go home. It was a conscious decision from me to stay away from unnecessary drama.
During the Flavor of Love 2 reunion, you talked about anger-management class. Was that really helpful?
Yes! At the time, I didn't think it was that important. I figured I'd go and it wouldn't really work. But yes! It actually does work. You learn to remove yourself from a situation and just realize that everything isn't negative. Anger management helps a lot. Especially in the situation with me and Darra.
You were really angry at her. Do you regret acting out?
No. I stand by it. The reason I went off on her was because I knew she was playing it up for camera. She offered me two luggages full of stuff. It's like, if you have all this stuff left over, why wouldn't you give it to the charity? If you didn't give it to the charity and you're trying to give it to me, something's not adding up to. It means you didn't really do it from your heart, you're doing it from a fake place.
So you think she was playing it up to make her on-screen character more sympathetic?
Yeah, because she knew she hadn't given that much to the charity. Why would you depend so much on Schatar if you have all this stuff yourself?
Speaking of the charity-donating challenge, what happened when you were in there was really intense. At any point, did you think, "I just gave away all of my stuff. What do I do now? What will I wear?"
No, it was more like, I can't believe my stuff meant that much to me. It was something that had been held in. It was almost like a release. I wasn't worried about what I was gonna do afterwards, it was more, I'mma keep going. I learned that stuff doesn't mean that much. Stuff doesn't make your worth.
What was the greatest lesson you learned in Charm School?
Learning to eat right. (Laughs) Doing all those different forks and knives and stuff, I actually lost a few pounds. I'm serious! If you take your time and figure out all this stuff, you're not as hungry.
Do you find yourself applying Charm School lessons in everyday life?
Yes. Especially "Don't take the bait." I find that being played out, especially when I couldn't reveal that I was the winner. People were always trying to bait me in.
Was Becky the person you bonded to most closely on the show?
Yeah. It was Becky, for sure. Me and Becky were in the same room, so we'd talk until early morning a lot of the times. She would tell me things about her life and I started to understand her. I could see that she has a good heart. She's loyal. She's incredibly loyal, almost to the detriment of herself.
During the finale, you patched things up with Shay, but I didn't realize there was real beef to begin with. What was that all about?
I was mad at her because I felt like she had convinced Larissa to steal the picture. To me, it seemed like she didn't hold up to her part of what she had done. But everybody makes mistakes. I forgive her and hopefully Larissa will, too.
And what are your feelings on Larissa right now?
Oh man…(laughs). Larissa? I love Larissa to death and...uh...Larissa's cool.
See, there you go: not taking the bait. The show paints a rags-to-riches story with you. Can you give me a picture of just how down-and-out you were? You were homeless, for one thing...
I was living with a roommate. I wasn't living in a cardboard box or anything. (Laughs) Like, "Yeah, I'mma get out of my box now and go to this audition."
Make way for old, toothless Saaphyri, muttering to herself.
(Laughing) I was basically living with roommates and it was hard. People have different personalities and one day it's OK if you're there, the next, it's like, "OK, I want you to get out." Then later on that day, it's, "No, you can stay," but then it's like, "Oh, I changed my mind." That's the type of thing, the ups and downs and not being really stable because you can't just stay there. It's a blessing to me to make sure that I don't have to get out until I want to.
So, you're using your $50,000 for a house?
Yeah. I'm putting a down payment on a condo. Right now, it's ready.
Is it at 54th and Crenshaw?
It's too expensive over there! L.A. is just high, so I had to go out a little bit to be able to afford something.
And you're launching a company?
Yep. Lip Chap. It will be available very soon. My dot com (saaphyri.com) will be open within a day or so and you'll be able to purchase it there. The main flavor is cherry because that's the hottest one. I did some research with some of the kids around here and everyone loves cherry.
Lip Chap brand lip chap is a brilliant idea.
I also have the hair.
Yeah, tell me about that.
I already knew where the best Indian hair was, but now I've combined it and made it available for everyone else so they can share the Indian hair and make sure their hair never balls up into knots and is always swingin' (laughs). Also, I have another project. I make lace-front closures and lace-front wigs, but I want to make full lace wigs for people with alopecia and cancer. I think that if your hair looks good, it'll help you heal.
What about plans to get back in front of the camera?
Oh yeah. You guys will see me again. I did an independent movie called Ricky and Melinda. It should be out in the next month or so, they just completed the editing. I also think you're gonna see me a little closer to home, but I can't speak about that yet.
When it comes down to it, what was more important: the money or the experience you received from Charm School?
I think if I would have left without the money and just the experience, I woulda been pissed! Because it would have been like, yeah, I had a great experience, but I'm still struggling. When you don't have to struggle, it's easy to be happy. Those people who say, "It's not about the money, it's about the experience," they probably have some money! When you don't have to think everyday, "OK, I need to make this money right now," or "I'm hungry," or "I need to pay this cable bill," or, "I need to pay my light bill," it makes you able to focus. Those are the kinds of things that make people mad. They make people go off on you when you're walking down the street.
Your breasts were practically a supporting character on Charm School.
You're right! I got two infants on my chest.
They're real, right?
Yeah, they are.
They're something to deal with, huh?
Yes. I want to deal with them by making them littler. I used to be really skinny and when I was, I didn't have a lot. It was always some, but then I gained a lot of weight over the past few years and I gained it all up top. My stomach and nothing else has never been big, but my chest just blew up. It was like someone stuck an air tube in there.
Are you sensitive about them? You were really mad when Seashell made that remark at the prom about stretch marks.
I'm not sensitive. I know they're big and whatever. Love your body, whatever your body type is. The thing that pissed me off with old, crunchy Seashell was that he was disrespectful. I wasn't going to stand there and let him disrespect me like that. I don't think I should have to. It's like, if you want to disrespect me, let's disrespect each other, then. And he had seashells on! It's like, what the hell? You were in jail with seashells on the back of your head? What did they think you were, a boy mermaid when you were in the shower? I know they were just waiting for you to bend over, Seashell. Let me see 'em dangle.
Have you ever had any influence from a drag queen in your life?
Because one time you said "Fierce!" and you snapped and another you said, "Walk. Just walk bitch. Just walk down the runway, that's all I need her to do," and it really seemed like you'd known a drag queen at some point.
You know what? I have! My cousin. His name is Mike, but he calls himself Barbie Q, like ribs. He taught me how to walk in heels. He taught me about corsets.
Do you miss your old hair?
I still have it in my closet. If I ever feel real pinkish, I can just whip it out. You can do that with Indian hair, you just reuse it. But I'm liking the black right now. At first, I thought people wouldn't recognize me with my hair dark, and it's been dark for a while now. But now, my hair could be purple black and I could have a ski mask on and people will be like, "Saaphyri! I know that's you, girl!" It's everyday. Even in the car. Even with sunglasses on and a beanie. I was at party a few days before the reunion, and at one point, I went outside to get some stuff, and this girl started crying. She went bananas. I was amazed. It felt like an out-of-body experience. My outer body part was like, "Damn, she crying. This is major." And my inner body part was like, "She crying? Why she crying for you?" And kids are crazy, too. "I like your pink hair better! Take that hair off and put the pink back on!" I'll be like, "What you know about taking it off and putting it back on? You only 3!" But I like people. I like that they give me love and I just wanna love 'em back.
To keep up with Saaphyri or to fill all your Lip Chap and Indian-hair needs, hit up Saaphyri's MySpace.
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