2005 was a most tumultuous year for me....Change is the big word here...It was most definitely a year of big changes for me:
I started the year the way I most like to...Performing...I did the annual New Year's Day brunch at BB Kings Blues Club in Times Square in conjunction with Tru-Beat Productions.
Through my association with TruBeat, I secured a solo gig at Lucille's Grill also in Times Square. Although I was well received and had a packed house, I was not at all pleased with how the event turned out. I signed a management deal with Shalon Scott of Scott Management and I am looking forward to the future.
I continued to work heavily in the studio with my producer, Scheme writing and recording songs for my solo project. I also began traveling to Philadelphia once a month to Showcase myself. The January showcase is a overwhelming success and both my manager and myself are excited to continue this opportunity.
I starred in a short film about the World Trade Center disaster called "Trouble of the World" with Greg Lassiter of Misguided Productions. The film goes on to win several independent film awards. I hate it.
I purchase my first automobile, a 1994 Ford Tempo from a friend for a ridiculously small amount of money. I am officially one of "those crazy ass New York City drivers". The car quickly becomes the bane of my existence and Triple A becomes my new best friend.
The stress levels at my job have reached an all time high, I begin to come home in tears, I am losing weight and not sleeping well at all and I begin a nasty little habit of trying to blow off steam by spending time smoking cigarettes on the balcony. I also begin to have panic attacks at my desk and fantasize about beating my boss into a coma.
The Annual Birthday Event returns after a 4 year hiatus on February 19th at Radio Perfecto in Manhattan. My sister attends with her husband who obviously says something to her that she doesn't like. My sister then decides that this is day that she will have mini nervous breakdown at my party.
I have my second showcase in Philly with disastrous results. The vibe is weird and the host is aloof and decides without mentioning it to anyone to put me on very late in the show...immediately following a home town favorite who decides to perform EVERY damn song on his newly released CD, then his manager brings out a huge cake to celebrate the fact that they just inked a deal for him to go on tour. By the time all of this stuff is done...it's like 1 am and my background singers, my guests, my manager and I are all nodding off and falling asleep AND to top it all off....I manage to miss a step in the dark and bust my ass on the way back to my seat. We (Shalon & I) make the decision not to return because we don't like the way the management has treated us.
I perform at the Valentine's Day Brunch at BB Kings. This turns out to be my final performance at BB Kings.
I have decided that it is time to resign from my position as Stage Manager and performer with TruBeat Productions. With my Stepdad's illness, work and trying to fulfill my own dreams....there is just not enough time in the day to do it all. Not to mention that I had never been pleased with BB King's treatment of us as performers from the start. It feels as if a big burden has been lifted from my shoulders when I submit my resignation.
May opens up with my nephew Lonnie, "dopefiending" me into attending his class trip, which he tells me is to Great Adventure. It's only when I get to the bus that I realize that we are going to Bear Mountain...during the OFF Season ...no less. No food, no beverages and most of all NO DAMN RIDES!!!!! Just bears and mountains.
I am the guest host for Diaspora Notes, a new show on MNN Cable. I also (through the recommendation of a friend) begin studying acting with Sidra Smith. She is a PHENOMENAL instructor and I fall madly in love with her! Shalon and I take the first of many road trips this year. This stop is Los Angeles, CA where we go out to meet, greet & network. Greg Lassiter hears the two singles that I have recently finished with Scheme and decides to hold a small listening party at his home. The songs go over very well and I am quite pleased.
The month ends with me finally making a commitment to myself and my career by quitting the job that was slowly draining my life force from me.
I attend the 1st Vibe Musicfest in Atlanta, Georgia with Shalon. Although I had a great time, the turnout was poor and the weather wasn't really cooperating. I submitted a song for the songwriter contest and was quite annoyed when I saw who the winner was and I heard that awful ass song she won with. All that I could remember about her was that her ass was so big it looked deformed....her song just sucked and judging from the response...the audience agreed with me. I know that at 44 I am not the normal demographic for VIBE but I THOUGHT THIS WAS A SONGWRITING contest!!!! My SONG was better. Period.
Dangerous Curves...The Tour on Broadway, of which I am one of the producers, takes New York by storm and is a runaway success!
I attend the open call casting for Mo'Nique's Fat Chance, the first ever televised plus sized beauty competition. The call is from 12pm to 2pm and over 800 women show up. I am still standing on line when they (security) come out rudely and announce that they cannot see anymore people and we must disperse. This angers me and I march into the W hotel and go upstairs to complain. I run into several people I know who tell me to stay put and soon after someone brings me a number. And like that I have made it into the casting. It goes well and after many hours I am told that I have made it to the next round. I float out of the W Hotel.
A camera crew comes to my house to tell me that I have been selected as one of the 10 finalists for Mo'Nique's Fat Chance. I fly out to LA on July 5th to meet the other finalists and go through a beauty boot camp. Unfortunately, the taping of the show occurs on the same weekend as my homegirl Kathi's wedding...in which I was supposed to sing AND I was a bridesmaid. I explain to Kathi that this is a once in lifetime opportunity for me and she TOTALLY understands. I owe her one BIG TIME!! I bond with the other nine ladies and the whole thing is a life changing experience for me. I don't win but I make it through all the eliminations and wind up 1st runner up. Scoring the only perfect 10 score in the competition for the lingerie segment. Mo'Nique has me brought to her dressing room immediately following the taping and offers me a job on the spot...Should the show be picked up by the networks!! I am ecstatic!!!!
Shalon & I host a screening party of Mo'Nique's Fat Chance's premiere for 30 of my closest and dearest friends & relatives on August 6th. It is my first time seeing the completed show and the scoring and I am quite shocked at the response of my friends during the airing...It was a very exciting time for me. The show is a ratings SMASH, over 3 MILLION people tune in for the show and the repeat airings over the weekend. On August 7, I come out of my house and realize that everyone knows who I am and they have nothing but encouraging things to say...It's like a dream come true for me. With the recent success of the show, they (Oxygen) rush us back in the studio to record Mo'Nique's Fat Chance...A Second Helping, which is like a behind the scenes look at the show and how the contestants lives have changed since the show aired.
I am the guest lecturer at NY's Plus Academy, teaching aspiring plus models about the basics of modeling (Modeling 101). I am notoriously leery of speaking in public but I understand that I must get this past this fear. The ladies are very responsive and they help me get through it without any problems. Thanks Diva!
The downside of all of this is that my father has stopped speaking to me as a result of a comment that I made about him on the show and his absence from my childhood.
I am a guest model at Plus Sized Fashion Week Show at the Gershwin Hotel. The show gets really positive reviews.
I finally retrieve my silver shoe from Jewel Shannon, who has had my damn shoe for the last 6-7 years!!!! When I mistakenly left one of my shoes in her bag during the Purple Diamonds Breast Cancer Benefit.
Dangerous Curves...The Tour goes back on the road, stopping this time in Landover, MD. Although the show is fraught with technical problems, the turnout is good and the audience loves the show.
I am the guest speaker at "The Unforgettable Woman" Model College in Richmond, VA. Theresa & her ladies are remarkable hosts and they treated me extremely well. I had a wonderful time and find that this lecture is a little easier going down for me.
I audition for the role of Asaka in a small production of Once On This Island. I get a call back but I don't get the part.
My homegirl Nicole does my website and it's AWESOME!!!! I am very happy with it. I also begin my advice column called "The Runway Diva Says...." on my website after pitching it to Essence Magazine with no response.
Shalon and I check out The Color Purple on Broadway...I am not impressed. We also wind up our road trips for 2005 by attending the Vibe Awards in Los Angeles. We also attempt to hook up with Mo'Nique but she gets the official go ahead to bring her newborn twins home...so those plans go out the window.
I get back to NYC and attend the re-launch of BE Magazine and thanks to publicist Raychelle LeBlanc...I get more than enough photo ops.
Alvin King flies me down to McLean, VA to do an AKA runway fashion show. This show makes me determined to start my own clothing line at some point.
I spend Thanksgiving Day with my sister and her family and have dinner with some friends in Brooklyn, later that evening.
Christmas comes and goes with little more than a whimper and I spend my day very quietly with my family. My father still is not speaking to me and I am officially closing the door on this situation.
I end December by making a personal appearance at The Holiday Health Jam in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I cap off the day by giving toys to needy children.
I wrap up 2005 by saying this....Although I left my job kicking and screaming (literally!)...I realize that the fear of losing that paycheck kept me stuck in a job that I hated and nearly made me forget what my dreams and goals actually were. Closing that door...opened up SO many opportunities for me and for that I am thankful. For all of the words of encouragement that my fans have given me, I am truly grateful. I go into 2006 knowing that my future is bright and my dreams are coming true right before my eyes.
Be Encouraged and Live Your Dreams!