Bad Girl Gone Good?
BY Brandon Voss
March 02 2011 6:40 PM ET
Three years after Diddy made Aubrey O’Day a member of Danity Kane on MTV’s Making the Band, he fired her from the now-defunct girl group on a 2008 episode for her outspoken attitude and “oversexed” tabloid reputation. Now going solo, the 27-year-old pop pariah hopes to set the record straight — with some help from gay friends — in her new reality series, All About Aubrey, which premieres March 7 on Oxygen. O’Day, who recorded an “It Gets Better” video and participated in the No H8 campaign, comes clean about her controversial bisexual claims and explains why she wants to raise a gay child.
The Advocate: Establishing your solo music career while filming your new show, how difficult has it been to overcome your bad reputation in the media?
Aubrey O’Day: Thinking like that made me miserable, so I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself. I want to stop living for everyone else. I just wanted to get to a place where I’m honest about who I am, and people will either love it or hate it, but the truth about who I am isn’t consistent with what’s portrayed in the media. What you’ll see on my show is the truth. Some reality shows are so scripted and phony, so I wanted my show to be honest and inspiring.
A major theme of All About Aubrey is about your finding yourself as an artist instead of as a celebrity. How do you find that balance?
It’s really hard. The music industry side wants the celebrity side to completely detach, but that celebrity side is also a big part of who I am. I’ve been in a group that’s sold a ton of albums, but I’ve also done everything from Hairspray on Broadway to the cover of Playboy, so I’m both of those things. It’s been a big struggle to choose one or the other, because I don’t want to and I’m capable of being both. So I do have to fight that battle, even beyond the show to this day. But I feel blessed, because it’s a high-class problem to have, as my therapist says.
When tabloids did focus on your partying or diva behavior, did you believe that there was no such thing as bad publicity?
Yes and no. At the end of the day, just to sleep at night, you have to believe that all publicity is good publicity. But I’m such a sensitive person, so it always drives me crazy when people say bad things about me that aren’t true, especially when people called me a diva. I hate that. Not to say I’m not strong or that I don’t have very specific ideas about how I want things to be, but in a reasonable situation with smart, understanding people, there’s always a way to figure things out without being rude.
Speaking of publicity, you gave some very coy interviews regarding your sexuality in early 2009, saying things like, “I don’t like labels.” That, of course, turned into headlines that read, “Is Aubrey bisexual?” With all due respect, I didn’t buy any of it. Are you truly bisexual, or was that just a ploy to get more media attention?
Honestly, the whole thing started when I was on a red carpet in New York the day Prop. 8 was passed. Now, I’ve grown up with gay people my entire life. My first baby-sitter was a black man with AIDS who lived in our house, and I watched him die. He was one of my mom’s closest friends, and he was everything to me. I was brought up in a very liberal, accepting family, so I was very exposed to the gay community and to HIV and AIDS awareness, which spawned my own charity, FAN, Fight AIDS Now, which targets youth AIDS internationally. I was seriously offended by the Prop. 8 decision, so I grabbed my friend, who felt the same way, and told her, “Hold my hand and walk down this red carpet.” I just felt responsible to stand up for something that I believed in, which is that everyone deserves equal rights. That was my message that night, but it got turned into “Aubrey and her girlfriend parading around New York” on the blogs, and then all those questions started coming up in interviews.
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