Great read! Known as an outspoken, feisty and aggressive video vixen, Erica shares her story in hopes of clearing her reputation as the bad girl of reality television. By allowing her readers to see the pivotal experiences and relationships that has shaped her into the woman we see today, her hope is that readers will gain a better understanding of who she really is underneath it all. Note: This book was Underneath It All is the spicy memoir that chronicles the life of reality television star Erica Mena.
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You may even be familiar with her by reading the daily blogs and seeing what her name is being tied to. Recently releasing her debut book, Underneath It All, a book detailing the struggle of building herself up from an abused foster child to who she is today. In our interview Erica Mena discusses the process of healing from what she experienced as a child while giving solid conversation about her relationship with DJ Envy, her feelings towards bloggers and raising her six year-old son.
To get started with the interview, to be clear, I read that you were born in an infirmary in New York. Is that correct? Erica Mena: Correct. My mom spent her pregnancy in jail. What was your experience like? It was extremely traumatic for me. I was sexually abused for a long time while I was in the foster care system. It definitely made me a lot stronger in that sense of just knowing how brutal the world is right off the bat.
You kind of have to use it as a learning experience. Yeah, you have to appreciate them. It happened to me for whatever reason, but for a reason. Like I said, it definitely set the tone for how I move out in the world because it is brutal out here. Erica Mena: We are extremely close. We always seem to get by and we use each other. Erica Mena: I actually started kindergarten in foster care so throughout the first few years of my life due to the situation with my mother.
Once I got out of there my mom never missed a beat. If we were poor or not I never went through struggle or felt struggle. Erica Mena: I think I wanted to set out and make it so much because of what I had been through. You know for many years before I decided to write Underneath It All, I definitely kept it under wraps. So in time, it made me want to succeed a lot more because I knew I had gone through this and I knew how it felt going through this.
I can honestly say that I love myself a lot more after writing the book because it was in my face. They can call me crazy. They can call me this or that. Writing the book automatically made me accept myself and love myself more. No question. Do you have any contact with your dad at all? He reaches out every once in a while.
My father was just very selfish. That ultimately shapes you into a woman who eventually has healthy relationships with whoever you decide to be with because you knows what it looks like. Did you always want to be famous? Erica Mena: As a kid, I always had a music box in my head. I was always dancing or singing and stuff like that.
Right off the bat, I always had the love of performing arts. That alone helped me stick out from the rest of my siblings. I was always very vibrant in that sense. I was very much a character. I was always trying to be something, whether it were a Disney character or the girl from West Side Story. Who was your favorite Disney Character?
Erica Mena: I loved Jasmine. I just felt she had it all but felt that there was more to it. I loved that she was a princess but wanted to be considered a regular person. I loved that, and all of the songs she used to sing.
Erica Mena: I love it. I love the city. You have to realize that I grew up around projects. To come out to L. I got to see prettier and better. Once you do, you embrace it and you love it. Erica Mena: I always knew that being the kind of person that I am that I would definitely stick out like a sore thumb.
That alone can be intimidating and people talk about it so that would make someone stand out automatically. The good thing is that I learned, very quickly, that you have to separate the two. To be honest, at the end of the day, when I come home I have someone to answer to and lessons to teach so that he can one day avoid all my mistakes and become a better person. I am the parent that is kind of crazy with the parental controls all around the house. Do you deal with it at all? I think the blogs are the most non-credible places to go.
As soon as you fail, it becomes national news. I just find it pathetic. Erica Mena: I was surprised myself. It is what it is. The man does not own up to what it is. It bothers me when people who I love have to defend me, and the way they get bothered by the fact that they have to defend me so much. I get judged from that alone because that can become intimidating.
I needed a way for the people who watch me, whether they like me or love me, to understand me. I think once people read Underneath It All, people can understand the story behind the girl that they think is crazy on TV.
Erica Mena: Yes. I learned that I have a lot more learning to do. I have a lot more growing and healing to do. Once the journey continues, what I want people to do because they know the story, hate it or love it, just root for the fact that I am the underdog and someway, somehow, I work hard and I get it. Erica Mena: Absolutely, because people are judgmental.
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