While she’s no longer on Love & Hip Hop, Somaya Reece is far from gone. After two seasons on the popular VH1 show, the South Central-bred Latina talent quietly exited stage left, further pursuing Hollywood in the forms of music, fitness and TV. We recently caught up with Somaya chatting with her about a plethora of things including new business ventures, personal challenges (she’s been quite transparent about being in a past abusive relationship) and even a little shallow gossip (she’s been a rumored cast member on the Love & Hip Hop LA spin-off). Watch the full interview below.
Check out a few excerpts below.
Jasmine Brand: I feel like you are always reinventing yourself. I discovered you on MySpace and then lots of fans met you on reality TV and then you did this whole healthy lifestyle change. Can you just talk about ‘Fitness With Friends’?
Somaya Reece: Okay. I have a movement called “Fitness With Friends.” I started blogging about my weight loss journey and it turned into an entire movement so then I decided to give back and creating classes that are much more than fitness. They are motivational. We are doing a class today; you can see it behind us, with my partner, Shape By Brown who we will be working with on other projects that we will talk about in a bit. That is what we are doing here today. What we do is ask anyone at any level; we don’t judge anyone, even if you have never been to the gym before or if you fell of the wagon and you are back on it; whatever the case is. We accept everyone.
Jasmine Brand: We literally saw you transform and melt slowly. Was there a turning point where you decided that you want to start losing weight or were you at your heaviest and you thought?
Somaya Reece: Like a lot of women, I have suffered from anorexia, body dismorphia, and bulimia since my preteens and it has been years of yo-yo dieting. I was doing fine. I have always known about fitness and always been into it but I was into it for the wrong reasons. I got pressured in Hollywood that you have to be skinny and I had a terrible first boyfriend that got in my head when I was 16 and that was a spiral of where I am at today. When I was on Love and Hip-Hop and I gained it was my heaviest time, ever. There was a bunch of different things that caused that to happen but really what started the weight loss journey was while I was on the show. It was really because I went to see a doctor and I asked him about a breast reduction. I had wanted a breast reduction for years but I was too chicken to do it because of the scaring but then I came to a place in my life where all of those things didn’t affect me anymore. I went for the appointment and they said that I need to learn how to eat healthy because I was going to bed ridden for an extra 30 days over the average person because of my performances. When you perform, you wear curettes and tight outfits and you bounce as a woman so I learned to eat healthy and that is how it really started. I started Googling. I started to eat healthy in a better way than I was doing before and while I recovered from my breast reduction, by the time I surfaced, I was about 20 pounds lighter and then a month later I was 30 pounds lighter and it didn’t stop. Sometimes when you see results, you get motivated. That’s what it was.
Jasmine Brand: How was Somaya’s Fitness With Friends idea born?
Somaya Reece: I used to invite people to come work out with me and no one wanted to. I would be like, “Come on, let’s go work out” and then my fiancé was like we should invite our friends and just do some fitness with them. As that kept coming up and I was thinking about doing these group classes outdoors, because that is how I started after I was able to recover, then I was like, “Why don’t we do a movement called Fitness With Friends? Because that’s what it is.” I consider everyone that comes here a friend. They are supporters and friends. I want them to become friends with each other. A lot of the people that come to my class are now like gym bodies. That is what it’s about. We are really trying to push being kind toward each other, being friendly, being friends with someone, and these are things that a lot of people don’t push in fitness.
Jasmine Brand: Okay. Totally switching gears here. I saw your handsome fiancé here, DJ Frank. I think I read a cute story about how you guys met. How did you guys meet?
Somaya Reece: Here is another thing; he is not a DJ. Everyone calls him that! It is okay. He is not a DJ. We can put this in the interview. He is not a DJ. I don’t know who started that. I actually think VH1 innocently wrote “DJ Frank Cush” but it is not. He is an artist. Actually, we have a lot of mutual friends, which I don’t know how we didn’t meet before but through my fitness and the game, I think it is 60 days of fitness or 30, something like that, we connected through that and then a mutual friend of ours, who is a friend of mine, basically made the connection. He is always like, “You don’t credit me enough!” Well, I am crediting you! Just really working out; it really was through fitness. That is how it happened. We were working out and then he kind of became my go-to friend if I ever had a problem in town. He is the guy to call! If I ever needed my goon, he was there for me. We grew a friendship and then one summer night and a lot of tequilas later…that is how we ended up together.
Jasmine Brand: Any plans for jumping the broom soon or what is that like?
Somaya Reece: Yeah, actually, I like the idea of eloping.
Jasmine Brand: Would you secretly get married?
Somaya Reece: I am a very adventurous person so I guess what I would ideally do is elope and then have a real wedding later. I am kind of one of those like, “you know what guys? Let’s go do it!” I don’t really think that your wedding should be broadcasted but I am entertainment so I can’t hide anything. It comes out so you might as well I guess, right?
Jasmine Brand: Okay, because I have a question for you. What are your thoughts about your ex, Joe Budden? What do you think about him and Tahiry’s relationship or him trying to propose. Are you surprised that they are not together? And did you and Tahiry have any issues with each other?
Somaya Reece: I didn’t even know who she was, I guess. She made a video about me and I had no idea. I woke up one day and my timeline started going crazy. I don’t really have an opinion on them because I don’t know anything about them but I would say that they aren’t together, that I know of and they weren’t even together on the show from what I know of. Like I said, everybody tweets me everything so I know everything from the tweets. I’m like, “I don’t even care guys!” Much luck to whatever they’re looking for.
Jasmine Brand: Do you miss Love and Hip-Hop?
Somaya Reece: The thing is that my experience was different. I would say that I still talk to the girls now. A lot of us have made peace. I think that the idea of what they came to me with was cool. It was suppose to be about…well they weren’t suppose to allow me to put my brand on there and things of that nature. Everything changed and now I don’t know how I feel about it because nothing that I was promised happened. Really, I don’t really miss it in that way. A lot of people leave the show and they become pissed off and bitter. I am not. I am grateful that I was on it even if it didn’t go exactly in my favor. It doesn’t matter. It still is a great opportunity. You have to be grateful for things like that because look where I am now. Even though I started much before Love and Hip-hop, it doesn’t matter. It is still a great stepping-stone for me. I am just glad that people have gotten to know the real me; no scripts and none of that stuff. There’s nobody pushing me to do anything. I get to control my image. Everybody knows who I am and a lot of fans are still there because of it. I have held onto my fan base. I am really grateful for it.
Jasmine Brand: Do you have a relationship with Mona [Scott Young] still?
Somaya Reece: I talked to her not long ago; a couple of times about Love & Hip-Hop LA. I don’t have any beef with her. I don’t think anybody knew that because of the reunion. I am just the only one that had the balls to say what I did in public. There has been worse things said to her, that I have seen and witnessed. Like I said, I told her. That is how I talk though. I can be in the middle of a conversation like, “I ain’t even mad!” I think it just came across crazy but I am grateful for the opportunity so it is all good. I have her number, she has my number; she can call me right now and get a hold of me and so can I. She is cool.
Jasmine Brand: Were you interested at all or approached about doing Love & Hip-Hop LA?
Somaya Reece: I don’t even have a problem with doing Love & Hip-Hop New York. My biggest thing is the whole Love & Hip Hop brand took an entirely different turn. I don’t know how Fitness With Friends would fit in. I don’t know how my positive movement would fit into it. It is a whole different turn. It is a new tone but if they were to get back to the music and things like that, then it makes sense. That is something that I was like talk to her about. I am always excited about putting out my brand and my music. I have had a lot of success. I have performed for Calle Ocho. If everybody doesn’t know what Calle Ocho is in Miami. I have headlined for Pitbull. They picked me to do it and I was the only person that was not on their roster. I continued t o tour with them in front of hundreds of thousands of people. That would be covered on Love & Hip-hop. People thought I was new and I never did a song before. I currently have a song on MTV 3 Latin America. I just performed for the biggest shows. It wouldn’t be on there and that is the problem.