Tatiana was a Julliard-trained ballerina and a successful cover girl model in Japan long before her “overnight success” as Michael Jackson’s leading lady in the video “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
But it was the video that made her an instantly recognizable figure and inducted her into Hollywood’s inner-circle. Rumors of a blossoming romance seemed substantiated by an ongoing association between the two, even after the video as Michael invited her on The Bad Tour. Then in the next instant it all seemed to come crashing down.
The origin, it would seem, was “the kiss that was seen around the world.” A unscripted, public kiss during the Bad Tour, denoting the chemistry that had began to spark between them. Though Michael did not appear to disapprove, Tatiana’s accounts, it was believed Michael’s handlers felt it was bad for his image.
Even though Tatiana’s story does not contain salacious details of a torrid affair s in spite of the fact the she has numerous pictures that insinuates an obvious chemistry, Tatiana’s credibility has been challenged and she has been stigmatized from day one.
Perhaps this says less about Tatiana and more about the media and public at large with regard to Michael. Even after Lisa Marie’s emotional open letter and appearance on Oprah after his death professing how profound her love was for him, or P. Diddy’s comical story about how Michael crashed his party in pursuit of Beyonce, there are still those naysayers who refuse to allow Michael to be viewed as a genuine human being capable of love and being loved. Tatiana’s is one of many stories told after the passing of the King of Pop that gives insight to the man, adding a building block to the reconstruction of his image.
AllHipHop.com: You were sought after by Hollywood Royalty like Eddie Murphy, Prince and De Niro. What makes Michael the king of your heart?
Tatiana: Michael was my childhood. The very first time I laid eyes on Michael I was about 3 years old and at that moment I thought he’s the one and I held on to that love and that dream of meeting him since I was a little girl.
AllHipHop.com: What was the purpose of writing a second book?
Tatiana: This second book goes more in depth with my story. Some of the same stories were in my last memoir but this one, I guess you can say, takes it home. And of course with his passing it kind of like took me full circle from the very first time I laid eyes on him and fell in love with him up until his passing….the world lost him. That made it bittersweet…full circle.
AllHipHop.com: How did you handle that?
Tatiana: Honestly…with God”s Love. I am constantly keeping my faith with God. It’s still hard. Everyday I wake up I am reminded the world is not the same as I knew it. To me there is something missing. Someone I always felt in my heart of hearts was my soul mate. So it’s not easy because sometimes I feel like I am half of something that’s no longer here.
AllHipHop.com: I’m sure you would agree that Michael dealt with a lot of persecution and alienation when he was alive but then a lot of repressed love came to the surface after he died and people suddenly embraced him or at least that was my perception….
Tatiana: You’re perception was absolutely correct. I saw a lot of people who we’re not Michael Jackson fans suddenly become Michael Jackson fans who had this new found idolization and admiration that he didn’t have while he was here. What I realized is people don’t always know what they have ’til it’s gone. And that’s heavy and it’s sad but it’s true. I have also seen people suddenly latch on to pieces of Michael out of new found respect and admiration. Even I felt it. I have new fans who have appreciated me more because of that. Because they learned that very same lesson.
AllHipHop.com: That’s a good way to put it, a lesson.
Tatiana: Yeah and it’s not a bad thing. I’ve always thought that’s what life’s about, learning lessons, sometimes the hard way. A person can only tell you so much or teach you so much. That’s what life’s about, living and learning.
AllHipHop.com: How did meeting Michael change your life?
Tatiana: (Hesitates)…Wow!….That’s a really good question; the fact that I always believed that anything is possible with hard work and diligence. It taught me that dreams do truly come true. Even though I believed that, that was actual proof. With all my hard work and training in ballet and believing I would meet him someday…
AllHipHop.com: Anywhere in your thoughts did you ever think he would be interested
or fall for you?
Tatiana: No, I actually never thought that way even though I had a friend who sort of predicted that. Remember I said in the book my friend, whom I didn’t mention by name, said you should move to New York and try to meet Michael Jackson? He’d love you. (laughs) Although I didn’t think that way. My whole thing was just wanting to meet him but I never entertained the idea of us falling for one another. When I did meet him and work with him it all happened very naturally. The chemistry just happened It’s not something I foresaw or tried to make happen. It was just God. But it was the happiest time of my life; meeting him and working with him. I have never known happiness since then. Not that kind of happiness.
AllHipHop.com: I would imagine that would be a tough act to follow be it professionally or emotionally.
Tatiana: Also take away from that the fact that he was the greatest entertainer who ever lived. He was a guy. When we we’re falling for one another it was about two people. It wasn’t about his status or this larger than life image. It was at first but after we broke the ice and got to know each other he was just Michael, the guy.
AllHipHop.com: The way people view Michael has always been very polarized. They are are either viewing him as subhuman and being dehumanizing or deifying him.
Either way people don’t humanize him enough to believe a beautiful woman such as yourself could fall for him. Since his death there have been many stories of him being flirtatious. Would you say his behavior qualified as flirtatious?
Tatiana: Oh completely. You tell me. The scene where we run through the car my heel had gotten stuck in the car’s upholstery and Michael grabbed my leg trying to help me pull my foot out of the upholstery. I was so taken aback and so in awe that he touched my leg in such an intimate way that I pulled away and ended up falling outside on my butt. The next thing I know Michael had grabbed me up and was wiping my butt off with is hand not in a derogatory way but in a flirtatious way. When I looked back he had a devilish grin. He was a normal red-blooded male.
AllHipHop.com: I saw an interview with Vicki Lawrence around the time of the video and you we’re talking about you and Michael and she joking, cutting you off and was being very rude. It’s seemed like a wasted opportunity to hear about your relationship.
Tatiana: What she was doing was squandering my opportunity to grow so the public took me as a joke and didn’t take me seriously but just saw me as some video vixen struttin’ her stuff. She even snapped “Those dance lessons sure didn’t pay off” Michael didn’t think so. He thought my walk was sexy. He said my “walk was my dance!” It taught me a lesson about how really the industry treated Michael. I was under his umbrella. So it was a reflection of how they always kind of dogged him and would always play him off like he was a weirdo and now they we’re making fun of me because I was growing out of that camp. It’s like Firpo Carr (MJ associate) said, “Being a Michael Jackson associate is not for the faint of heart or weak of the knees.”