Reality television is nothing new to Da Brat, although after participating in VH1's Surreal Life, she thought it was a wrap. Settled back into the music grind, she started her own label, Rare Breed Inc., and signed long time friend and rapper MR. [pronounced mister] and two groups from Arkansas; Ment 2 B and Pressure Conna.
With the label started and her goal of being the new Jermaine Dupri in her sights, studio work and a crazy schedule killed her eating habits. That's when she got her second taste of reality television and became a cast member of VH1's Celebrity Fit Club. Throughout the season, Da Brat made it clear she was there to lose weight, it wasn't about the cameras. We spoke with the slimmed-down Brat to find out just how she's going to stick to the program.AllHipHop.com: I hear we got delayed yesterday because you were going to the gym. Sounds like you are sticking with the plan from Celebrity Fit Club.
Da Brat: Yeah, it's tiring though. My a** is tired.AllHipHop.com: Did the show give you the idea to start working out and losing weight, or was it on the way for you anyway?
Da Brat: Yeah, you know it's kind of hard to get in the habit of working out, so when the show called I automatically thought it would be a great idea as far as losing the weight and doing it with a team. I was thinking about trying to lose weight anyway, but I cant control my eating habits and [I was] having a few too many drinks or whatever. I thought it was a great idea for me to go ahead and do what I had been wanting to do, but with a little help.AllHipHop.com: You didn't look overweight really, so how do you think they knew to ask you to be on the show?
Da Brat: You know what? That's a great question because I have the same question. I don't know, because maybe some of the people who were working on the show saw The Surreal Life and felt like I'd be great on the show - or maybe they saw a picture and I looked heavier than I did before. I really don't have an answer for that question. I'm curious about that too, but I'm happy they did call. I appreciate the TV time, because a lot of my fans have been missing me and they're happy to see me and they're rooting for me. They hate Dustin and ask why didn't I kick his a**, you know?AllHipHop.com: Why didn't you?
Da Brat: Because one, I'm on TV. Two, he wants to give you a good lawsuit -- to anybody right now really because he's not doin' well on the money tip. And three, I've been in enough trouble where I learned not to do stupid things anymore.AllHipHop.com: What were your eating habits before the show?
Da Brat: Popeye's Chicken!! I would go to Popeye's everyday. I love me some Popeye's Chicken. I love me some fried fish, I love breading. Oooh, I love french fries, onion rings at Burger King. I would grab me a Whopper with cheese and extra mayo. All that stuff is a no-no. That stuff will have your a** with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I used to like salty things, and I wasn't really into sweet stuff. I would occasionally love some red velvet cake or some good old-fashioned pound cake or hand-churned ice cream or something like that and extra butter in everything. Major flavor.
I'm a country girl. I grew up in Chicago, but trust me, my grand mothers are from Mississippi and my grandfather was a chef, so everybody in my family throws down. When it's Thanksgiving, it's macaroni and cheese, corn bread, collard greens, candied yams, turkey and dressing. It's the worst of everything you grew up on. So my eating habits weren't too hot. When I'm on the road and on tour, at the radio station, then the venue I grab something quick. That might be three double White Castle burgers with some onions rings, you know what I'm saying? All the wrong things.
I would eat late, because I'm in the studio until four, five and six [a .m.] and sometimes I don't go to bed until eight in the morning. I was eating all through the night, or we'd order something or go to the Waffle House, the IHOP or whatever is open 24 hours that is really good. So, we go to the diner and maybe have some shrimp, and you have to dip the shrimp in some nice sauce, so my eating habits sucked - and to put on top of it lots of Patron. Lots of vodka and beer. A couple of Corona's with grenadine in it, I like how it turns pink.AllHipHop.com: Wait a Corona with Grenadine?
Da Brat: Yeah, a Corona with grenadine. It gives a little sweet flavor and takes away the harsh beerness, kind of, and it's pretty good. It's cute in the bottle, it turns pink.AllHipHop.com: You know, Grenadine is concentrated pomegranate syrup . . .Da Brat: So it probably has lots of sugar in it.AllHipHop.com: Yup, I may have to try that mix.
Da Brat: No, No, No, don't make me make you make that, but it's good! I'm telling you it's f***ed up to eat like that, and you don't realize it until you start eating different and you see how your body feels. Your body feels completely different when you eat. You don't feel lazy, you don't feel like going to sleep. It's about portions now, when you get satisfied stop eating no matter how good it is. It's hard when you smoke. When you smoke you get the munchies and you want to keep eating, especially if it's good. I didn't cut down on doing that so imagine having to be disciplined after smoking it's a very hard thing to do, but I did it.
When you accomplish it you feel like, Okay I can do anything. When you sittin' around and people are eating what you wish you were eating and you are eating some damn lettuce and tomatoes or some damn grilled zucchini, it's no fun. To be strong and beat it out and lose the weight that you want to lose and conquer it is like an empowering thing. It feels good, It feels like you got the victory.AllHipHop.com: You mentioned lettuce and tomatoes and grilled vegetables. What are your quick fixes now when you are on the run?
Da Brat: Well, you know, I cut up fresh fruit everyday and I package it up in ziploc bags and I just sit it in the refrigerator, so when I'm ready to go I just grab it and put it in my Louis backpack and I ride out. Or you know, if I need some energy I will drink a sugar-free Crunk Juice. It's not so great without the sugar in it, but it gives you a boost/ Harvey [from Celebrity Fit Club] would hate that I said that and so would Dr Ian, because they want you to do everything naturally.
When I'm at the studio working occasionally I might get the baked chips, but if those start getting too plain I throw some barbecue sauce on them, a little hot sauce and then maybe some dip. See, that's no good, so when you are going to do something like that and try to find a snack, don't go into anything that's going to create a bad habit. It might get too plain to you, like you have to switch it up. Just eat healthy snacks, they got some bars . . . The Zone bars are pretty good. I think some of those are only 100 calories, you can get them in the health food stores. You already know if it tastes too good, it probably has a lot of sugar in it or just too much damn salt or it's buttery, okay!? [laughs]AllHipHop.com: Do you cook or go out to eat?
Da Brat: Oh yeah, I cook. I do a lot of both actually. In the morning before I go workout I may eat a piece of fruit, or I may scramble some egg whites with some veggies in them and maybe a couple of slices of turkey bacon. Then I'll do a snack food or snack bar for lunch and maybe a little bag of baked chips, or I'll have some tuna or something not with like the rice. I eat raw tuna yes, I have the soy sauce on the side. I know I'm not supposed to, but that's better than me eating a big a** steak with a lot of fat surrounding it. So I go and dip it in the sauce so I get a little bit of satisfaction out of it.
For dinner I may have some green beans with a salad and a small steak if I'm in the mood for meat. I don't really eat red meat a lot, but when I'm in the mood for it, the Hawaiian from Houston's is very good. I'll go get that and cut it in half and then cut that half into small pieces and eat it with my green beans and my salad and thats my full meal. I cook green beans all the time. I'm a good cook too, people come over to my house to eat all the time, but its all about portions. You just have to portion it out, but satisfy your taste buds at the same time and make sure it doesn't get boring, because then you'll fall off the wagon.AllHipHop.com: Have you cooked healthy food for your friends?
Da Brat: No, because everything I make is good and people love it. It may be a little less healthy for me when people come over, because I may put a little bit of butter in my salmon when I'm baking it, but it's baked - it's not breaded [or] fried catfish or anything. My squash, I make it and put a little cheese sauce on the side, so if they want it they can eat on top of it, but I make it separate. Like if I make some spaghetti, I keep the sauce separate from the pasta. You know in Chicago they mix them together. I may just eat a bowl of the sauce and maybe just a little ground turkey just to get the taste, because I've been smellin' it all day and it's got the peppers and mushrooms. I got to have some, but I can't eat the pasta, you know what I'm sayin'? You gotta give up some sh*t.AllHipHop.com: Is this a lifestyle change forever?
Da Brat: Yeah, Yeah.AllHipHop.com: How do you feel?
Da Brat: I feel it, especially when I work out. If I don't work out now it feels like I'm just a lazy bum with no purpose in life. I have to do something even if I don't have time to do it I have to get in at least 30 minutes of cardio. If I'm not at the gym or near the gym or can't get to the gym, I have stairs in my house. There's stairs in every hotel I stay in, I run up and down like maybe 10 flights of steps a couple of times sweating non stop. That's something you should do everyday, because trust me, those calories you put in your body, you'll never be able to work them off every single day.AllHipHop.com: I guess all we need to know now is when are you poppin' up with the tight fitting outfit like at that awards show years ago so we can see the results? That was such a big thing.
Da Brat: Haaaaaaaaa, you know what? For the right thing and at the right time. Trust me, I'm trying to keep the body intact now. I've put on since the finale [of Celebrity Fit Club]. It's about 10 pounds, but I'm comfortable with that. My face is still not puffy, I'm comfortable with that, but umm you will see that . I just don't know when, and I don't know where yet, but it's going to be worth it and its going to be a great set up.Sunny Anderson is current co-host of Food Network's Gotta Get It