Hating Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas is so 2003. You can either sit there and lament her success, or get with the program and pass the dutchess 'pon the left-hand side. 

This feature originally appeared in Complex's October/November 2006 issue. 

Fergie-Ferg may love you long time, but it seems that for some of you jealous crabs this is a one-way affair. In fact, it’s kinda like you love to hate her. That’s okay, though, she’s rich and famous—it goes with the territory. But understand, underneath Fergie’s short-shorts, bikini tops, and bronzer lies Stacy Ferguson’s heart. And it beats, just like yours and mine. And like us, she’s had her fair share of ups and downs.

She made a small fortune in the early ’90s on the Disney show Kids Incorporated and with the Canadian pop group Wild Orchid. And then lost it all when she became addicted to crystal meth later that decade. She’s rebounded recently as the Black Eyed Peas’ blue-eyed, soul-singing salvation, and helped those guys make a small fortune, too. But her fight isn’t over. Plenty a b-boy and b-girl see her as a gimmick still, something she’s working hard to overcome. With all of that in mind, Fergie took a moment to chat with Complex about her new album, The Dutchess, her role in the upcoming Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino flick, Grind House, her beef with bloggers, and how she’s not down with Nazis. Where is the love, indeed?

 

I’m working my ass off. They can sit there all day and write negative comments.

 

Let’s start with the tough questions: Did you really do a cookie commercial when you were a kid?
Oh yeah, Duncan Hines. Got to eat cookies all day. It was the best. Then I did a McDonald’s commercial and we got to eat free Happy Meals all day.

Oof. That’s a lot of Mickey Ds.
No, not for me! [Laughs]

Do you think you’ll ever be able to escape the stigma of being the hot chick added to the Black Eyed Peas just so they could sell records?
Everyone’s gonna think the way they wanna think. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing.

Speaking of your perseverance, you had a drug problem at one point, right?
Definitely. I got there because I was a people pleaser as a child. When I was in Wild Orchid, I didn’t know how to say no to the girls.

What were you doing?
First ecstasy and then crystal meth.

So you were staying up for days at a time?
Oh yeah, there were days when I didn’t eat or sleep. I was at Home Depot at 4 a.m. building shelves.

How did you kick it? 
Well, I just hit a point where something inside of me—I like to call it God or my gut—told me, “You can keep going the way you’re going and mess up everything, or you can stick with the master plan, but you have to change shit.” So, that’s what I did. I humbled up, moved all my stuff back to Mom’s, and used all my child-actor money to pay off my debts (’cause I had collections after me). I started collecting unemployment and meeting with producers and recording.

 

So you believe in God?
Definitely, but I believe we don’t know what that is.

You’re non-denominational?
No, I’m Catholic.

 

I'm a big flirt, but I don't give it away every time I want to. I guess I'm a tease.

 

Catholicism has a pretty clear picture of what God is.
I’m not a judgmental person, you know? I love everyone for who they are. I don’t care if they’re Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim—whatever.

Has anyone ever asked you if you were the Antichrist?
No. I’ve never heard that question before in my life.

Okay. Are you the Antichrist?
No [Laughs].

Oh good. Have you ever met him?

Maybe in a substance form.

So…Is London Bridge your underwear?
Excuse me? Well, I made a conscious choice not to  explain what it means. So you can try and try but you’re not going to get it out of me.

Okay. When you filmed that video, did you go to the London Dungeon?
No comment on that one.

Why? London Dungeon’s a normal tourist attraction.
[Silence]

Okay. Excluding your bandmates, Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas, who are your favorite MCs?
Why did you exclude them?

Because that’s who everyone lists.
I love Roxanne Shante. She took on all the female MCs. Not that I’m trying to be a battle MC, but if I excluded that style from my album, it wouldn’t truly represent who I am. This album is about truth.

Truth because it’s coming from your heart?
Everything I do comes from my heart. But this one is really introducing my personality to people. And it was very important to me to put all the lyrics in the packaging because sometimes when I sing I emulate instruments, so you can’t really understand what the words are, but I think if I were to pronunciate more, it would take away from the feeling.

What advice do you give to women regarding sexuality?
Don’t give it all away. Men will respect you more. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with flirting.

 

Are you a sexual predator?
I’m a sexual being.

What does that mean?
I’m a sexual person. But it doesn’t mean I give it away every time I want to.

 

Guys just looking to get laid? Go to the after-hours clubs.

 

Do you have a groupie scene?
[Laughs] I definitely see a lot, but I know that I’m going home with myself every night. Even though I might dress in a sexual way. I guess I’m sort of a tease.

What is the strangest place you’ve ever had sex?
My grandma will kill me for saying this, but in a Catholic church parking lot.

Did you go to confession after?
Yes I did [Laughs].

Are you a fan of role-playing?
Yes.

Like what?
I’m not going into it, but yes.

Well, do you play as an elf? A dwarf? Who’s your dungeon master?
I don’t know where your head’s at but...

Dungeons & Dragons! What are you talking about?
I won’t tell you.

What advice would you give to guys looking to please their woman?
Attention. How about guys just looking to get laid? What is your question?

What advice would you give someone who wants to go out and have some high-risk sex?
Go to the after-hours clubs.

Do you care what people think about you?
Sometimes. I’m human. I get my feelings hurt, and I have to remind myself that I’m in this business.

I heard a rumor that you once used a mic that was designed for Hitler.
Oh my gosh. I remember that, that was weird. I didn’t know whether to stop singing or what.

A lot of companies catered to that regime.
Yeah, I’m not really a fan of that regime. Hold on, I want to go back to what you were saying before; my head was sort of drifting. I have a song on my album called “Pedestal” and it’s talking back to people who sit on the Internet making comments, ’cause I’m sitting here working my ass off and they can sit there all day and write negative comments.

A lot of artists have problems with critics, but it’s criticism, both good and bad, that gives art form.
There are people who do it for a living and there are people who just sit at their computer, living at their parents’ house, not getting off their ass and doing anything to better their lives.

 

You used to date Justin Timberlake?
[Laughs]

You can’t be surprised that people are interested.
No, I know, but we weren’t all serious or anything.

 

Quentin did all the scenes with me. He bit me and left bruises, so I just socked him!

 

Is it true that you are both excellent dancers?
He’s better than I am, but we didn’t have a dance-off.

What’s your favorite thing about not dating Justin Timberlake?
What is that question? [Laughs] Wait, you’re confusing me. Say that again please?

Your favorite thing about not dating him?
I don’t know how to answer that.

Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Yeah, how old are you?

30.
Oh! So you’re younger than I am.

How old are you?
31. What sign are you?

Cancer.
So is my boyfriend, Josh [Duhamel, actor]. I get along with Cancers. I’m a fire sign.

Does your man like to stay in a lot?
We do like to stay home. He’s not the big out-on-the-town scene guy. I love to stay home and watch movies. It’s perfect. We had a lasagna cook-off one night.

Who won?
He won [Laughs]. I was the better bluffer, though. I was dicing and slicing and bragging, but mine came out really soggy. I put in too much cottage cheese.

Will there be a rematch?
Yeah, I’m not gonna lose again.

Aside from a lasagna showdown, what’s next for you?
Being on tour. Finishing Grind House. After that I’m gonna see where I’m at.

How’s working with Tarantino?
Amazing! I’m actually in Robert’s half of the double feature, but Quentin came down and did all the scenes with me. He bit me.

He what?
He bit me and left bruises, ’cause there was a scene that called for me to be attacked.

Did you bite back?
No, I just socked him.

So you suffer for your art.
Oh definitely. I like that.

Um, one last question. Sorry, I know it’s embarrassing—but did you pee your pants on stage in San Diego?
Oh no, you have to ask me. It’s just one of those embarrassing moments. I know you have to ask me, but I’m not going to go into it [Laughs].

ADDITIONAL CREDITS: (STYLING) Daria Hines/Margaretmaldonado.com. (HAIR) Thomas Dunkin/The Wall Group. (MAKEUP) Fiona Stiles/The Wall Group. COVER AND FIRST IMAGES: Top by Polka Dots and Moonbeams / cardigen by Boden / panties by Araks / stockings by Agent Provocateur / heels by Cesare Paciotti. SECOND IMAGE: Dress by Corey Lynn Calter / heels by Cesare Paciotti / bracelets by The Way We Wore / ring by Rafinity. THIRD IMAGE: Bathing suit by Bill Blass / heels by Rodo / rings by Rafinity. FOURTH IMAGE: Vintage bathing suit by Norma Kamali / jewelry by Rafinity / heels by Cesare Paciotti.