The issue you had with Kimbella on the second season of Love and Hip Hop was that women are out there doing these videos for free—
It’s frustrating coming from that world where it’s common that a lot of girls do have that capability of actually being a video girl or a model, but they lose the business end of things because of the hunger and thirst for fame. I’m doing this because I love it, but anything you do in life you should be compensated for and appropriately. That was always the struggle.
I would sit up there and ask for what is realistic for a pay rate and some girls would come in and want to do it for free for exposure. I get it, but at the same time, you water down something that has a lot of value and potential by being so illiterate about it. A lot of girls don’t do their homework on it. It’s a big picture, we all have to eat. Nothing gets done for free.
I would sit up there and ask for what is realistic for a pay rate and some girls would come in and want to do it for free for exposure. I get it but at the same time, you water down something that has a lot of value and potential by being so illiterate about it.
How long were you doing music videos?
I started around 16 and my last video I was 19, and that was Akon’s “So Paid.” I’ve been doing it for a while. Even before me, I remember watching Janet Jackson and Jennifer Lopez. There’s so many great people who have come from the video aspect of things that I was really using it as a stepping stone, just to get out there and be seen and learn the industry because there’s a lot more to it than people think.
You began a modeling career while performing in music videos, as well. How did that begin?
I’ve always been very slim and tall and I just go to all the castings. I’m one of those girls. I’m from New York, that’s where I started so I would be up and down the D, 6, 4 trains to get to all the castings. I’ve just been lucky where, as far as my look, I’ve always been versatile. I can be super sexy and give you that whole video vixen look and at the same time I can be fashion-forward and strut a runway or even do hair campaigns or commercials. That’s one thing that I’ve always been open-minded in the sense of perfecting my craft and learning every possible thing. There is such a thing as being able to do it all, it’s just a matter of your deliverance and if you’re capable.
You were introduced to reality television through Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami. You helped them launch one of the DASH stores.
Kourtney came to me. My son’s father and Scott Disick are really good friends. I had just had my little guy, so I was taking a break but I was getting itchy and I needed to start working again. She came to Miami and it was perfect. I was able to be hands-on as a mom and still work. She came to me and asked me to help her launch it and it was cool because it was a bunch of girls that they hired. Being able to rub elbows with them and see how they move and make their business actually grow was a great experience. I would do it all over again.
You brought up your son and his father. There was a video that was released of you beating him up in the street. What was that all about?
It’s unfortunate how it looked, especially after the unfortunate situation with Kimbella. That was all over the place in the media. It just so happened that this video from my past surfaced. I didn’t have the healthiest relationship with my son’s father and it wasn’t the best. The video was something from my past and I’m not really trying to relive too much, especially now, but let’s just say I’m in a new situation and it’s much more loving and happier than I’ve ever been. My career is moving forward, I’m having fun, and the past is the past. That was a time to put a lot in perspective.
People haven’t really gotten a chance to know my story and see who I am as a person so the way things panned out is definitely unsettling to me because I know that’s not who I am or what it is.
People haven’t really gotten a chance to know my story and see who I am as a person so the way things panned out is definitely unsettling to me because I know that’s not who I am or what it is. Everyone goes through a rough time and when you don’t have the time or outlet to tell your story, people jump to conclusions. I signed up for this, so it’s a matter of, especially on this season, letting the world know who I am. All of my intentions, even when I do mess up, come from a good place. I’m not this crazy girl—I’m crazy, but I’m a good crazy. I love to live, have fun, I’m adventurous but I’m also a mom and someone who comes from nothing and everything I have, I’ve worked really hard for.
Where in New York did you grow up?
I grew up in the Bronx. It was rough, especially because the neighborhood I grew up in wasn’t so easy. You can be easily influenced by what’s around you. I was always strong minded and my personality was always extra in the sense that I was always dancing and singing. The Bronx has definitely made me be able to deal with a lot of things that come my way in this industry. It’s not easy. I’ve been through it all, I’ve seen the worst of it and it’s a good feeling to think that if I’ve come through this, I can deal with anything.
In the second season of Love and Hip Hop you were pursuing your music career. Is that still happening?
That’s what you see this year. You get to see why I’m so passionate and why I’ve been going for so long. You understand as far as what I meant last season even though my message got delivered the wrong way. I definitely work hard and music is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. This is the time to get the ball rolling and get it done. People can follow my journey and be familiar and be comfortable with me because you get to see how it actually works. This is coming from a girl who used to model and is from the Bronx, but does have the capability of doing this. And you see how I get to do it. That alone is the underdog story.
I’ve been through it all, I’ve seen the worst of it and it’s a good feeling to think that if I’ve come through this, I can deal with anything.
On the show, we saw you sing a little for Rich Dollaz. Have you still been working with Rich?
Yeah, we’ve been very hands on. We’re always together working and right now we’re establishing a really great relationship. As far as us and business, everything is really good. I’m excited.
Any plans on releasing an album?
Definitely a single and that’s what we’re in the process of doing now, picking which one we want to go with and video time—the whole process. It’s definitely been a long time coming. I’ve been working really hard. During the whole controversy of everything, I had time to put a lot of things in perspective. I’m not perfect but I know as far as me wanting to make things happen, I’m not going to let anything get in the way of it. Hard work prevails, no matter what you have going on, how bad you messed up, how perfect your life is. We all go through it. I’m human and it’s about time to make things happen for Erica Mena.
It seems like you’re in a better place than last season. Do you have anything else coming up besides filming and the single?
I’m in the process of writing my book. It’s going to be about my life. I’m going to finally go into detail of what I’ve gone through, being in the industry so young and how I went about things. I know there’s a lot of girls to this day that look to be in this industry, so it's just to give my perspective on things because people assume the worst of it. It’s not even as bad as it is, it’s just a matter of being smart. For me, it’s really just about the music right now, that’s the cool thing. I’m just really excited about all of it.