Six months ago Juicy J announced that he would be giving $50,000 in what many called the Juicy J "twerking" scholarship. The flood gates opened on WorldStarHipHop and submissions came in by the dozens. The public was allowed to choose 10 finalists for Juicy J to consider.
What a lot of people didn't didn't realize was that the twerking part of the scholarship was optional. Zaire Holmes, a 19-year-old full-time mother and college student from Florida, won the contest and the grand prize of $50,000 without so much as a two-step.
"She seemed intelligent," said Juicy J about Zaire. "She looked like a hard worker. She had a professor in her video talking about how well she does in school and her friends. She was having fun with it. She was being herself. It was a very tough decision, don't get me wrong. But I just liked her personality out of everybody."
Juicy J also told us he has plans on expanding the scholarship and is working on building The Juicy J Scholarship Foundation, to help more fans of his as goal-oriented as Zaire. We spoke to Zaire about her experience winning, her submission tape, what exactly the money will pay for and how she feels about people being upset that all those bands didn't make her dance.
Interview by Elva Aguilar (Cheverella_)
How did you hear about the scholarship?
I’m a Juicy J fan but I saw a video of him on YouTube doing a radio interview, so I checked it out and I saw them talking about the scholarship contest. I viewed a couple more videos of him talking about it saying, "Just go on WorldStar and read the rules. You don’t have to twerk. I’m looking for girls just to apply for the scholarship. Tell me why you think you deserve the scholarship."
So you weren’t worried about having to do it anyway?
Right. I didn’t feel like there was a need for me to do that. I wanted to stand out and definitely be different. Everybody was up there doing that and the rules said nothing at all about twerking. I applied for other scholarships and I didn’t have to twerk for those, so I didn’t feel the need to twerk for that one.
How long did it take you to prepare the video?
I wanted to hurry up and get the video done as quickly as possible because when I found out about the scholarship I think it only had about two and a half weeks left. You had to get into the top 10 finalists, the public had to vote you into the top ten finalists, so we did the video in two days. I actually re-shot the video because I felt like I needed to add more in there about myself. That’s why you see I changed clothes, because it was shot a separate day.
How did the people in the video react to you wanting to enter the scholarship contest?
Everybody just wanted to make sure it was a legit scholarship and that Juicy J and Columbia were actually apart of it. So we verified that with Columbia Records and we sent my information over.
I applied for other scholarships and I didn’t have to twerk for those, so I didn’t feel the need to twerk for that one.
In your video you mention you’re in the process of getting an A.A. (Associates in Arts) in biological sciences, have you decided whether you’ll be going to the University of South Florida or the University of Florida for med school now that you’ve won the scholarship money?
I have not decided yet. I’ll graduate with my A.A. in the summertime and then I’ll be getting my Bachelor’s in biology.
What’re your plans after that?
After I receive my bachelor’s degree, I would like to go on to med school to become a doctor. I would like to become a pediatrician and open up my own practice.
How did the night go when you found out you won the scholarship?
When I originally found out I was a finalist, I was screaming. But when they pulled my out to L.A. to present the scholarship—at that point in time I thought there was going to be other finalists there—they set it up and Juicy came to surprise me and that’s when I found out I was the winner. I thought there would be other people there but I was the winner so it was really nice how they did that.
You guys hung out in the studio together that night, what was that like?
It was a good experience. Juicy is very respectful. He’s very humble. He has manners. It was really cool.
Was that your first experience rapping?
I've been rapping since I was six years old but it's always been a hobby for me. But since the opportunity presented itself, I rapped for him. I've done talent shows in the neighborhood, I recorded a song in the 10th grade, but it hasn't been anything that I've taken serious. It was something I've done as a hobby, just for fun, just because I knew how to do it.
Have you received the money yet, or do you know how it's going to be distributed?
I don't know about any of that right now but I know they're taking care of that.
And it's going to cover your lab fees right?
The scholarship can go towards anything I need for school. But it would cover my lab fees and it actually would cover med school for me. To go to the University of South Florida [costs] $29,175 a year, so I would have to apply for more scholarships for all the years I have to be in med school, but of course the Juicy J Scholarship would definitely be able to help me for my first two years of med-school.
Do you plan on telling your son this story when he gets older?
I don't know how I would explain it to him. But he'll see that I'm motivated. Because I've always been driven, even before I had my son. I was already a college student when I had my son, but he motivates me more. In high school I was the class president. I had so many volunteer hours. I used to volunteer at homeless shelters. I've always been driven and motivated. It just hasn't started with me being a mom, that hasn't made me motivated.