Allow Chrissy Lampkin to reintroduce herself.
A star of VH-1’s original Love and Hip Hop series, she was the quintessential reality TV bad girl. We watched her love story play out with longtime boyfriend, rapper Jim Jones, and we saw what happened if one of her castmates said something out of pocket to her on the show. (Hint: It wasn’t pretty.)
But, Lampkin tells EBONY she never wanted to be the angry Black woman, and she doesn’t covet that role in the slightest.
So she’s getting a second chance to make a first impression.
With her new series, Chrissy & Mr. Jones, which premiered this Monday on Vh1, she’s hoping that folks will welcome a different side of her as she navigates business, family and happily ever after.
EBONY: What made you want to break away from Love and Hip Hop and do a show that just focused on you and Jim?
CL: Because I don’t want to keep being displayed as angry and that I don’t love women and that I have a problem with other attractive women. I just felt like I was being put in a box of being an angry Black girl. My personality is huge, but my heart is bigger, and I just felt like that wasn’t displayed.
EBONY: And is this because you were around a group of women you wouldn’t normally be hang with in everyday life?
CL: You’re so smart! But yes. That’s exactly it. I felt like I was going backwards instead of forward. The things that I was dealing with were things that I haven’t dealt with in a long time.
EBONY: It sounds like you’ve gone though an evolution of sorts …
CL: I don’t know if it was an evolution or because I was put in these crazy situations — you just saw me definitely being very, very emotional. I was tired on a lot of fronts. I was tired of what was surrounding me, as far as my work with the girls; I was tired of what was surrounding me in my personal life, you know what I mean? And it was all put together on TV. So I was definitely an emotional wreck and it was what I was going through. And emotions are never easy to deal with and I’m a highly emotional person. I feel deeply and I love hard and, it’s just who I am.
EBONY: But that emotion doesn’t appear to have faded. Looking at the trailer it seems like you’re still getting into some deep emotional stuff.
CL: This is a level I can live with and not feel bad about, and not feel like, ‘Damn! Why did I let that get the best of me?’ Or, ‘Damn! You know, I shouldn’t even be talking to that girl about that because me and her don’t have much in common.’ You know what I mean? It’s not those type of scenarios. So I’m bothered by the show because it shows me going through something in real time, but I’m not embarrassed because that’s truly what I was going through.
EBONY: Where you think Chrissy and Jim would be if you guys had never been a part of a reality show?
CL: I don’t know whether I would’ve gone back into real estate or interior design and I can’t really predict the state of our relationship or what it would be like. I really don’t know. I think that this experience has shaken us out of the routine though.
EBONY: For the better, you think?
CL: Most definitely.
EBONY: So now you have the ring …
CL: Well, the ring doesn’t validate who I am, it’s just appreciation and a sign of evolution. When I asked Jimmy to marry me, and I’m sure when he asked me, we knew that we weren’t ready right away. But the evolution and the movement and the growth is what’s necessary in every situation. I plan to go forward, and that is really what I was crying out for. You might see a wedding, you might not. I don’t know.
EBONY: You guys really get into it over having kids in this new series. What can you tell us about where you all are now?
CL: I can’t tell you too much, just that that is something that women all over the world deal with. You know? Do you wait for the right partner? Do you just say, ‘I’m gonna do it by myself?’ Do you take all these things into consideration or are you someone that’s simpleminded and thinks that a baby is gonna be the Band-Aid for everything wrong in your relationship? You know, so just the situation I think is going to be relatable. I don’t want to ruin it but just know it gets crazy.
EBONY: How is your relationship with Mama Jones?
CL: [Dryly] It’s a work in progress.
EBONY: Are you still shooting the series now?
CL: Funny you say that. I’m on my way to a set right now. Today’s my last day.
EBONY: And then what do you do after you’re done shooting? Do you have a martini and go see a therapist?
CL: With this job, you don’t have to wait until you’re off work to get a martini; they hand ‘em to ya! But I definitely need to go and sit on somebody’s beach and recharge.
EBONY: What would make you happiest?
CL: I just want to be fulfilled. I want to find my level of peace and I don’t expect the world to follow, I don’t expect things to be easy, but I want to be a little more gentler with the way I deal with things and a little more understanding of people. It makes me a calmer person. So I’m just looking for my happiness. That’s it. I want to just take the time out, stop letting people dictate my moods with their behavior, learning to be more in control of what I can control, which is myself. I can’t expect people to feel the way I do and respect things the way I do and move the way I do, and I have to learn to live with that and accept it and still find the happiness and the good in other people. We all can’t be the same or else this world would be a boring place. And I just … I think I put a lot of pressure on people to be the way I am and I get disappointed a lot. I just have to depend on how I move a little more. I’ll be a happier person for it.
EBONY: Are you hopeful that people will see a different Chrissy in this new series?
CL: Let’s see, you know? I’m not in the editing room. I can’t be any more honest than that. I have to wait and see. I am an executive producer on the show. But they feel like if they give me too much information, it takes away the raw emotion and the raw response. Reality TV is not easy.
EBONY: And people think that it is …
CL: It’s hard when it’s your truth. If you’re coming on there as a character, you can get through it. You can walk away and say, ‘OK, job well done. I got a check, I’ve got this character out there that I can run with. Then I can come home and be me and check that at the door.’ But when you give of yourself and everything you do is real, you never get to put it down.