You think you know, but you don’t know. You saw her on America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), wild and outrageous, dealing with the madness.
And now you see her, introspective, open and, at times, vulnerable, on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab 3 (Thursdays, 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific).
But there is a lot more to Lisa D’Amato that you haven’t seen nor heard. I could say more but I’ll let her tell it.
The Ride: Hey Lisa, thanks so very much for taking the time to answer a few questions. You are the best. How are you doing?
Lisa: I’m doing great. I think I can honestly say that I’m the best I’ve ever been. [smiles]
The Ride: I want to get the tough stuff out of the way. I rediscovered you on Celebrity Rehab 3. It was so brave of you to go on the show. On the show, you really opened up about past abuse. How hard was it?
Lisa: Talking about my abuse wasn’t necessarily hard for me to express, I think, because I’ve always craved telling it to someone who would REALLY listen with compassion. I’ve never had therapy and only have mentioned it to some people who would respond with “that sucks” or “you really need to get over that” or they would just cut me off all together to then talk about their troubled childhood after asking me to pass the salt while eating. You learn at a very young age what is socially acceptable and what to talk about and what not to. Growing up, I was watching the Brady Bunch and Charles in Charge…There was nothing on TV that relatable to my life. When you are a kid, all you want is to be accepted, to be loved. If I had shared these things to people, it would only alienate me more. I got really good at pretending. All you really want at the end of the day is to be heard, helped, and know everything is going to be OK. I know that now and found that out along the way by being my own life coach. I’m glad I can be a voice for others. I sure wish I had someone to relate to when it was happening to me. [smiles]
The Ride: You mention your sister a lot. What does she think about you being on the show?
Lisa: My sister is my biggest fan. She has no idea how I always still smile and try to make people laugh after all the crap I’ve put up with from Hollywood. Me being on Celeb Rehab has brought up a lot of the past for both of us and it’s something that she wants to get therapy for now. Sweeping it under the rug has worked for her in a lot of ways, but we both know it’ll never go away until we face it. It’s so sad that “sweeping under the rug” is the most common way to deal with trauma and then evolves into addiction, depression, anger, unhealthy relationships, unhealthy EVERYTHING!! So sad. It ruins lives.
The Ride: I consider you my she-ro (female version of a hero) because, if you don’t know, you give voice to a lot women who have suffered, or rather, been challenged by similar circumstances. Do you feel like you give others a voice?
Lisa: I know that telling my story on national television has given so many people a louder voice. I couldn’t be happier about that. When I was going through the abuse, I always knew that I was going to be a messenger, or a leader, or something that would help others. Maybe that was my hope speaking…I don’t know. Just knowing that it is happening everywhere all the time makes me feel sick to my stomach.
The Ride: Still on this she-ro thing, if you were a superhero what kind would be?
Lisa: Funny you should ask [laughs] (this will probably come up on CR3), I’ve already had a “ultra ego,” my own super hero. Her name is La Puchinetta (my album title) She is kinda like a gangsta chola. She rolls with the big dogs and can get out of any hard time. She’s got the black teardrops under her eyes and a huge heart. It’s not uncommon that children from abuse use their imagination to create some sort of super hero, or ultra ego. “La Puchinetta” is mine. She has got me through a lot. [laughs]
The Ride: What would be your superpowers?
Lisa: La Puchinetta or I [laughs] would love to flyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!! I’d love to fly and be invisible when I could. That would be fun.
The Ride: Okay, to me, Dr. Drew is so good looking. I know he’s a professional, doing his job but at any time did you become distracted, and stop to think to yourself, “Damn he looks good”?
Lisa: I never got distracted thinking about Dr. Drew UNTIL everyone started telling me how sexy he was. So then, you try and see what others are talking about. He’s such a beautiful man just with his heart and intent to change the world; just that alone is incredibly attractive. The next interview I’ll tell you of his emergency late night visits to see the patients in his tight black T. He works out. I’ll leave it at that. [laughs]
The Ride: What was it like living with the other members of Celeb Rehab? They seem like a very intense group, more so than in previous seasons.
Lisa: Staying in Celeb Rehab with all the others was incredibly difficult. I don’t have anything to compare it to because I have never been in a rehab facility before or even lived in such quarters with Celebs, or Celebs on drugs ever before in my life. It was the longest mind altering experience in my life! I was in there to find out if I was an addict, digging inside myself, being very vulnerable and getting more vulnerable with each day. The others are doing the same but all different and mix that with emotional roller coasters and detox for most and confinement and you got a serious looney bin. But, I wouldn’t take it back for anything.
The Ride: I’ve noticed on Twitter, you have some wonderful fans. (I count myself as one). Lady Gaga calls her fans “monsters”, Mariah’s fans refer to themselves as “lambs”, what would you call your fans?
Lisa: I’d like to call fans friends! I think it’s weird to see new celebrities talk about their “fans” like reality stars say they thank their “fans”. It makes me wanna not like them. [laughs] Maybe that’s weird, I don’t know. I’ve said “fans” and it makes me feel funny inside. Maybe…teamsters, street teamers. I don’t know…I definitely don’t WANT to say fans. Any suggestions? [smiles] The way I look at it, it’s just more people that support what you are doing. Fans, to me, are like those that pass out when they saw Michael Jackson…It’s different. We need a new name!
The Ride: I know your focus now is on your music but it has been interest for a while. Which came first the modeling or the music?
Lisa: Performing was first. I just didn’t know in what. I wanted to do all the fun lessons that all the other kids did…I didn’t. I knew that I would do the fun lessons when it was up to me…one day! Modeling was something I started when I was 12 because everyone around me said that I could. I sent my pictures to magazine modeling contests and got top 20 for Teen magazine! I got sent tons of presents. I continued in modeling as a form of escape. I had the hope that modeling would take me away.
The Ride: How would you describe your sound?
Lisa: I would say my sound is a mesh pot of so many things. It’s electro rap but some of the songs are not that at all. At the end of the day, in today’s day and age, it’s music. Everything has swirled together like watercolors. I don’t know what to compare myself to but I’ve been told I’m a mix between Peaches and Mickey Avalon. I can’t say I agree…
I’m very comparable to Ke$ha though…(and, I’ll share my opinion) I’ve been in this town we call Los Angeles (I like to call Los Scandalous) and I’ve been VERY PRESENT performing all over for about 3 years and I think it’s funny when record execs see something marketable and an idea that they can clone. Ke$ha maybe ke$ha (kinda a spitting image of what I, Lisa D have always been doing), I applaud her for her hard work and talent, though, This is directed at the double edged sword that is the record execs (ICU) not Kesha. Congrats on the record sales and being #1. She’s a sweet girl.
The Ride: What are some of your influences?
Lisa: My influences include everything in my life and all the inspirational artists that helped me along the way. Pink Floyd, Beck, 3 day notices, Lauren Hill, sunny days, TLC, bimbo bitches that populate LA, $10 that needs to last [laughs], hope, love, Salt n’ Pepa, Dre, Snoop, survival instincts, the clurb, boys, Ponch (my dog), running (emotionally and physically) [laughs] You name it! Life is so bitter sweet but I’d like to add more sugar. [laughs]
The Ride: What are some of your inspirations, musical or otherwise?
Lisa: I want to change the world! Our society, our world is so ugly. There is beauty in it and good people, but I see so much that needs to improve. Ignorance maybe bliss, but it definitely isn’t helping anybody for our future. I want children and I want to be sure that this is a better place than it was for me. I am going to do my part to change the world even if it’s the death of me. I’m working with freearts.org which works with kids who live or have lived in abusive environments and we provide loving environments with creative arts so they can express themselves. It’s interesting because I thought I would be giving back, but it turns out that it is therapeutic for me as well. I love it!
In terms of music, I want to tour and share my love, my craft, with all that will listen and appreciate. Performing is my #1 favorite thing to do in the whole world. Music is the ultimate healer. I truly believe that if I didn’t have music, I would be dead.
The Ride: Where can we hear and/or buy your tunes?
The Ride: Who is your dream collaboration?
Lisa: I would love to work with Girl Talk, or Will.I.am. I was almost floating on my feet when I was in the studio with Fernando Garibay and got 7 of his tracks to write to; I still have yet to record them. They are written and ready. Trust that!!! Maybe when my name gets bigger and worth recording with I will get that chance. Until then, I’m crossing my fingers. They are such bangersssss!!!
The Ride: I know you must be tired of being asked about ANTM and Tyra, so I won’t ask you about ANTM and Tyra…at least not exactly…I had a photo shoot a few months ago. I didn’t realize how taxing it could be. All the time, I heard Tyra’s voice in my head, telling me how to pose and to “smize”, (smile with your eyes).
I want to replace Tyra’s voice (because it can be quite annoying) with yours. Do you have any tips that I can use the next time I give this photo shoot thing a go?
Lisa: I would say that before a photo shoot, you should really practice in front of a mirror. Check out your angles, what you like. The camera can see right through you so if you aren’t confident, it will convey that. Practice makes perfect and that goes with modeling as well. I’ll give you a smiling pointer…When smiling for a photographer, don’t keep your teeth completely closed. Leave a space. It makes the smile look more natural.
The Ride: One last thing: What three words would you use to describe you?
Lisa: Firecracker, talented, heartfelt (My heart is too big for me sometimes.) If I got 3 more: misunderstood, driven, messy.
The Ride: Thanks Lisa so very much!!!
Lisa: Thank you! I hope I answered everything to your liking. It was my pleasure answering your AMAZING Q’s. I’ll be crossing paths with you on twitter my friend., ❤ Lisa D. aka “La Puchinetta” [laughs]
Here’s where you can get in touch with Lisa:
Lisa won America’s Next Top Model – All Stars. *throws confetti and does happy dance* Congratulations, Lisa!!