To Know Her is to Love Her: Aubrey O’Day of Oxygen’s ‘All About Aubrey’

I have a yet another confession to make. Hold on to your church hats and clutch your favorite pearls (and men, do whatever you do):   I’ve crossed over from being just a casual observer of former Danity Kane member, and Making the Band series star, Aubrey O’Day to being a true fan.

Like so many others, I watched Aubrey go from relatively shy but self-assured Cali girl struggling to live the dream on the reality show, Making the Band, to a member of multi-platinum selling girl group Danity Kane, to a sometimes “scandalous” celebrity.

I enjoy a good reality competition show and few do it better than Diddy whose shows seem to have some hypnotic lure. It was like I woke up one day and realized that I had been watching Making the Band in one incarnation or another, following one group formation or another, for nearly five years.

Damn you Diddy.  You do it to me every time.

Enough about Diddy.

When did I cross over, so to speak?  Well, it took place about a couple of years ago after seeing Aubrey connect with her fans on Twitter. Reaching out to them. Embracing who they are, as they embraced who she is.

Recently, in true fan fashion, I had to check out Aubrey’s new reality series All About Aubrey on Oxygen (Mondays, 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific) as well as watch every preview/bonus clip on Hulu and…Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you (or at least will try not to)

What’s All About Aubrey all about?  Well, my girl Aubrey is taking a stab at another shot at 15 minutes of fame, otherwise know as the comeback.  We enter Aubrey’s cray cray (in a good way; not in a Charlie Sheen way), dynamic world which she shares with friends who are divided into two convenient categories: BFF (Before Fame Friends) and includes control freak friend Stephanie Spiropoulos and the more passive wallflower Tiffany Paladine and AFF (After Fame Friends) which includes her houseguest/assistant/unemployed magazine editor Krystal Bronson. In the spirit of the Bad Girls Club, the Oxygen hit staple that precedes All About Aubrey, Krystal and Stephanie go at each other hard, each claiming that she has Aubrey’s best interests at heart.

Aubrey O'Day and Her BFFs and AFF from Oxgen's "All About Aubrey" (l to r: Krystal Bronson, Aubrey O'Day, Tiffany Paladine, Stephanie Spiropoulos (photo: Oxygen Media)

It’s not just party all the time with the acronyms, we see Aubrey being put through the paces by her “team” as she attempts to reinvent herself as a solo artist.  They are brutally honest and demand more of her than she often does of herself.   Johnny Wright, her manager, wants to her tone down the celebrity wild child and focus on her craft and Gil, her choreographer, confronts her about her motivation as well as her apparent weight gain since the Danity Kane days.

I will say this for the lovers and haters alike: All About Aubrey is all that.  She’s funny, and fun. Someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s that outspoken badass with a Cali girl vibe. She’s looking for “Mr. Right Now” not necessarily “Mr. Right”. You know that dude — the good-looking bad boy with the heart of gold. And she’s looking to make a comeback, this time on her own terms, marrying the celebrity with the artist.

I knew I’d laugh (Aubrey is just plain silly). I knew I’d cringe (She decides to freeze her dog MaryAnn’s  sperm — yes, MaryAnn’s a he — and enlists the aid of Krystal and her hairdresser Cesar in the extraction process *shivers*). But I didn’t know I’d cry. During a rehearsal with Gil, his comments about Aubrey’s weight made her and us, the audience, feel painfully self-conscious. He had her take off all of her makeup (She looks quite beautiful without it. I’m an advocate of less is more) thus stripping her of the mask.  It was Aubrey at her most vulnerable. She cried. I cried. We were both sloppy messes. While I was on my 3rd tear-soaked tissue, like a true solider, Aubrey got herself together and did what she had to do — went to work.

Prior the show’s premiere, Aubrey spoke to a group of reporters about her life, her thoughts and the show, All About About Aubrey and the show that is celebrity culture.

On Taking A Stand

“I don’t regret standing up for what I thought was right and allowing my voice to be heard. I think that’s a strong characteristic for any human being and most importantly for women to do especially nowadays in the workplace. It’s not for everyone but because that has been who I am since childhood, it’s just what is right for me.”

On Weighty Matters

“I think that for me my fluctuations in weight have been more about an emotional struggle than a physical struggle. I have a smaller frame to begin with and have never really had too many issues with battling weight but I did find once my emotional balance got shook, that my weight started fluctuating heavily.

I really can’t stand when celebrities come forward with new fads and new diets and pills and suggest that people should do all of these things to look exactly like them because we all know that every woman’s body is different and nobody’s body is going to look like the celebrity promoting it. And usually the celebrity promoting it has had tons of surgery anyway.

But like I really feel like it’s important to tell, young women especially, [everything] in moderation. Take care of yourself. It is important to be healthy and be fit and to have stamina and energy and to treat your body well. But at the same time, stressing yourself out and feeling miserable about eating or feeling miserable about how you look is also not the way to go about living your life.”

On the ‘Real’ in Reality TV

Reality TV on Making the Band, it was real; it was actually real TV whereas nowadays everything is so scripted and feels very phony. And I wanted to get back to what I was used to and what I knew reality TV to be which was basically like a long therapy session for the people involved in it and also the people watching it…I feel really blessed and it really helped a lot to be able to get out all the things that had been weighing heavy on my heart for so long.”

On the ‘Any Press is Good Press’ Myth

“I’ve heard like a lot of celebrities say they don’t care and it doesn’t matter and “any press is good press”. I think they’re all probably lying or trying to put a positive step forward.

Because at the end of the day, how can you not have your feelings hurt by people saying horrible things about you or making fun of you or suggesting that you’re things that you know that you aren’t? All those things can be very confusing and very hurtful.

I think after you hear it enough you start to become almost immune to it; there really isn’t anything anyone can say to me to hurt my feelings because I think I’ve heard it all.”

On Her Music

“The music is amazing. It’s urban pop. Danity Kane fans will love it. It has a little bit more of my voice in it because I’ve written everything. And also some of it has like a 90s retro sound. One of the Danity Kane members does come back on my show and we do a record together.”

She’s a Giver – For Real

[My charity] FAN, it stands for Fight Aids Now. When I had my junior year of college, I did a program called Semester at Sea where you travel around the world on a boat. You basically get to learn everything about every country that you go to.

I spent a lot of time in various places in Africa and I would say [it] changed my life —  being in the orphanages, being with children that had AIDS [who] were dying of poverty.

And I’d say that was the first time in my life I realized life is just not about me and I’m a very small piece…And seeing that was the first time that really made me realize that there was so much more I could do and be and very little actually revolved around my small little existence at home.

So I started this program. I started really grass roots in my sorority. I would make AIDS apparel to support anyone that had AIDS, to support the disease, to support keeping yourself tested and aware.

My ending goal for it would be to implement programming in children’s hospitals internationally and basically do art and therapy for kids that are affected by AIDS/HIV.”

Aubrey O'Day of Oxygen's 'All About Aubrey' Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/Oxygen Media

On Danity Kane

“I would definitely have to say that everyone in our group loved Danity Kane and there wasn’t any one person that loved it more than another. And I think everyone fought the group’s battles and their own battles very hard and it has affected everyone in a very emotional way. And I don’t think it’s anyone’s right to decide who felt the pain of that any harder than anyone else.

Oh, you’re going to get an amazing ballad called “Goodbye Heartbreak” on the show…It’s about letting go of the past and letting go of being angry or negative or any of the things that have kind of held you down and brought you like ten steps back in life.

And it came at a really emotional time during filming and it was exactly what my heart was feeling in that moment. And I think the ballad is amazing. You’re going to see me write, record, and perform it live at R&B Live.”

Betcha Didn’t Know

“Well some people tell me from watching [All About Aubrey] they never realized how nerdy and silly I was. To me, it’s like who I’ve always been so I don’t know that stands out to me. I think you see me in my natural element with my friends…A big [misconception] about me is that I have changed and I let fame get to my head and I’ve had like a million plastic surgery procedures and I’m this mess of a person now.

It was really hard for me to like escape all these plastic surgery rumors because I went from being this tiny girl with no butt and no boobs and people don’t understand how I could be curvy now and they think that it had to have been some like, you know, surgical procedure that made me look like that.”

More On Speaking Up and Speaking Out

“I always was kind of sad when the bad press started  rolling like wildfire because I think I’m a really interesting person. And I’ve been through a lot in life and I’m a very self-reflective person and I’ve really challenged myself and pushed myself to be better and I’ve learned a lot of lessons because of that.

And I think that I’m somebody that could have a really strong [voice] and be a very vocal person for the youth…And I think that someone that’s able to stand up and do that is really important nowadays especially when celebrity culture is really dictating a lot of the way people feel about themselves. I was always kind of sad that my voice was so muted by the media’s opinion of how ridiculous or messy they thought I was.

What have I learned about myself?…I’d say picking and choosing your battles, knowing when to let your voice soar and when to tone it down.”

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