Christina Milian has come a long way from small roles on sitcoms like Sister, Sister and her debut 2000 single "AM to PM;" both were just getting her prepared for a brighter future, and it seems her time to truly shine may be coming around.
During the early 2000s, she balanced both singing and acting, earning a Grammy nomination for her second album, It’s About Time, which harbored her biggest single, "Dip It Low.” In addition, she starred alongside John Travolta in Be Cool that same year. However, ever since, it seemed like her singing career was put on the back burner, coming in second to her acting career as she starred in film after film. After she was dropped by Island Def Jam, she began to work new music with The-Dream, Tricky Stewart and other producers, but that project was put on hold indefinitely when her and Dream wed and she gave birth to daughter Violet.
Now about 6 years later, Christina seems to be finding her footing; she performed "Start A Fire" at the 2014 American Music Awards with Lil Wayne, and filmed "Christina Milian Turned Up." The new reality show will highlight her family along with her journey back into the spotlight as she preps new music as a member of Cash Money Records.
Christina spoke with us about the upcoming show, her wine and clothing ventures, the nerves she felt at the American Music Awards, her (rumored?) relationship with Lil Wayne, and more.
Tune into E! on Sunday, January 18 at 10/9C to watch “Christina Milian Turned Up."
What will fans learn about you from your upcoming E! reality show ‘Christina Milian Turned Up’?
Well, I think this is an opportunity for people to see me make my humanness, they’ll see me make my mistakes; see me take control of my career. I’m just very motivated and plugged in to whatever the world has to bring. They’ll see my drive, how family-oriented I am; that’s what kept me here today, and gave me the longevity and my foundation, my core, which is family. How willing I am to make mistakes, try new things and becoming a woman. So hopefully, they’ll learn good things! (laughs) cause it got kinda crazy (laughs). I feel like this show is a blueprint when it comes to the life of a modern day woman. I like to put my energy into everything I do, and I think everything is in the power of the mind, so if you’re focused and you really want it, you’ll get the energy, and the ideas and creativity will fall into place as long as you clear your mind and allow it to happen.
We’ll see your mother/manager and your and sisters on the show. Was it weird having the cameras all in your business?
Oh gosh, yes (laughs). We were definitely a little reserved in the beginning, and eventually you get comfortable with the camera being there. More weird for them because they’re not used to it; weird for me because I also wanted to protect myself, like, what’s the world gonna think? But then you kind of let go, and when you’re in the front of the cameras long enough, then real things start happening, like arguments, and things you’re exploring about the past and you’re bringing them back up. It’s almost therapeutic. I found the show was good for us because it brought us back together. Before the show, there was a sense of independence we were gaining, almost independent of each other, and I think we missed each other, and for a long time, we were all very co-dependent with each other. So, it was important for us to come together to find out what role we played for each other. It was definitely hard work; my sisters, my mom got to see how much work it takes to be on camera, and for me, this is beyond doing a movie or TV show, it's a different type of work. It’s very draining, thinking about protecting your brand, but when you give in and realize that people are gonna say whatever the hell they want anyway, you just live. I’m proud and happy that we did it. I think it’s gonna be a great opportunity for my family to succeed and figure out what they wanna do with their careers.
What’s a funny moment the cameras caught, but won’t make it to air?
I doubt they’ll be a funny moment that’s NOT gonna be on film (laughs). They’re things I did I thought I would never do on camera. It definitely pushed me to try new things and conquer my fears. But one thing that didn’t make it, but I know is funny, is we through a baptism party for my sister and my niece and I decide to throw the party so I made some cakes, and everybody had something to say about my cakes because of the way it looked (laughs). Instead of going to a fancy place and getting this beautiful cake, I decided to make the cake myself. It turned out pretty good actually, but it's funny; I bought these little porcelain babies to put on the cake and everybody had something to say about how the babies looked, because the baby didn’t look like the baby. Everybody had something to say, but I didn’t care.
You have the single "Start a Fire" with Lil Wayne, how did that collaboration come about?
That’s Wayne’s single, and that was the record label’s decision, and for me, that was a demo that I did the vocals for years ago. And I always thought Wayne or Nicki [Minaj] would be great on the record. Funny enough, when I was shooting the show, I had a meeting with the label and I was playing the music, and Mack Maine has always loved that record, and he was like, “you should play that record for Cortez [Bryant],” [Lil Wayne’s manager]. So I played it, and ‘Tez was like “oh my God, I love this record!” And I was like, is he doing this for TV or is this for real? But it turned out he was for real! (laughs) Next thing I know, couple weeks later, Wayne played the record for me in the studio, one thing led to another, and three days in advance of the American Music Awards, I’m getting a call, like “hey, we want you to perform this on the American Music Awards as the new single.” So yeah, (laughs). It was the label’s decision, and I was just ecstatic because I get to come out with music again, it’s with Wayne, I mean, this is a big deal. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I've never even performed at an awards show in the United States. Needless to say, I’ve been on a hiatus musically and performing anywhere. I don’t think I was scared, but in the moment when it’s happening, it’s lights, it’s cameras, and halfway through the performance, that’s when I really realized what was going on; you start talking to yourself. Like, as I’m singing, in my head, I couldn’t even hear it in my voice as I’m singing what was going on in my head as it happened (laughs). We didn’t even have any rehearsal time, it was all about chemistry. Moving forward now for the two of us, we already know what it’s like now to do that together. When we stepped off the stage, we were like two little kids acting like we never performed in our entire life, we were kissing on each other and all excited.
So, I have to ask…the rumor mill continues to burn about you two. What’s your take on the situation?
I really respect him and enjoy working with him. We’ve definitely grown closer in the last few months. I feel very fortunate to be working with him, and I admire him as a musician and what he’s done with his business. Being his artist, I feel fortunate that he believes in me. People definitely see us around a lot together (laughs), but we have a very cool relationship. I think it’s a relationship to be protected because the world has something to say about everything. If it’s something worth anything, I think it’s best to enjoy and live for yourself. So yeah, that’s probably the best answer I can give you (laughs).
Which do you prefer most: hosting, singing, or acting and why?
My preference is everything! I just love to perform, I really don’t have one certain thing; different things fell into place at different times. Acting is more a professional business where you need an agent, and it’s a little more mapped out. And then with my music career that came in time, when you meet the right people, you learn the business and contracts and stuff, but I’ve always wanted to do what I do today, and that’s everything.
If you could have a dream role as an actress, what would it be?
I would love to do an action film, I wouldn’t mind doing a movie like Bad Boys. Like a big, big movie, like a Will Smith movie. An action/comedy, with a really great cast, I would love to do something like that.
If you could have a dream music collaboration, who would it be with?
I mean, who doesn’t wanna work with Beyonce? (laughs) She’s an inspiration, and like I said, that’s a dream (laughs), but you never know what can happen in life. But if you’re talking about big dreams, I think she’s just she’s iconic, someone you look up to, and she works her ass off, so it would be a dream to work with her. I love Nicki, we’re on the same record label. To me, she’s of the same caliber of a hard worker and she’s definitely talented. So, I would definitely like to work with Nicki Minaj. I don’t really have a guy out right now I’m just like “hey, I need to be in the studio with him,” but I would definitely say like, a J.Lo, a Beyonce, a Nicki Minaj, those are three very talented women I would love to work with.
Your last album was 2006's So Amazin, what's the status on a new full-length release?
There’s an album coming with the show actually, and on the show, they’re gonna feature a lot of my music, which I’m excited about. One of them is my single called “Rebel.” My label [Cash Money] is going through some changes right now so the prior plan we had might be changed up just a little, but we’re looking to shoot a video for “Rebel” as well. I have a couple of songs on the [Wayne’s] Carter V album when that comes out and then I’m looking to do a little mixtape, so I can get out music in the meantime, while the label handles the business stuff, so be expecting some new music.
We noticed that you are dabbling in spirits and clothing ventures, tell us about your brands and where you are trying to take them?
My wine company, Viva Diva Wine, our Moscatos do especially well, we have Moscatos, Pinot Grigio, we have a Moscato D'asti. Our flavored Moscatos come in six different flavors, we’re now distributed in about 25 different states and we also sell online, and it’s doing really well, and I’m excited because it’s featured on the show. I’m very fortunate it’s doing well. We do a lot of wine tastings and bottle signings at the places we sell our wines just to meet the fans. And my clothing line is called We Are Pop Culture and that was something that started about 3 months ago. We started online and now we’re starting to go into stores. We Are Pop Culture is a women’s street and casual wear brand for the woman on the go. When it comes to fashion, I’m a hodgepodge of everything, tomboy swag mixed with a little sexy, I want my clothes to be versatile. People are wearing joggers to the club now, it’s not just something to work out or as pajamas, you can rock it however you want. We have joggers, t-shirts with really cool things, dresses, skirts, a lot of the stuff can all be mixed and matched. It’s a lifestyle brand, and I think women today like options. We’re very fortunate to live in a time where we can do whatever the hell we want and express ourselves through our clothing. It’s for women and girls who want to express and be themselves. We’re selling a lip gloss, a lipstick in the form of a gloss through We Are Pop Culture. Eventually, I’m hoping for that brand to grow with the makeup or to get a some kind of endorsement or something in the future.
What are some of your beauty secrets in staying so gorgeous?
I drink lots of water, I’m really not good with beauty secrets, to be honest, I’m very lazy (laughs). But I do drink a lot of water just to keep my skin in good shape. Makeup wipes are the best in history (laughs), to take your makeup off at night. I don’t like to sit there and wash my face and do the whole regimen. I really just wanna wipe it off and get to bed because it’s convenient and it’s fast. But when it comes to make up, I like my contour kits. I’m not good at doing my eyebrows yet, but I try (laughs). I try to stick to simplicity and not overdo it. Smiling keeps you young, I think that’s one of the best beauty secrets (laughs). And always keep a pair of lashes and some glue on you (laughs). You can never go wrong with lashes or get those individual lashes put on. You won’t even have to put on makeup, you put those things one and they’ll last you for a while.