Interviewed by: Autasia Ramos
Black Ink Crew’s Sassy is a unique individual; with a charismatic presence and on the new season, we definitely get to see her glowing personality shine through. The show has become a serious cultural staple on VH1 and has gained a massive fan base over its 3-season stretch. Based on the lives of a dysfunctional, family-oriented group of employees at a Harlem, NY tattoo parlor, the show continues to chronicle the lives of seven individuals who have become a family working together.
Throughout the show, the reality stars are thrown into many situations that test their loyalty to each other and their dedication to keeping the parlor open and thriving. PYNK Magazine chopped it up with one of our favorite divas in the crew, Sassy to discuss her growth since season one of the show, her goal of being a positive role model in the female community, and her own definition of what being a PYNK Girl is. Read the full interview on the following pages to get to know Sassy beyond the camera.
Where are you from?
Well, I was actually born in Camden New Jersey, which is in South Jersey, and it’s definitely the trap, like number one murder rate in America for like 40 years straight. My family is from New York and my mom was born in New York. My mom just kind of moved out to Jersey and had my brother and me, and then she decided to come back, so I was then raised in Harlem. So I have a little bit of Jersey, and a little bit of Harlem.
Growing up what was your dream career?
I wanted to be an obstetrician and deliver babies. That’s all I could think about since I was like 5-years-old. It took me all the way until college to realize there was another life for me. I was so overwhelmed with going to specialized schools. I was so focused as a kid; I didn’t get my first B until I was in high school—I was a nerd. It got to a point where I was like “oh my gosh!” I got old enough to realize that there was a whole another world. Eventually, I got a blue Mohawk and the rest was history.
How did you start working at Black Ink?
I actually got introduced to Black Ink through Puma, and I met Puma through my ex-girlfriend. She and I were out one night at Tammany Hall and Puma just happened to be there as well, so she introduced us. There was an instant connection. He and I don’t even hang out with the girl who introduced us anymore. He brought me over to Black Ink and I would go over there to their events and the parties they threw. I also used to throw parties also, so I started helping them with their events. Then the show came about, and I just kind of stuck it out with them.
Do you feel that you have grown or that there has been a transition from now since the first season?
I definitely feel like I’ve grown but that was all part of my plan. You know, once we found out for sure that we were going to get the season we [Puma and I] kind of sat there and came up with this master plan-like the next step. I don’t want to be known as Sassy from Black Ink, that’s not what my goal is. I’m just using it as a way to get my foot in the door. I’m growing as a person, I’m growing as Ashley and I’m growing as Sassy.
Did you have any reservations about doing reality television?
I definitely was a little skeptical at first, I didn’t know what I was getting into and I don’t really watch too much television, but I was aware of the stereotypes of reality TV and the backlash that a lot of reality stars get. I feel like at the end of the day, the reason we see these things and the reason why reality stars do have the reputation they have is because regardless of how things may be edited you still give them the things they film. So if you’re giving them ratchetness, and you’re giving them trash, then that’s all that they’re going to have to work with. There’s a different type of girl out there. Every girl is not crazy, every girl is not turnt up, there’s a cool chick out there that’s just out there chilling who’s normal and just has a good head on her shoulders. She doesn’t need anybody, she’s independent, and I just felt like I could use this platform and show that type of girl. They’ve gotten the real me and I feel like people can relate to that.
What should we all know about Sassy that we couldn’t see from the show?
I went behind the curtains a little bit for season 2 and that was because I didn’t agree with what was being shown and I didn’t want to be a part of the drama. I didn’t act like that in my real life and I wasn’t about to do that and show the world that side of me. So if I had to fall back a little bit then that’s what I had to do. But at the same time, I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity of being the voice for these girls. So, that meant I had to step my game up a little bit more and allow the cameras to come up more in my life and not just [film]what I do for Black Ink. So this season, you will definitely see a lot more of Sassy and what I’m about, personally.
How would your friends and family describe you?
I think very nature-oriented and silly as hell. I’m very fashionable, I love fashion, I love clothes that and I like to put my personality into my style. Day to day, I never know what I’m going to decide to put on. Naturally, I just bought my bike. I don’t want a car, I don’t need a car. I just bike around the city; I still take the train sometimes. I try to keep myself very humbled. That’s probably the number one thing that they can say. I do everything the same way. If I’m having a party on Saturday, I’ll rent a place for everyone to come and party so everyone can crash there and on Sunday morning I’m up in the kitchen cooking breakfast. Nothing’s changed and as long as I keep myself that way, I’m able to walk around the streets without security and people running down on me or thinking negatively about me. I definitely try to stay as humble as possible.
How has “Black Ink Crew” helped you in your future endeavors?
“Black Ink Crew” was definitely a platform. If you go back to season one and ask any of us when we were filming if we ever thought it would be this big, we would say, “we didn’t even know if season one was going to make it.” You can easily film an entire season of a show and it never air. But once the first season popped off to see how everyone reacted to it was unbelievable. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with what gets put out there with reality television our job is to change the face of reality stars. Now, we have women out there like Lala and Yandy; women who are out there doing something more than just being a thot. We are better than that. Its women empowering women, showing them we don’t have to just be stuck in a box. As long as we have women on reality television doing this it will continue to change. Girls right now think you have to turn up to be on TV and that’s not how it has to be.
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