After Nya Lee’s stint on Love and Hip Hop and her lifestyle as an exotic dancer, the Bronx-born socialite has chosen a new career path―one that involves absolutely NO drama. Turning over a new leaf in her life, the reality star has put her business pants on and ventured off to try new opportunities in the music and fashion industries. Growing up as an inner city kid, it’s natural for a young woman to start a hustle at a young age, which is how Nya started dancing. After an unfortunate altercation at a night club where Nya was cut and attacked by a group of females, most women would have given up.
For many women this path would lead to a different future, but Nya maintained focus on her ultimate goal―to become a music artist. Fast forward to 2015, and the 24-year-old has is transforming into a business and brand. Fresh off her latest single with GS9 crew member, Rowdy Rebel; Lee is already planning for her next move. PYNK Magazine got to chop it up with the famed-host about taking her music career to the next level and actualizing her clothing design dreams. Continue reading to learn more about Nya’s new image and music.
Photo Credit(s): Courtesy of the artist
I know people are familiar with the show and your image on the show, but what was your personal experience like being on Love and Hip Hop?
I was younger, so I really didn’t know how to handle things the politically correct way, so it was a learning experience. I was definitely different than I am now, so I would have probably reacted differently to a lot of things that happened. The show was a good and bad thing because I was able to watch myself and see how far I’ve come. On the show they made me look like this crazy aggressive female that you can’t have a conversation with and that’s not what I want people to think at all. Although I may not have liked those people at the time, I don’t change my opinion about them, but I think I would have reacted a different way now.
Do you think that if you were on the show now that the perception of you would be a lot different?
It would be WAY different, but I don’t regret anything. If you learned from something, then it wasn’t a waste of time. I’m still young and I still have time to improve my image and be a better person.
I see that you are doing music now, how’s that been going?
Right now I’m preparing to release some new music. I’ve been working with some major producers and my team and I are just working on how to get it out there and supported by larger outlets. I kind of paused on putting out a lot of music; I’m waiting for a big record. So people will start hearing from me within the next two or three months. Everyone thinks that because I’m a dancer, I won’t be able to do it, but it’s happening. I want to be able to just stray from the reality scene so people will see Nya for who I am.
How would you describe your music?
I would describe it as real, raunchy, fun and different.
It seems like trap music.
Yea (laughs) people are saying things like “you are a hustlers dream girl; you’re like the Keyshia Cole of rap music.” I think people are responding to the rawness of my music.
How has this journey been, transitioning from a video vixen to branding yourself?
I never labeled myself as a video vixen. I did a few music videos, but I never really cared for that lifestyle. I never really wanted that. Coming from dancing and bartending, this has been one of the most difficult transitions of my life. Trying to be taken seriously as an artist is difficult. This is something that I have wanted to do since I was 16. I started dancing and bartending just to make some money.
We live in a double standard world where male rappers can sell drugs all the way until they sign their contracts, but women can’t dance and bartend. I support my craft entirely. I’ve paid for all my studio time and videos myself. It’s definitely hard to be taken seriously when you are still bartending and dancing while trying to do all of this. It’s hard mentally, financially and physically. It’s hard to understand why I can’t get my money and make my dreams come true at the same time, but it comes with the territory.
Do you think there is a double standard in the music industry when it comes to the creative process (i.e. lyrics and videos)?
I definitely do. If a woman shows her body or raps about it she’s automatically shunned. I understand double standards, but I just don’t like them. That’s the reason I quit dancing and bartending and started my clothing line and music.
Is your clothing line something that you started this year or has it been undercover for a while?
It’s been active for about two months. I don’t want to do the wholesale retail line movement. I actually want to get into designing, which is why I haven’t launched a collection or anything. Right now, I’m just working on how I can upgrade my boutique so people can get a sense of my style. I sometimes sell items that I like, but I haven’t launched anything under my brand.
What else can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on a lot of charity work. I have my own record label-OurCutt-as well and we do a school supplies and book bag give away each year. This year is going to be our third time doing it in the Bronx. When I go back to Los Angeles, I’m thinking about doing this brunch for girls from the ages of 14-20. I feel like at that age you’re all over the place and you need guidance. I was that age not too long ago and I feel like girls will relate to me and my story more than a 45-year-old established woman. Not to say that they don’t have words of wisdom, I just think young girls need women who they can relate to more. I want to share with them that there are way more important things than the superficial. I want to show them another side of me because I want to show them growth. I want to be that person that allows them to understand which direction to choose and understand the consequences of their choices.
What are some struggles that you have faced on your road to success and how have they shaped the person that you are today?
The first thing that made me want to go back to doing music was the incident that happened to me a few years back when I got jumped inside of a night club by girls I didn’t even know. It made me think that this proves that I’m a force to be reckoned with and they want me to break and give up, but it only made me go that much harder.
When I was on Love and Hip Hop, I specifically asked them not to edit out my scar because I wanted to show women that you can find power within struggle. Another struggle was being honest and being upfront about being a dancer and having surgery. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was hiding something, so being honest with that had people on the fence about wanting to be a business partner, or taking me seriously.
It’s clear that you are turning over a new leaf in your life. What changes can we look forward to regarding your career goals and personal growth?
With my clothing line, I will release clothes designed by me within the next month. There will definitely be way more music, way more visuals and just more movements with me and my business endeavors. I feel like the world is going to see a new business-minded Nya.
Would you ever consider doing reality tv again?
As long as it’s tasteful. I don’t want to come on as someone’s girlfriend or wife. I want to get on reality tv off of my own merit. I want it to be about something more positive.