Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander won the hearts of many, including rapper Flavor Flav on the first season of Flavor of Love. VH1 caught up with the reality star about her real feelings for Flav, her failed friendship with Pumkin, and continuing her reality TV career with her sisters on her new series It Takes A Sister.
Flavor of Love came around before reality TV was a business platform, what was it like living in that house with the other girls? Was it truly real?
Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander: It was so new, like reality everything, especially the type of show that we were doing and it was new for us. It was my first time stepping out in the public and not really knowing what was going to happen. It was so overwhelming and surreal for me. I didn’t even know all the other women because they kept everybody separate. I will say [the producers] were so good at keeping so many things from you. I think that they were geniuses on capturing the reality of the situation and I think that has changed because now so many people are involved in what’s going on [on reality shows] and, do things because they’re like, “this is what [the show] needs” versus putting people together and just letting them react.
To stand on that podium with 19 other girls, not knowing who was going to walk through the door was crazy. I will never ever forget, and I just remember, “3, 2, 1” and then boom here it rolls and Flav comes through the door and I’m about to die because we had no idea who it was going to be so it was great. [Laughs]
Did you realize when you were taping that you were making TV history? That some of these moments would go down in reality TV history?
I could not tell you the dynamic that it would bring afterwards, but that was something crazy, but being in that situation I knew that something great was happening, even though I couldn’t put my finger on it. Standing there when Pumkin did spit in New York’s face and that is something that I couldn’t even predicted, even though I know how crazy New York is and I know how crazy Pumpkin was. I still laugh at it like, oh hell no. It became a pivotal moment in reality television and nothing will ever top it because it was so genuinely real. It change and paved the way not only for reality television, but me as a person, even New York is still doing stuff and maybe that’s why we keep going on.
How much of New York was real and how much do you think was a character put on for the cameras?
I gotta tell you that girl will do anything to make it a point to be noticed, but the thing about it was it wasn’t half way through the show that I noticed that she completely flipped the switch. She started off losing her head and I do know that she had been an actress out in LA before that. She would tell stories and stuff like that so clearly she knew what to do and me coming from scrapes off of brown town and dirt roads and just being plopped on but I’m listening. The moment that the cameras locked in and she flipped because she knew she had to do something different to be noticed and to get attention and just to stir up things up in the house and just to really push buttons and I’m like, “Oh, you gotta strategy now?” To me that’s fake because you know what you need to do every time the cameras come around. I feel like it completely switched half way through and then she became this character and that character she had, she has had to keep all this time because that is what people know her from. I don’t know if that is hard for her or easy as pie but it seems easy.
Have you kept in contact with any other of the women from the show?
No. Well, when I did I Love Money, me and Pumpkin had been close all way up until then but money changes people and I’ve seen true personalities. How she started stabbing people in the back, even me. Whiteboy and I are close and obviously Chance. Rest in peace Real. I still was extremely close to Real before anyway. I don’t like to really talk about that.
And what happened to Pumkin after the you guys had your falling out?
I don’t know. Maybe she went back home. I couldn’t even guess if I tried. [Laughs]
What was the real story between you and Flav? Was the chemistry real? Were the feelings real? Did you stay in touch?
Absolutely. I went to London with him and watched him perform and are very close. He and I are super cool friends and all that you saw was really real. I saw him not too long ago in LA and just gave him a hug and I told him thank you. I will always have respect for Flav, he changed my life.
You don’t have a non-disclosure agreement anymore Nicole, so you can tell us if wasn’t real.
No lies, it was really was. I was impressed by the person he was [Laughs] I am just telling you that it truly was. I still love him. I’m for real.
So, let’s flash forward, tell me about how you came to get a reality show with your sister on Oxygen?
Given the fact that I have done two shows, one being a challenging show and one being a competitive show and winning them, so okay it was time to do something different and I wanted to produce something and be behind the scenes.
I always had to chose the best things for me and make the right decisions and it will keep just going on and on and a lot of people get on reality TV and think like, “Oh wow I’m a star now” and I always think way beyond that. My family has always been the meat and potatoes of my life and I have always taken care of them and I knew I had to do one more thing just to get them out from underneath my wings. I will always be there for them but for as long as I can remember I was taking care of them, so I was like hold on let me try to give you guys something that you can help yourselves with so that you can move on, so that I can really start to live my life. They are always over, half of them live with me. I’d be coming back home every day to craziness and I’m like, dude, cameras need to be here, like they have too they gotta see this and that’s just what I did. It Takes A Sister took two years to produce and pitch and we did all of the dirty work and that’s how all that came about.
Was it challenging doing a show that focused on the dynamic of family and personal life?
Yes, it’s so much harder because you are essentially everything: I’m the narrator,the producer, I’m the talent – the sister, the aunt, I’m the breadwinner. I’m running a business. I’m in a relationship, trying to start another one. There were just so many elements to who you are and when you are doing a challenge show, obviously there is one goal, so you don’t see all of those sides to people. To really open yourself up and be like, man there are so many layers to me.
Was it hard for your family to adjust to the camera living their day-to-day lives?
No, they’re so crazy and they’ve been ridiculous. Some of the crew was worried like maybe they weren’t ready and I was like, no, we are going to be who we are regardless and they were so shocked. I been with my family and the kids for a long time so I brought them along with me and it’s nothing that they’re aren’t used to. It’s not just completely brand new for them. The hardest part was that their days had to be a little structured. That’s where their attitudes came in and they were like, “Oh my gosh,” because normally they are sleeping in. I was like, you have to do something. I am not going to do like everything and take care of you guys so that was the realest part for them.
Will there be another season of It Takes A Sister?
I’m superstitious. We have a call in a couple of weeks to find out if and when but it’s looking very good, I think. That’s all I can say about it but, yes, hopefully. [Laughs]