Exclusive Interview with Tiffany “New York” Pollard

Photo Courtesy of VH1

Tiffany “New York” Pollard may be a reality TV icon and the self-proclaimed Head Bitch in Charge (HBIC), but she can now add cosmetics connoisseur to her extensive resume because she just launched a limited-edition nail polish line that will make for a perfect holiday gift this year.  

While she typically likes to dress completely in black, the star teamed up with Orca to create a bold four-pack collection – consisting of yellow, blue, red, and green – that will add a pop of color to your outfits of the day. She notes that what makes her line different from others on the market is the inspiration behind each color.

Initially claiming fame by appearing on VH1’s Flavor of Love and then her own show, I Love New York, Pollard set the stage for a whole new television genre, one that delights in the deliberately absurd and over-the-top personas. She brought high entertainment and camp to our small screens when reality TV was not what it is today.

Instinct caught up with Pollard and talked more about creating a beauty empire, being discovered while shopping on Hollywood Blvd., and becoming a “meme queen.” We cover the good, the bad, and the infamously ugly.

Hi, Tiffany! Thank you for taking some time to chat with us. Can you begin by telling us more about your new nail polish line?
Yes, absolutely! The nail polish lacquer line is called ‘HBIC Ink,’ and it has such beautiful sleek packaging. We went with the envelope style so you could just open it up and get to the beauties inside. These colors really were handpicked by me. We went back and forth, and Orca was so good at making sure it was exactly what I wanted. The yellow is called ‘Zero Caution,’ then we have the blue, which is called ‘Boss Up Blue.’ The red is called ‘Go Go Juice,’ and the green is called ‘Currency,’ honey! They each have a unique story behind them, and I am just so excited and proud of this line.

Photo Courtesy of Mickey Dziwulski

Did you have a specific concept or inspiration in mind when creating these polishes?
I wanted each of the polishes, I knew we were going to do a set of four, I wanted them to feel very bossy, very punchy, over the top, and extreme. Hence the names and meanings behind the polishes. I want whoever wears them to feel like they are in control.

Would you like this to be the start of a Tiffany “New York” Pollard beauty empire?
I think it will because I am going to do blushes next. I don’t know why, but I am obsessed with blush right now. That might be the next venture.

How do you typically do your nails?
I go through phases. Sometimes I’m a salon girl, but since the pandemic, I really got back into that old school, therapeutic way of doing my own nails, and my own pedicures as well. It feels so good. These lacquers are great for your toes as well. If you want to do your own, you can, or another great idea is that you can bring these to your nail tech, and they can slap them on for you. With the applicator, they are so easy to apply. You just start in the middle and the brush glides down. Then you go from left to right, and you’re good. It’s so easy to use.

Is this a limited edition?
There are 300 specially marked boxes with a signed letter from myself. Once those are gone, people are still going to be able to pick up the line. It will be a little bit of a wait, but hey, it’s made right here in the USA, and there’s free shipping. We are going to take care of everybody.

Where and how can one purchase the set?
All you have to do is go to OrcaShop.co/HBIC. It will take you directly to the site and you can order your hearts away. Like, get three or four of them because everybody’s going to want this under the tree this year!

Photo Courtesy of Mickey Dziwulski

Obviously, the world knows you as a fixture on TV by first appearing on VH1’s Flavor of Love and I Love New York. What can you tell us about the upcoming TV project you have in the works?
I am so excited. The next one that will be coming out in 2022, at the top of the year, is going to be called Hot Haus. It was so much fun because we are looking for the next queer icon, sex symbol. It is a competitive type of show, and the contestants went all out with their performances. It was so hard to pick a winner because they were all that great.

Is it true that you were discovered by a VH1 casting director while shopping on Hollywood Blvd?
That is so true. His name was Terrence Martin, and he just came up to me. I was trying to avoid him, and he actually followed me into the shop, but I’m so glad I gave up those digits because I kept saying no. If I walked away, I wouldn’t be here today.

You never intended on becoming a reality TV superstar.
No. I didn’t even know what that was at the time, and he didn’t approach me about being a celeb or a star. He asked if I was single, and I was at the time. He said, ‘you’d be great for a dating show.’ So, the fact that I was single, because if I wasn’t single, I wouldn’t have done it. It was just perfect for me not to be hooked up at the time.

When you look back at yourself during that time, do you believe you were portrayed accurately?
I do believe I was portrayed spot on, very accurately. It was competition mode. When you saw me explode, it was real. When you saw me feeling vulnerable, that was real. When you saw me drinking and acting like a lush, that was real too.

Is there anything you would have done differently?
No, I really have to go with everything I did in those moments. It was all new to me.

Of course, we can never forget about your notorious TV moment, which went down as one of the craziest reality TV moments of all time. Have you had any contact with Pumpkin since?
Oh my gosh, no, but that is the fight I will never live down. People still ask me to this day, ‘Did you whip her ass? Did you get her yet? I’m going to get her if I see her.’ That will never go away. I’ll probably be 80 in my wheelchair, and they’ll still ask me if I beat Pumpkin’s ass.

Even drag queens have reenacted that scene.
I get so excited when I see that, but then I get pissed off too [laughs]. Like, baby, I am ready to charge!

You still receive love from longtime fans who have followed you since your Flavor of Love Days. How does it feel to know that you have inspired so many to find their voice and be confident with themselves?
It’s remarkable. I sometimes have to pinch myself because I can’t believe it. I am still a small-time person at heart. I’m a small-town girl, so to come from upstate New York and have this happen, it is sometimes surreal for me. I’m like, wow, this person over here knows me? This person cares that I think this way? I don’t take it for granted. Who knew it would last this long?

Back then, people thought you were a little crazy and ready to fight at any minute. Do you feel like that public perception of you has changed over the last couple years?
I definitely feel like that public perception of me has changed, and that’s a good thing. I feel like people know that I will stand my ground, but fighting and bickering is not always the first case scenario all the time. I have done some extensive growing up and working on myself, and sometimes, I don’t like to be mad. I’m like, oh, I can choose not to be mad in this moment, and that feels really good. It takes a lot of energy to get pissed.

But thanks to your iconic antics, we have been gifted with several memes and GIFS, making you a “meme queen.” Which one is your favorite?
[Laughs] Oh my goodness, it’s still ‘Beyonce? Beyonce? Beyonce? Bitch, you look like Luther Vandross!’ That kills me every single time.

My favorite is “New York” on a Bed. I send that one to my husband a lot.
That is such a good one too. That moment conveys so many different things. It could stand for anything.

I would like to ask you about the certain comments you made last year that were considered transphobic. You came under heavy fire, but you said trans social media star TS Madison helped you. How so?
First off, TS Madison is a very big, warmhearted woman. She knew I was going to fall under the fire, which I didn’t. When I started to unravel, she immediately texted me and was like, ‘Tiff, sis, this is not going to be good for you.’ I’m like, whoa, what’s going? What happened? Then I saw the clip, and the fact that the woman who was sitting across from me when I was dishing it out, she was cisgender, and I didn’t know this would still be taken as a slanderous moment in the trans community. She really schooled me on it, and I knew that I would have to give back to the community and let them know, hey, this wasn’t my intention, but at the same time, I’m willing to learn and grow. There is so much that we don’t know if we don’t put our growth and minds out there to latch onto new information. I was just, as you can say, ignorant to a lot of the facts, and I did not mean to hurt the community.

Is there anything you would like to say to LGBTQ following?
I love y’all so much! They support me when things are a little bit dry or cold, if you will. There have been so many years where I wasn’t on television or doing a lot, but they would still show up for me, book me, send me clothes, like beautiful dresses and shoes. It’s just a loving community and culture, and I am always going to be here for the LGBTQ community.

Circling back to Hot Haus for a second, will this be the first LGBTQ-themed show that you’ll be involved with?
Other than The TS Madison Experience and guest judging on RuPaul’s Drag Race, this will be the first where I am hosting and learning more about the culture. Like using them/they pronouns. That was something for me to pick up and really understand, and the more knowledge I can gain, I feel like it just makes me a better person.

You are also currently engaged, correct?
I am! We are still going strong. He’s the one.

Image via Instagram @tiffany_hbic_pollard

Even though you have decided to keep this relationship very much off-camera, are there any wedding details you would like to tell us?
I see us doing it next year, maybe in the summertime, and that’s kind of a reason why I am keeping it off to the side. I don’t want to throw it all out there, have people chiming in, and judging. So many relationships kind of go down the drain, if you will, when others are involved. He’s also not trying to be all known in anything anyways, so it all works.

What more do you hope to accomplish with your platform?
I just hope to continue excelling in a way where I can uplift people and help them tap into that inner thing that they are. Where they don’t have to conform to what society says should be happening in their lives. I am a motivational speaker, but at the same time, I am an Evangelist as well. I am all about spirituality, having that walk, and having that relationship.

Before we wrap up, are there any other upcoming projects or anything else you would like to mention or plug?
Again, I just want to send you all over to OrcaShop.co/HBIC to pick up this beautiful four-pack, and there is going to be a lot more reality television coming in 2022!

Stay up-to-date and connect with Pollard by following her on Instagram.


 

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