She’s looking to leap from the reality circus

Special to The Times

Tiffany POLLARD, also known as New York, came to America’s attention on VH1’s “Flavor of Love.” And “Flavor of Love 2.” And then “I Love New York.” And “I Love New York 2.” Her latest, “New York Goes to Hollywood,” hits VH1 on Aug. 4.

So how is L.A. treating you this time around?

You know what? I love L.A. I lived out here before I became famous or whatever. It’s good to be back. The weather’s perfect every day.

I can shop a lot more than I was able to before. Things are looking good financially. The first time I came out, it was more like play. This time it’s more serious, about me work- ing toward my goal: getting this acting thing going.


How does one become an actress?

You know? For real, it’s a lot of hard work and dedication. I’ve been slacking off, sleeping late. You have to maintain your goals, be fit. I’m practicing cold reads, taking acting classes. It’s a lot of preparation. I have such a lot of respect for actors and actresses. I didn’t know how much went into that career.

Does your reality show history help out there? Or does it hurt?

Honestly, I definitely wanna say, the majority of the time, it helps. Before I walk into the audition, the other people I’m auditioning with recognize me. The casting director recognizes me. I get an advantage. Sometimes I might mess up the read and they let me take it from the top.

This new show sounds like a different iteration from “Flavor of Love.” There’s probably less brawling.

Well! I don’t want to paint this perfect picture now. There’s times when I lose it. When I’m making a transition it’s usually not an easy thing. I don’t like change! I had to make a lot of changes, with my life, on the show, the cameras rolling. I do lose it.

I feel bad when I watch reality TV sometimes.

Uh-huh. You get that feeling like, where do you go from here? That feeling. Because it’s almost like, what’s next? The thing I want people to know the most is before I went on reality TV, I always had a dream to become an actress. What reality TV did to help me was make a name for myself.

You have been on, like, six of them, if one counts “Charm School”?

Oh, my goodness. Wow. Yeah, I been floating around for a while. It just happened so fast! It’s been three years since I been on and off television. Time flies, when you’re making money on TV. I love reality television.

I do too, but I wonder if I like it because I see people acting ways that I keep myself from acting. You know?

OK. Yeah, I do! But those people can be a lesson on how not to act.

Yeah, but then why do I want to watch it?

Because it’s addicting. Like, the same with me, like, I swear, oh, my goodness, I have to stop TiVoing all these reality shows! But I still do it.

What are your favorites?

Right now, I’m not even going to lie to you. I’m so caught up with the move and everything. I have my baby here with me. I haven’t been watching TV.

I remember “Charm School” really vividly. It had a whole subtext, guided by Mo'Nique, both about black self-representation and about being a good young lady, quote-unquote.

Well. You know. There is such a thing as being a good young lady, quote unquote. But you can’t clump everybody into one box. Different women are going through different things in different parts of their life. You might get someone who hates you on the street, but you don’t know what she’s going through in her life. This lady might be hurting! For Mo'Nique to basically paint everyone this one perfect picture, she’s crazy and I want to know what planet she lives on.

Also, you’ve said you’re no one’s role model.

Oh, hell no! I’m the first to admit that I’m a work in progress. I can improve every day. Also in the progress that I make, I can go backwards a few steps. Don’t watch me; do your own thing.

On those shows, did you ever feel like a circus freak?

Honestly, I have to say, ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an actress. Being in front of the camera felt so natural. Only -- I think I did have to get used to being barricaded, locked down in the house, no TV, no cell, no Internet, all that stuff.

That’s what they do before stuff airs?

While we’re shooting, it’s like all those luxuries we don’t think about are taken away from you. It’s not easy.

So I loved “Charm School,” but it was also like sort of conservative. I felt like the message was white America shouldn’t look at black people acting badly.

Oh, yeah. Basically, I feel the same. Like she was trying to give those hints. Making it a white-black issue. But Mo'Nique is crazy! White girls shake their asses too. It’s every race. She’s trying to get down on these girls for how they dress and how they act. I know some crazy white people too! She was trying to make it seem like we were looked down on by white America because we fit the stereotypes. I didn’t agree with the message she put down there. She wasn’t trying to embrace these girls on an individual level. She was doing this broad thing.

How deep is your relationship with VH1?

You know what: I have, of course, such a deep relationship with VH1. This is the network that gave me my voice. They continually treat me like royalty.

I hear from reality stars sometimes that they feel used or burned, but that hasn’t happened, I guess.

No! I tell everybody what happens is, people go on reality shows and regret what they did. But nobody makes you do anything! You’re free to be whatever you are! Then they want to blame the network. That makes no sense.

You are 26. What is 46 going to be like?

Oh, boy: 46. You know what, my goodness, that’s a great number. I see myself making macaroni and cheese, having three babies, two boys and one girl, going on vacations. And definitely still acting. I wanna be active when I’m in my 40s, loving life and doing things.