My grandmother always told me that there are two sides to every story. But when it comes to Tami Roman, star of VH1’s “Basketball Wives,” there may, in fact, be three. Let’s count them out: there’s the side that the producers of the hit show regularly portray — which is the one that we’re most familiar with. This side shows Roman as a controversial, loud mouth bully. Sound familiar?
Then there’s the second side, which consists of her public response to the harsh portrayals. This typically consists of her conceding that what we’re seeing is, in fact, her, but not the whole story.
But it’s the final side that may be the most compelling. This is the side that never really makes the headlines. It’s the truly personal side of Tami Roman — the never-say-die, quietly passionate side that she’s most proud of. It’s also the side that rolling out got a chance to know intimately during Roman’s exclusive cover shoot and interview. Enjoy.
We have to get this question out of the way. Why did you join “Basketball Wives?”
Well, I watched the first season of “Basketball Wives” and just felt like the things that I was going through weren’t really represented on the show. I had been a basketball wife, and now that I was divorced, things weren’t as golden as they portrayed on the show. I wasn’t eating out and getting manicures every day … and I wasn’t drinking all night, every night. That wasn’t my world, so for me, I felt like my individual story would be valuable.
You’re a television veteran, but were you prepared for the real-time responses and criticisms that celebrities now experience with social media?
When I did the “Real World,” we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, or blogs, so I didn’t really know how people felt about the things that I did, [unless] they took the time to write a fan letter. So social media is very new to me, and it’s something I had to get used to because people will criticize you, judge you and lash out at you. People will feel like that can say anything to you and you’re just supposed to take it. I haven’t always done that because I’m a human being with feelings. So if you hurt me or my loved ones, I’m going to address it accordingly. I realize now that I can’t do that though, I can’t curse out every person who doesn’t like me on Twitter.
Do you feel like the producers have done a good job portraying you?
I think that the producers have done a fantastic job of blowing out of proportion one aspect of my personality. Now I’m not going to say that it’s the editing, and I’m not going to try and blame it on anything else, because Tami will go off on you [laughs] … that is a part of my personality. Whether you like it or not, I’m going to tell you the truth because I feel like everybody should be able to deal with the truth. That way, you can know what you’re dealing with. I’ve always been a big fan of that, of honesty and loyalty. So while what you see on TV is a part of my personality, it’s not all of who I am. I think that the audience who watches “Basketball Wives” is only seeing that aspect of my personality 100 percent magnified. They don’t see me working with my charity, and they didn’t see me when I was a part of corporate America going to work in a business suit every day. And they don’t see me with my mother, or me with my dude. There’s so much about me that you don’t see because that’s not what “Basketball Wives” wants to show.
You said that you are a fan of the truth. Do you ever have problems receiving the truth if it’s not what you want to hear?
I prefer the truth, and anybody that watches “Basketball Wives” knows that is all I asked … just be truthful with me, and if you have an opinion directly about my life, say it to me. Don’t talk behind my back. So whatever you have said, I think that everybody should be woman enough to bring those opinions or concerns to the person directly. When that’s not done, that’s when I really have a problem with you.
The word on the street is that you’re about to become an author. Is that true?
Yes! I’m working on my book, and I will say that several ladies on the show have books coming out … well, all of us except Suzie [laughs]. I know with my situation in particular, everybody knows me from the “Real World” and from “Basketball Wives.” I think that there is so much more to my life that they don’t know about and that they don’t get a chance to see. So I want to really open up myself to people to give a lot of backstory to me, my family, how I was raised, and the things I’m going through or have gone through. Hopefully, someone can read my book, understand my situation, and learn how to get through something similar that they may be going through.
You have always come across as a very strong woman. Do you ever have moments where you feel weak or vulnerable?
Yes, I do all the time. There was a point in my life where we fell on hardships. After years of spending money and living through people, I woke up one day and all of that money was gone. I was at an all-time low … I had to get on food stamps, I had to go get on medical assistance, and I cried a lot. But I realized that I did it to myself by trying to live up to images, and trying to live up to public perception rather than being true to myself. I vowed from that moment on that I didn’t want my daughters to see me this way, and that I was going to do whatever it took to bring us back to the top.
Do you now appreciate each day and value all of your newfound successes?
Absolutely. God made me appreciate the small things. He made me appreciate my daughters; He made me appreciate just having a roof over my head … not a mansion, just a roof. He made me appreciate having clothes on my back no matter who makes it. He really brought me back to a place of love and just having clarity of thought. So I appreciate everything that has come my way and I’m trying to give back.
So how would you use your rediscovered platform to reach, influence and positively impact the world?
Well honestly, I’d love to be doing panels, expos, and things of that nature so I can speak directly to younger girls. I feel like wisdom is the best teacher, and I have been through a lot. That’s why I’m so hopeful that my book will actually come out, because I think people will be like “well damn, you’re still here, and you’re still standing and still fighting.” So I want to be able to use “Basketball Wives” and dilute the imagery that is seen on that show by doing panels, and doing expos so people can see the other side of me. Because I’m not always yelling, and I’m not always fighting … I’m just not always that person, so I would love to be able to mentor youth and give back. That’s the impact that I want to make on society.