Exclusive Interview by Christina Rosas Anastasiou in New York for Latin Heat
I had the opportunity to take a look into the glamorous lives of Julissa Bermudez (106 & Park) and Adrienne Bailon (The Cheetah Girls) — two of America’s sexiest up-and-coming Latina actresses — in the new docu-series Empire Girls: Julissa & Adrienne.
LH: Congrats on your show! Walking around New York, I see you everywhere! How does it feel?
Julissa: Thank you, we’re so excited, we can’t wait; we’re thrilled, we’re anxious, we want everybody to finally see all the hard work that we have been putting into it these last few months of shooting, and it’s all happening!
LH: I have seen you at so many events, and I love that you’re so close, so tell me, what will we expect to see on the show?
Adrienne: Wow! We call ourselves the Latina version of “Laverne and Shirley” because there is definitely going to be a lot of laughs, you see our hustle, our drive, you us at the level of our careers-Julissa who would love to one day be a talk show host and myself you’ll see me working on launching my solo career. You’ll definitely see that side of the business. At the same time, we take you home to our families, you see us in our culture and you see what its like to grow up in New York City- you can literally live vicariously through us if you’ve never been to New York! We say New York is the third character in our show.
LH: It all sounds so exciting! What about the drama, any high drama happening that we should know about?
Julissa: Absolutely! We don’t have drama where we are throwing drinks at each other, but we have drama in other ways. You’ll get to see on the show, how we’re trying to accomplish all of these things and find a balance in our lives-with that comes a level of drama, success and failure, you’ll see of little of everything. That’s what we pride ourselves about the show, it is different than other shows out there right now. The real brand of the show is friendship and when you’ve been friends with someone for so long, you’re going to have disagreements and arguments, but we don’t have any real physical drama that we get into where it gets crazy. We have our families on TV as well and our families don’t know what its like to have cameras in their face-they’re keeping it real and they have no other choice, but to be who they are and with that comes a lot drama and funny moments.
LH: Are you speaking Spanish in a lot of the scenes?
Julissa: Yea, we speak Spanglish! We always joke around with the production company and say that we hope that there is someone in the editing room that speaks Spanish! We speak Spanish with our parents in a lot of the scenes-it flows better in Spanish.
Adrienne: And actually it’s also our “secret language.” When we don’t want anyone else to know what we’re talking about, we talk about it in Spanish!
LH: (Laughs) do you feel you’re the epitome of what a true New York girl is? When Sex and the City was out, I didn’t feel it was realistic. In comparison to what you guys go through everyday, what’s different?
Adrienne: We’re such New Yorkers, its unreal! I mean, I don’t have a driver’s license! I’m such an LES girl (Lower East Side). I believe in the transit system and a taxi cab! (laughs)
LH: (Laughs) Adrienne, what do you do when you’re in LA?
Julissa: Oh my god! What she does, is spends a ton of money on cabs and car services!
LH: That’s funny! Will you get your license Adrienne?
Adrienne: Fingers crossed, at some point, maybe.
Julissa: For us, we have no choice but to be what our background is. I’m from Queens; she’s from the Lower East side. Growing up in these neighborhoods, they’re just in you, they’re embedded in you and it gives you your New York mentality, your Empire state of mind. For us, we will roll up at an event in a taxi cab if its last minute or we’ll jump on the train if it’s faster! We are very much city girls and we carry flats in our bags!
Adrienne: Even, the way we talk and the slang that you hear, it’s just very New York!
LH: Do you feel this is going to enhance both of your careers?
Julissa: Absolutely! Adrienne, for example on the show, you’ll see her in the process of going about her solo career and the things it takes to be a solo artist, after being in girl groups like the Cheetah girls and 3LW. We’re giving girls and women who have wanted a glimpse of what the business is like-your getting to see us audition,you get to see Adrienne record an album and getting ready for performances, you’ll see myself struggling being a Latina with an accent, and wanting to be more mainstream and what it entails. We hope that people will relate to us more than anything else and obviously we’ll have more eyeballs on us, so people will get a sense of coming along with us on this journey. And hopefully we accomplish what we set out to do on the show.
LH: You do everything together, red carpets, etc., are you sick of each other yet?
Adrienne: No, I feel like its being with yourself, at some point, we do our own thing, and it’s like being alone, like being the other half of you. (laughs)
LH: (Laughs) Julissa, in the promo, you say you’re happy to be back in New York, where did you go?
Julissa: I was in LA, and decided to move to try it out. I didn’t have a car-that was very New York of me! I was there for a good year and a half.
Adrienne: She was a traitor! She went to LA to try to be Hollywood!
Julissa: New York has kept me busy. The goal is to be bicoastal. I wanted to see what LA was all about, you see Hollywood on TV and I wanted to experience that at some point. Adrienne missed me so much I had to come back!
LH: Adrienne, in the promo you say that fans still see you as Rob Kardashian’s girlfriend? Maybe its fate, do you think that you may end up getting back together?
Adrienne: I highly doubt it.
LH: Both you of have a great sense of fashion and style, any chance you guys will have your own lines?
Julissa: Adrienne is collaborating with a designer who’s getting a lot of buzz.
Adrienne: You’ll see it on the show, but I’ll be working with LaQuan Smith.
LH: Love him! do you both want to crossover into the Spanish market? Adrienne, I know you recorded a track with Prince Royce and Daddy Yankee. As Latinas, do you feel more empowered than some of your other peers?
Julissa: I started in the Latin market. I started on Mun2 and Telemundo International which is more for this generation. We embrace our culture so much and yes, I would love to do more in Spanish and host in Spanish.
LH: Do you have any love prospects yet that we’ll see on the show?
Julissa: We are so single, it’s pathetic! You’ll see our love lives, or the lack of, I should say! I do more dating on the show. Adrienne-I’m trying to get her on board and for her to give love one last chance. Everybody else around us is going on with the next chapter of their lives, Adrienne’s sister just got married and had a baby and we’re going to be left behind-two lonely single girls that have each other if we don’t get it together!
LH: I love the premise that you’re going to do this under 30?
Julissa: We turn 30 in a year and a half! We got a lot of work to do!
LH: We’ll help you get yourself out there, I’ll think of someone for you.
Julissa: Great, send them my way!
LH: Adrienne, Ne Yo is your mentor, what is the best advice he’s given to you so far? And Julissa who would you consider as your mentor?
Adrienne: My biggest mentor is Angie Martinez, she’s in radio in New York. The best advice she ever gave me was be who I am, be myself and everything that is supposed to work itself out, will work itself out as long as I stay true to myself.
Julissa: I honestly get inspired and motivated by a lot of the other Latinas in this business who are doing their thing, especially Dominican- Zoe Saldana; she’s so kind and nice every time we see her, and Dania Ramirez. I get inspired by them and the things they’ve been able to do in this business.
LH: Will you be on Twitter chatting it up with your fans when the shows air?
Julissa and Adrienne: Yes, absolutely!
Do you think Twitter helps you as far as branding and the control you have when it comes to your image?
Adrienne: We use it to set rumors straight.
LH: Any last words of advice for other Empire girls on their hustle trying to make it?
Adrienne: You know, we always tell them to put themselves out there. Right now, we live in the world of social media where people are looking for new talent; there is Youtube, American idol, they’re always scouting new talent. You can really put yourselves out there!
Catch Empire Girls Sundays on The Style Network (9-10 p.m. ET); Series premiere: June 3.
Follow the girls @AdrienneBailon and @JulissaB on Twitter.