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Interview with Gloria Velez with Pictures
6/29/04 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview by Dante

 

Flashback to '99: Ja Rule's video for "Holla Holla" drops, and most fellas can't help but notice the blonde Latina dripping with sexiness in the black pimp hat. Jay Z's Big Pimpin' and a multitude of video appearances follow before the Puerto Rican bombshell decided to actively pursue a career as an artist.

 

Fast forward: Gloria Velez seems to be everywhere right now. One prior mixtape, three more dropping this year, tour appearances, and several jaw-dropping magazine spreads are making an already steamy summer even hotter.

 

Despite her exquisite exterior, one conversation with her and you will find that Gloria still has an everyday quality which reminds you that she's still just a hardworking, single mom. Gloria Velez took a break between tour performances to open up about being a Latina in the rap industry and using obstacles as stepping stones to succeed.

LatinRapper.com: What are working on at the moment?

My second mixtape, which right now is being pressed up, hosted by DJ Envy from Hot 97. I did four new songs with Lil Flip, but I haven't signed with him just yet. The compilation he's doing that I'll be on won't come out until October or November. I'm on tour with Funkmaster flex, his car show, I'm also a host/judge for King (magazine) and him, they are looking for hottest females in the US.

 

I'm also on the 2 Fast 2 Furious tour, it's a hot tour with Ruff Ryders and Flip. I'm on the June/July cover of King, Black Men magazine Spring, June/July, its an eight page spread. Smooth magazine, also a big spread, July/August, and the Source in the August issue. And a lot of local magazines in Florida, I don't do just major magazines.

I'm also doing something with Lazy K the mixtape queen, that drops this month, another one this summer, my mixtape called "Failure is Not an Option". Doing a mixtape with Mami Chula, she's from ATL, she's a DJ out there and a radio personality. Shawna from DTP, Disturbing the Peace with Ludacris, nothing but me and her spitting hard sh*t. She's a Murda Mami also, and she writes her own stuff, This will be the first two female rappers on the same mixtape. I support female rappers.

Making the transition from model to artist can't be an easy one because of fan expectations, do you think that this adds to any pressure that you have to succeed as an artist?

I get that a lot more, like ‘you should stick to acting'. I'm not singing, I'm rapping. They have a feeling that female rappers have to be black. Even when I was a video girl, I didn't do rock videos, I was doing hip hop videos. I crossed the boundary of being a blonde Latina in videos. It was hard for me even being a video girl.

 

But hip hop is not a color, it's a culture, it's a movement. First of all as a woman, they don't respect women period, and as an ARTIST, as a RAPPER, that's a lot worse. And being a video girl, that's three strikes. And being pretty... They don't see a beautiful woman rapping. Not saying other girls rapping aren't pretty. So now I'm getting respect, they see me in the studio, they see me writing.

 

I been rapping for four years, I will find the right deal, but it's a mans world. But being a woman, a LATINA... Big Pun did it, nobody else was really doing it for Latins in hip hop.  

 

You can dress a certain way and be hip hop. So, I can use those strikes to my advantage, covers of magazines, endorsements. Take the good with the bad and use it to my advantage. Its hard, nothing easy in life.


When does your next album drop, and who are you collaborating with?

DJ Envy, then Lazy K, then Mami Chula, then Shawna. Mixtapes are huge, mixtape underground is huge. I'll be rapping by Fall on videos. I just collaborated, me, Game, Snoop and Lil Flip. That should be out this Summer, we all freestyled on Flip's mixtape. Flip, he WORKS, he carries a studio with him on the plane, he drops a mixtape every three weeks. He's so young and focused, it makes me want to work harder.

What's the difference between you and other female artists in general?

Trina talks about straight sex, nothing about personal life or struggles, I cant relate to her wildness. You can be wild once and a while, but you gotta give more to the table. Kim does the same thing. I think a lot of women can relate to me, single mother, women in general. I'm not hating any women, I'm just coming out of a different aspect.

Don't get me wrong, I'm Puerto Rican, I got a temper, my fire comes out too. But my main focus is my struggles and what it took for me to get out here. I can feel Shawna, her delivery. Fox, I can dig her delivery too, even though she don't like me, I like her vocally. When I perform, I dance, I give it to the crowd, I don't just stand there. Not just the way I look, how I sound, I don't think I compare myself to any of them.

 

And I got a story to tell, I think a lot of people can relate to that. And other artists been out for a minute, and they really aint got no story. That's why they don't respect female rappers. I wanna bring it like a male rapper. We as women are more than just shakin' our butts, we're deeper than that, and we don't even show that.

Okay, but you were a video girl though, video girls shake their butts. How can you do that as a video girl but its different as a rapper?

First of all, if you see a white girl in rock videos, they treat them as goddesses, they praise them. But ethnic women, they treat them like hoochies, sluts. In these videos, we don't really WANT these rappers, its acting. That's why I'm so happy that MTV2 came out with Video Honeys, its hard work. Showing a different side to us, having to listen to sh*t from rappers and their entourage.

 

So for us to be perceived as being beyond a video girl, you have to work with twice the heart. Look at Beyonce, half naked, shaking her ass singing. But she's an ARTIST, if she was a video girl, that's wack, that's a hoochie. Cristina, half naked, Ashanti, half naked. But it's okay if you are an artist, but if you are a girl trying to make it in the beginning, they diss you. If you're pretty , you're a stripper or a hoochie.

 

Our ethnic men diss ethnic women. Look at Pam [Anderson], she's not talented, but she used her beauty to make money. They praise her. But they don't do that with Spanish or Black girls, we need to praise our ethnic women. It's sexy to dance, not disgusting. I know I'm not a video hoochie, if they are gonna diss me, so what, I'm gonna prove them wrong every time I come out. I'm not gonna let them put me in a box.

 

You gotta go through trials and tribulations to get a blessing. I think it started a lot better since Video Honeys came out. I'm getting more respect, but it took a minute. I think women as video girls should speak up when they blow up, because they act like they are ashamed of it.

 

Being a video girl gave them exposure to what they are now. You're just in a VIDEO, they make it such a nasty thing, I don't get it. They got half these girls starving themselves, women in movies starving themselves to be skinny.

 

Wait, I've seen the new King magazine pics though, you have a flat tummy.

[Laughs] I'm Puerto Rican, I love my rice, I love my platanos. I don't want to look sick in the face, I would never starve myself. I just work out more and eat a little less. I need energy to play with my son. [Laughs] I wanna be happy, I wanna eat right, and work out, I would never do that to myself.

 

But I love exercising, it relieves at lot of stress, I would never stop that, I think everybody should work out.

 

Are you still modeling or are you strictly focusing on your music at this point?

No, I'm still doing the modeling thing, always, that's the paycheck.  And I love doing it, its exposure, I'm really trying to promote my music too. It's like opening a door, I use that to my advantage. Even if I always do music, I'll always model. I would love to do Mascara commercials, lipstick, L'oreal, it's a plus

Getting away from the music for a moment, when Glory is hanging back at the club and a man wants to approach her, what's the best way for him to do it?

Be a gentleman, please. Just be themselves. I'm real approachable, I say hi to people, I talk to them. Don't do any pick up lines, that's a total turn off. Just be yourself and speak, I'm a nice person, I'm not bourgie. I always take time to talk to fans and friends, I got to because those will be the same people who will turn on you. People don't see you, but when they do, first impressions are a lot.

Sexy is a word often used to describe you, but when are the times that you yourself feel sexy?

When you got your makeup and your hair done, I feel sexy. Even without makeup I feel sexy, If I'm wearing baggy clothes and a tank top, I might feel sexy. If I'm in a bad mood, I might not feel sexy that day, but I feel sexy in anything. Guys don't care if I'm in baggy clothes either, I can wear a baseball cap and people will still recognize me.

Tell us something most people don't know about you.

That Glory cooks and cleans. That I really am a mother... like people can't picture it. I go to school, I go to his events, we eat lunch together, we play video games, I do both the whole mommy and daddy thing.

 

People don't believe that I worked hard to get to where I'm at. People should know, you really gotta work hard to get to where your at. That I'm humble, that I'm spiritual. I'm a nice person [laughs] not no bourgie broad... You know, a lot of things been said about me.

Any last words of advice to the fellas out there looking for Ms. Right?

Don't try too hard, just be themselves. You gotta be the woman's friend first. We need conversation, if there's no conversation, there is no relationship. I can't stand a man that has nothing to say, I'm a conversational person. Be a gentleman, men don't open doors anymore, men aren't romantic anymore.

 

A man that wants to be a family man, and to be spiritual. Without God in your life, the relationship isn't going to work. Nothings perfect, but at least then you're close. And the sex will always come, if you love each other, it will be passionate. I haven't found him yet.....
 

Gloria Velez on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gloriavelez    

 

 

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