Karrine Comes Clean

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When I first interviewed her a couple of years ago, Karrine Steffans was making the transition from Hip-Hop ho to legitimate Hollywood actress. She was then enjoying her big screen debut as Larenz Tate’s wife in A Man Apart, an action-adventure flick starring Vin Diesel. During that tame tete-a-tete, she never let on about the sordid, suicidal, sexually-depraved, alcohol and drug-addicted life she had been leading, despite being a single-mom. Nor did she discuss bottoming-out after an overdose which left her broke, blacklisted and living in a car with her little boy.

Because Karrine was such a shameless name-dropper, I distinctly remember repeatedly asking her about all of her famous friends. But every inquiry led to a very dull dead-end. Now, she has just published a tell-all autobiography, Confessions of a Video Vixen, which sits high atop most best seller lists. In it, she admits to sleeping with Puff Daddy, DMX, Xzibit, Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Doctor Dre, Ice-T, Bobby Brown, Usher, Shaquille O’Neal and Vin Diesel, to name a few. So, I figured it was high time I track Karrine down again to find out why she lied to me the first go-round. Furthermore, I needed to get the lowdown on what life in the fast lane had been like for this naughty girl affectionately referred to as “Superhead� by the gangsta rappers and the rest of the long list of famous lovers who shared her bed.

BSN: Why were you so very tight-lipped about the nature of your relationships with all the celebrities you knew the first time we spoke?

KS: Well, that wasn’t the appropriate time. We were talking about A Man Apart. Everything has its own time and space. And there are some people that I mention in Confessions, and some that I still didn’t.   

BSN: Yeah, like in the book, you hid the identity of a very famous lover of yours you called Papa. Care to share his name now? 

KS: I’m still not going to tell you.

BSN: Why not, when you’ve confessed to sleeping with so many others?

KS: At this point it’s inappropriate, because of a promise I made to him that he would remain anonymous.

BSN: How about a hint?

KS: What I will say for my readers is that Confessions has a really big clue about who he is.

BSN: What has been the reaction of the lovers you did name to the book?

KS: There’s been no reaction. The celebrities named in the book are fine. It’s kind of surprised me that people find what I said so amazing, because people who are inside of the industry know all the stuff that I could’ve said.

BSN: But let’s take someone like Ja Rule, who has a wife and kids. I would imagine that he might be very upset.

KS: I’m sure it’s uncomfortable. But, no, he’s not upset. This is not news to him, or his wife, or his family. It’s not like his wife just found out. She knows her husband and that I was not the only girl. He had hundreds at that time, and I’m sure thousands over the years as he traveled the world. So, it’s not like anyone’s surprised, even if it’s uncomfortable. 

BSN: Do you have any misgivings about tarnishing the image of so many icons?

KS: I’m surprised that people think they’re important. To me they’re not. They’re just people you run across. The names I gave away in Vixen are throwaway names. They’re nobodies compared to who else I have in my phone book.

BSN: Like who?

KS: There are some people who are very powerful who I will never name, because I want to be able to work in this town when I’m done. That’s why it’s easy to give you throwaway names like Jay-Z. I’m not in the music business. I don’t work for Def Jam.

BSN: So, you see Jay-Z as a nobody?

KS: Not that he’s a nobody, just nobody special.

BSN: Did you mean to imply that Puff Daddy, I mean, Diddy and Xzibit are gay when you mentioned their taking you to a gay nightclub?

KS: I’m not implying anything. That was an experience of mine. I’m just saying what happened and what was said. Any conclusions would have to be drawn by the readers. 

BSN: Did you really sleep with Vin Diesel? I’ve interviewed him several times, and he’s always sounded like such a gentleman. He even told me he wasn’t a womanizer, but that he was saving himself for the right woman.

KS: [laughs] Really? That’s a load of [expletive]. He wasn’t saving himself when I was with him. It bothers me that people find it necessary to paint pictures. Truth and honesty is my thing. 

BSN: I’m gonna ask him about you the next time I speak to him. Why did you put so many sexy photos of yourself scantily-clad in the book, if you’ve put that lifestyle behind you?

KS: I’m not uncomfortable about anything I’ve put in the book. It’s just the truth. Those pictures are fine. They’re pictures from my past, of things that I have done with people I have known. They’re from stages of my life, and all of that is relevant to this book. 

BSN: The nicest picture is the one of you and your son, Naiim. Was he scarred by all the two of you went through? How is he doing?

KS: All these things happened a long time ago. My son is seven, and he doesn’t remember any of that stuff. For the last four years, he’s spent every day with me. Thankfully, I got my wild ways over with while he was still basically a newborn. He was two and three years-old. 

BSN: Is there any truth to the rumor that you’re now dating Bill Maher of Politically Incorrect?

KS: Absolutely.

BSN: How is that relationship?

KS: Wonderful! It’s the best I’ve ever had?

BSN: Does he have a good relationship with your son, too?

KS: Nope. They don’t have one. They don’t need one. It’s unnecessary. Why would I introduce my son to a man I’ve only known for four months, no matter how great the relationship is. If Bill and I are together half a year, maybe I’ll consider it. But even then, it’s still dating. There’s no need for them to meet each other.

BSN: So, does your son then have a relationship with that rapper who’s his biological father?

KS: They don’t have a relationship. They don’t know each other. They never have.

BSN: Do you consider yourself totally through with that self-destructive lifestyle?

KS: I haven’t spoken to any of those people, for the most part, for over four years. There are some I’m still cool with. We’ll see each other and speak, say, “How you doin’?� and keep going.

BSN: What enabled you to move on from playing the party girl?

KS: Most people grow. The person you’re reading about in that book is 21. I’m 27 now. You would hope that I would grow and expand and change just from the natural progression of life. And that’s what I’ve done.

BSN: Why kiss and tell?

KS: It was easy for me to write about it, because I’m so far removed from that character. The person I was in that book was a character. She’s not even who I am today. People who know me, recognize a definite difference in my poise and in my personality, because I’ve grown.

BSN: I agree you don’t sound like the same person, but maybe you had drug problems when I spoke to you.

KS: At that time, no. I was already out of that lifestyle by the time I talked to you.  

BSN: Have you burned too many bridges to return to acting? 

KS: No, I have no interest in it at all. It doesn’t move me whatsoever.

BSN: Why not?

KS: Because I’m a power fanatic. I like to own things, and have them be mine. Acting doesn’t belong to you, if you’re not the writer or the director. 

BSN: So, what will you work on next, then?

KS: The movie version of this book. They’re bidding on the rights to it right now. 

BSN: You recently had a tiff with Tyra Banks during the taping of her new talk show. Do you care to share your side of it?

KS: There are a few things that tend to infuriate me. One is ignorance, because I have become accustomed to speaking to very intelligent people like Gore Vidal and Al Franken on a regular basis, since dating Bill Maher. Therefore, when I’m in an interview with someone who is not intelligent, but flat-out ignorant, idiotic and stupid, or just an ass, it really gives me a headache.

BSN: So, how do you deal with jerks like that?

KS: I’ve walked out on interviews, when they’re so beneath me and what I’m trying to say. And then there are people like Tyra who are hypocrites. Women especially, who have slept their way through their whole careers. And it’s not a secret within the Hollywood circle. 

BSN: So, Tyra’s been around the block.

KS: I’ve always heard about it from men we’ve both slept with.

BSN: I’d think that the two of you should have had a great conversation in that case, swapping stories.

KS: No, not 15 years later, now that she has her own talk show where she’s well-groomed, all made up, and has on a $5,000 wig. Don’t get me wrong, Tyra’s done well for herself. You have to applaud her for all that she’s achieved, coming from that model world, and expanding, which is wonderful. But let’s not pretend that you haven’t done some of the people and things that I’ve done. 

BSN: So, Tyra didn’t want to ‘fess up?

KS: Anyone in that position, in an interviewer’s position, to do it well, should always remain objective. That’s part of the job.

BSN: So, you feel that she attacked you instead of interviewing you?

KS: When someone talks to me, and they’re personally attacking me, because there’s someone in my book that she’s been with, because of the people that she’s slept with that we have in common. When you’re making me seem like the bad one, like only I’ve slept around, like only I’ve dated famous people, then I find it necessary to say what you’ve done. We should just be honest.  

BSN: So, she made it personal?

KS:  Yeah, and then I felt the need to get personal back.

BSN: So, are you saying Tyra slept her way to the top? 

KS: I have a list of names of people that’ she’s been with, including women. Let’s not go there, because I am the truth-teller. And I’ll tell it all. So, hopefully, she realizes that now, and she’ll stay clear out of my way.  

BSN: Do you hope your book will warn young girls of the sexual exploitation, drugs and other pitfalls of appearing in gangsta’ videos which await them when they arrive in Hollywood.

KS: Yes, that’s what’s happening. Girls are getting it. They’re understanding that the life they thought existed in Hollywood doesn’t really exist. It just doesn’t. I’m not just saying that because my past is a little skewed and I had a hard time. Even now that my life is great, and I’m way better off physically, financially and emotionally, I can still look at it and say, this place is such bull-[expletivie]! And it is.

BSN: Where do you go from here, professionally?

KS: I’m just going to continue what I’ve been doing, which is writing. The next book is the paperback version of Confessions, which will have more information. Then, I’m writing a novel for next summer, I believe.  And I’ll continue to write. I already started a book on relationships, on being a woman, and how we mess up our relationships trying to be too independent. I am a writer. Video Vixen was not a fluke. This is what I do, and it’s my job now.  

BSN: Well, thanks for giving me an honest interview this time.

KS: Thanks, Kam. I appreciate it.

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