Get Close ... with Aubrey O’Day
by Scott Kearnan
| June 29, 2012
Photo: TREVOR RAINS
Boston sports fans know what it’s like to come this close to a title, only to have it snatched away. So does singer — and devout Boston Celtics fan — Aubrey O’Day. O’Day, who rose to fame as Diddy’s protégée on Making the Band as part of girl group Danity Kane, was an odds-on favorite to win this year’s Celebrity Apprentice season. But she placed an unexpected third, getting fired because her fiery attitude didn’t sit well with Donald Trump. (Nor did it with the ultimate winner, Arsenio Hall, O’Day’s frequent verbal-jousting partner on the show; the two haven’t spoken since.)
But O’Day is already on to the next thing: April saw the release of her power-pop single “Wrecking Ball,” a taste of her upcoming album. And the hardcore Celtics fan — who once modeled for a photo shoot covered only by green paint and a strategically placed basketball — was a fixture at playoff games. We caught up with O’Day while she cheered courtside, partied at the Greatest Bar and GEM, and popped by a Boston Pride event at the Emerald Lounge.
Have any good-luck rituals during Celtics games? I always wear my green Hanky Panky underwear. I have to keep washing them over and over. I don’t know why I haven’t bought extra pairs at this point. But that’s how you know it’s playoffs: my assistant is constantly washing green thongs.
You’re from California. How’d you become such a Celtics fan? I fell in love with basketball through the Celtics when I moved to the East Coast. There was something about Celtics fans. I’d never seen fans who loved basketball more. There’s such a camaraderie with the team and passion for the athletes. And I have such respect for a team that plays like a team.
Speaking of team players, one article called you the most “polarizing” contestant in Celebrity Apprentice history. Unfair? I am polarizing. But you know what? So is Donald Trump. So is Diddy. So are all the successful people I’ve ever worked for. To be a success, you have to stand out. If you were watching a man on that show and he behaved the same way I did, you’d respect him. You’d want him to win. You’d appreciate every move he makes and think he has a strong business mind. When it’s a woman, they call her a bitch or terms that have historically been used to keep people in their place. I played it smart and with confidence, I knew my value, and I made sure everyone knew what was on my mind.
How’d “Wrecking Ball” come about? I wanted to bring back the old-school pop feeling, where it’s not all about the way a track bumps in clubs, and really force myself to sing. I love that the song is about taking ownership of a relationship. There are so many songs about breaking up and hurting. This song represents someone who is able to destroy a relationship that is unhealthy. I like that message.
Would you do another reality show like Oxygen’s All About Aubrey ? I’d revisit it with a better network and more completed thought. I like projects that are indicative of me as a woman and what I’m learning at the time. I’ve grown up on television, starting with little 18-year-old Aubrey on Making the Band. I did Celebrity Apprentice to see what kind of business woman I was, where I couldn’t depend on my looks. I went through a phase, like with Playboy, where I almost grew to depend on looks in an unhealthy way. Celebrity Apprentice was getting back on track. I even dyed my hair red to get away from that whole blonde-sex-kitten thing.
You competed for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network on The Celebrity Apprentice , and you stopped by a GLAAD fundraiser in Boston. Do you have a lot of gay fans? I was always exposed to the community. I have a very liberal mother; she’s an entertainment lawyer and marched on the front line for women’s rights. I don’t believe in judging or limiting anyone’s lifestyle. That’s made me lovable in the gay world. I’m also super fashionable, gorgeous, and fierce. But I fight for what’s right, including equal marriage. . . . And this sounds silly, but when they picked Arsenio, a man who called a woman a [expletive], slut, and whore on the show, I understood what it was like to have everyone just smile in your face about acceptance. . . . I said to GLSEN, I wanted you guys to take a stand against everything Arsenio said. For every boy sitting in a sandbox scared to be gay, there’s a girl about to be called a slut.