VIBE Vixen: When did you first feel beautiful?
Evelyn Lozada: Growing up around my family, I always felt I looked different. I started feeling myself when I was probably about 10 or 11. I definitely didn’t feel like an ugly duckling. I wasn’t bullied and nobody tortured me about anything on my body. But I think I started finding myself when I was in high school.
That’s when the confidence kicked in.
Yeah. I lived in a primarily white neighborhood in Queens. But when I moved to the Bronx, it was a little tough because I wasn’t hip. I was a little culture shocked. But by the time I got to eighth grade, I got it together. When I went to high school, I started feeling that security.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
When I’m all natural. I don’t do that a lot because I’m filming.
You’ve never shied away from talking about your daughter, Shaniece. Do you feel you’ve given her the tools to feel beautiful?
I’ve never been one of those parents who tell their children, “Oh, you’re getting fat.” I tell her how beautiful she is every day. I’ve always been very open, talking to her about sex and things she needed to know.
Unlike the public, she personally experienced what you went through with Chad. What was that like?
She has truly been my rock through all of this. She’s been with me since the day of, and for three months, we were together. I was having anxiety, so I slept next to her; we were connected at the hips. She stepped up to do things that I mentally didn’t want to do. Whether it was running errands or whatever, she held it down. I was a little gone because it was traumatic for me.
Of course. But it led to your talk with Iyanla. The timing of it seemed both essential and brilliant.
Because of all the controversy with the show. She was one of the first people to reach out. Granted, I didn’t even want to talk about it, but I had to sit with Iyanla. I knew that even though she was going to be tough with me, she was going to try and figure out why I accepted [Chad's behavior].
People still wonder how much her words changed your life.
I’m still going through the healing process. After I did that interview, I never talked about [the abuse] ever again. But I do reality TV; not talking about it doesn’t make sense. When we started filming [Basketball Wives] again, I started talking about it. I’m very emotional probably every episode because I’m dealing and filming and going through my healing process at the same time.
Folks are anticipating a new Ev on this upcoming season.
I had people saying, “Stay the same. I need to see all that feistiness.” I’m still going to have my little quotes; this is just who Evelyn is. And at the same time, I need to learn to handle certain situations. But if somebody is coming at me, I’m going to protect myself. It’s not like I’m going to be super perfect because I was on Iyanla and now I’m Mother Mary, because that’s not what it is. But at the same time, instead of going from zero to 1,000, let’s really think before we speak and not get physical. I just have to remind myself of that. It’s a daily thing for me because sometimes you’re tested.
And people are watching so much more intently now. That said, do you see yourself ever wholeheartedly loving or caring for Chad again? In such a public way…
We don’t speak. This is best for the both of us right now. But I think that we’ve gotten some kind of closure. I will forever love Chad and care about him and wish him the best. I don’t have one bitter bone in my body about what happened. For me to be able to move on with my life and find love again, I can’t hold on to that baggage. I pray about it every day; I pray for him every day. I hope when he finds whoever he’s with next, he chooses to do things differently.
Since you’ve been able to put that behind you, are you anxious to date again?