Before the debut of Flavor of Love, reality TV took itself very seriously. People weren’t leaning into the heightened parts of their personality like Tiffany “New York” Pollard, who undoubtedly paved the way for many fan faves, like Tami Roman and Joseline Hernandez, to be their authentic selves on our screens every season. It’s been said before, and it will be said again: Pollard deserves her flowers for the part she played in reality TV history.
She’s recently returned to her regularly scheduled programming with season 2 of her digital series Brunch with Tiffany, which debuted October 8 on VH1’s YouTube Channel. Ahead, New York talks about how she’s spent her time in between reality hits like New York Goes to Work, Celebrity Big Brother UK and her multiple monikers like New York and The HBIC. The following interview was told to Raven Baker and edited for length and clarity.
I am THE original HBIC. I do appearances all over the country, and they want to hear me call myself the HBIC, so I'm still going to rock with that. I made that one up, but I like to say I'm the original because there's a lot of other women that want to call themselves the HBIC and I'm totally fine with that. Honestly, I don't hem and haw over the names. If people want to call me Tiffany, that's perfect. If people want to call me New York, that's just as fine because there's a nostalgia and there's an embrace that I will always have for that name. Truth be told that name helped me get to where I am today.
I think it’s so funny that a lot of people wonder where I’ve been [since the last season of New York Goes To Hollywood] but I've never stopped working. I’m always doing gigs or hosting or doing appearances or working loosely on other projects.
But to be clear: I never really, really, really went away.
When I began reality, I feel like I bought a certain type of energy that now we tend to contrive when we think about television. I think television used to be very stuffy, very, “I have to look perfect, be perfect and have the perfect answer.” I think when I stepped on the scene, I released a lot of that type of tension. It was like, You know what? Forget that. This is a reality show for me. It's okay to be yourself. Cry if you feel it! If you don't have the perfect answer, it's okay to say "I don't know." So it was taking a lot of the stuffiness out of what we used to [think] television was. That's how I approached reality and it worked for me. It later worked for a lot of other people too.
But it's funny because I don't really pursue and push really hard for the reality stuff. I'm not going to lie, I turn down reality shows if I feel like it's redundant, something I've done before, or something that just doesn't fit my image right now. But to be clear: I never really, really, really went away.
I'm truly a homebody. I still like to visit my family. I love to cook. I've always had this thing with myself where I'm like, "Tiff, you can't remove the things that you loved before you were on television." A lot of people don't know this, [but] when I first got recognized, I suffered anxiety from people coming up to me because I wasn't ready for that much fame all at once. For me, it was very important to still maintain a normal lifestyle. I'm always going to have that integrated into my life no matter what I do or no matter how big I get.
And while all of that is very true, it feels amazing to come back with season 2 for it to be at VH1. I feel like season 2 felt so natural in comparison to season 1 when I was learning the ropes. And that now I have arrived, I really know how to host and conduct an interview correctly.
My favorite part of the Brunch With Tiffany is when I would greet the guest and there was that initial, “I don't know what to expect from you.” But then there's this organic thing that occurs when they give me their trust and I give them my undivided attention. You see this magic start to happen in the interview where we almost feel like we've known each other for the longest [time]. I noticed that with every person that has come on the show, and it was just like this thing where I started to fall in love. I'm like, “Oh my goodness, I'm hooked.”
I love that the youth knows who I am because of social media. I can't believe it when I see them use gifs of me on Flavor of Love. It's so surreal because that show was over 11 years ago. It keeps me current and the youth respect me. I’m constantly like “Wow, they want to see more of me,” and it's an amazing feeling.
Out of them all, “Bye Pumpkin” is my favorite New York meme. I remembered that moment and that was the hardest thing I've ever lived through in my life. I can remember it like it was yesterday when I see that particular meme. That one is etched into my mind forever. I could be 80 years old, and I'll still remember that moment for the rest of my life.
Looking ahead for New York in 2020, I have a few reality programs coming out that I'll be featured in. I get into motivational speaking as well, so you'll see me do more of that in 2020, for sure. But what I also ultimately love to do is “Brunch with Tiffany.” It’s definitely the right place for my energy right now. I love to host and I also love to conduct interviews because I'm not really big into the doctored thing.
Every single guest that came on my platform to have brunch with me, there was a mutual respect because I didn't make anything up. They were there to tell their side of the story, and I think, personally, that's how all interviews should be conducted. I like to get the information straight from the horse's mouth.