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|Eve produces her own infectious songs, designs her own cute clothes, and radiates life in her movie roles. In every medium she's always herself. At Terry Richardson's studio, she talks to Ariana Speyer between outfit changes.
ARIANA: Female hip-hop MCs often seem exclusively sexual, but in your music you convey a real multidimensional personality.
EVE: My lyrics always come first I write all my own verses. The styling comes after that.
ARIANA: How much control do you have over how your image is put together?
EVE: I do what I feel like doing. If I want to wear a sweatsuit in a picture, I will. If I want to wear a halter-top and a miniskirt, it's not a huge deal.
ARIANA: You seem comfortable in everything from modified football jerseys to Dolce and Gabbana minidresses.
EVE: I always want to look appealing, but that doesn't mean I have to look sexy all the time.
ARIANA: Along with P. Diddy and Gwen Stefani, you're part of a growing trend performers who work in multiple mediums. You coproduce your own albums, have been in two movies, and there's a TV show on the way. This fall, you're even launching a fashion line, Fetish.
EVE: It is overwhelming at times. Actually, right now I'm supposed to be on vacation. I have a great manager, Troy Carter, and my publicist and lawyers are amazing. It's a team effort. That helps a lot, especially since I'll be recording my next album while the new sitcom is filming. [laughs]
ARIANA: Wow, that's a little crazy. I know Dr. Dre is producing the album.
EVE: Yeah, he's my drill sergeant.
ARIANA: You have some history going back to 1997. Although he's produced individual songs for you, this will be the first time you've worked together on an entire album.
EVE: We're talking about the concept right now, and we've started listening to beats. We're going to push the production on this one. Musically, I want to show some growth.
ARIANA: I tried to buy Eve-olution this weekend and it was sold out everywhere in the city even though it's been out for a year.
EVE: That's hot. I don't keep up on stuff like that. I don't look at my sales. When I go to a record store I never look for my own records. You'll just drive yourself crazy. I can't do it. I'm serious. I just can't.
ARIANA: Do you ever read your own reviews?
EVE: Sometimes. But I don't want to see it if the writer says, "better luck next time."
ARIANA: I've seen you in incredible dresses this year McQueen at the CFDA Awards and Christian Dior at the Metropolitan Costume gala.
EVE: I have a problem! I love clothes. I love shopping. I get headaches when I see things I want. I was in Gucci the other day and saw these thigh-high boots with a bag to match. You have to order them because they're not going to be sold in the US. I put my name on the list. I get sent a lot of free stuff, but I do love to shop.
ARIANA: Is there a designer you're into right now?
EVE: I don't really have a favorite when I go overseas I find so many great things in out-of-the-way places. I was in Japan recently and bought some really cute shirts by an obscure Japanese designer.
ARIANA: What were you doing in Japan?
EVE: I went to the presentation of the MTV Awards because I was nominated in two categories. It was a little weird. We didn't understand what was going on at all we sat in the audience for a couple of segments and had to laugh when the rest of the audience laughed and clap when they clapped.
ARIANA: I heard that Courtney Love was there.
EVE: Yeah, I love Courtney. You can't say nothing bad about her, I swear to god. She just is who she is. She doesn't fake it. She doesn't say things to please you while she's thinking something else. That's what I love about her. Granted, maybe she should keep some things to herself, but she's honest.
ARIANA: Have you spent a lot of time in japan?
EVE: It's one of my favorite places. Hip-hop is so big there. The guys all wear throwbacks sports jerseys and have afros.
ARIANA: They take style very seriously. It's kind of inspiring.
EVE: Completely. The girls look cute, no matter what they're wearing. I took a picture of one Japanese girl just so I could try and copy her hairstyle. She had curled her hair into little spirals, but it was straight at the ends.
ARIANA: You've performed in more than ten countries. I've heard that your experience in Nigeria last year wasn't a happy one.
EVE: Nigeria was eye opening, but I don't think I'll ever go back. I was supposed to perform in Abuja, but I couldn't. A riot broke out at the venue.
ARIANA: There have been some problems in Nigeria when big acts are brooked into small venues. A friend of mine who has spent some time there told me that the police are known to be corrupt.
EVE: I didn't see the riot myself. But my manager, my DJ, and my brother Farrod were on their way to the sound check when people started rocking their car. It was just crazy. The police used tear gas, which drove people to break down the gate to the venue.
ARIANA: Did you have any other problems with the police while you were there?
EVE: The police all carry M-16s. let me tell you, you cannot relax with an M-16 right behind you. It's supposed to make you feel safe, but it doesn't make you feel safe at all.
ARIANA: Lagos is supposed to be a chaotic city. The traffic is terrible. Sometimes people will just abandon their cars and walk, then go back to pick them up later.
EVE: Yeah. After we got off the plane in Lagos, we sat in traffic for bout three hours on the way to the hotel. I don't think I saw a single stoplight. There must have been a thousand people in the streets trying to sell stuff, including women carrying babies on their backs.
ARIANA: Nigeria's a dynamic country, but for a lot of people reality is harsh.
EVE: I mean, we complain about so many stupid things, like having the right pair of shoes. Going to Nigeria definitely made me open my eyes and say, "thank you, god."
ARIANA: In the US, people have very little sense of what's happening in the rest of the world.
EVE: I'm still amazed at the things I see and the people I meet when I travel. There is so much to do in the world, there are so many places you can go.
ARIANA: You recently started a Philadelphia-based foundation called Love Is Blind to aid women and children in difficult situations.
EVE: One of our goals is to organize trips to foreign countries so that urban kids can experience different cultures and meet people from different backgrounds.
ARIANA: You want to let kids know that the whole world is not like America.
EVE: A lot of urban kids believe that the only way out is through music or sports. But that's only because that's all they're introduced to, that's all they see. I want the foundation to give kids options. I want kids to see that there are more than just two ways to make it.
ARIANA: You're from Philadelphia, but now you're living in LA where you're working on your own new TV series.
EVE: I play a designer who owns a company with two other girls, played by Ali Landry and Natalie Desselle-Reid. I'm single and they're always giving me advice. We want to make it kind of like the PG version of Sex and the City.
ARIANA: Is it set in New York?
EVE: it's set in Miami. The wardrobe is great. I want people to tune in just to find out what we're wearing. The show will be a lot of fun. I don't want to make a corny sitcom. I couldn't do that. I'm happy about the show because it means I get to settle down for a while. I haven't stayed in one place for a long time.
ARIANA: You've also finished filming The Woodsman, an indie movie.
EVE: yeah, it's a very dark movie. I've never done anything like it. It stars Kevin Bacon.
ARIANA: He plays a convicted sex offender who's trying to start a new life.
EVE: And I play a coworker who blows the whistle on him. Lee Daniels, who produced Monster's Ball, also produced this movie.
ARIANA: Last year you were in Barbershop. The ensemble comedy, set on Chicago's south side, was a sleeper hit. Were you at all surprised by the response to it?
EVE: I was completely surprised. I'm also very happy that it did so well. A lot of people didn't believe that a so called urban-film could attract that kind of crossover attention.
ARIANA: I loved your character, Terri, who is the only female barber in the shop. She's able to hold her own in this traditional male environment. Terri's war cry is "who stole my apple juice?"
Do people ever ask you if you've found your apple juice?
EVE: People ask me that all the time.
I was just in Hawaii, and someone asked me that in a mall. And when I'm in restaurants people will send me apple juice. I just have to laugh because it's a little crazy.