It’s Ms. Brooke-y baby! And public scrutiny and criticism can’t hold this Baltimore native of BET’s Harlem Heights down. In fact, after her well-known break-up with Grammy-winning and platinum recording artist Kanye West, she kept it moving, determined to conquer the world in film and television-a goal she’s always had. In addition to joining the cast of Harlem Heights, a reality show that showcases the lives of young Harlemites and their climb to the top of their chosen careers, helping to usher in a new breed of young, Black professionals, she has a successful career as a Producer of MTV’s True Life. Originally hit-up for her ideas, she was presented with an opportunity to step from behind the camera. Brooke saw it as a chance to show the world that she holds titles other than that of the ex-arm candy of Kanye West. While conversing with the Keri Hilson look alike, it turns out that any rumors of her being a gold digging diva are just that. With the philosophy that every woman should have her own, “gold digger” just doesn’t fit this clutchette. Just in from vacationing in beautiful Bangkok, Thailand, Brooke came back to meeting after meeting and interview after interview of which Clutch was one. She sounded fresh and enthusiastic as she talked about the afterlife-life after the big break-up, life in reality land and her future plans in real time.
Clutch: So Brooke how’s life in front of the camera, and would you do reality T.V. again?
Brooke Jasmyn: I work for Viacom and BET is one of our channels. It can be weird seeing posters of yourself by the elevator or by the cafeteria at work. People are recognizing me on the street and I’m signing autographs. It’s also interesting to have people know what’s going on in your life and ask how Christian is doing. It’s fun. I would definitely do it again.
Clutch: How do you feel about the overall reception of the show? Some love it, but there are some who feel the show was scripted.
Brooke Jasmyn: I filmed all of the scenes, but all of the footage didn’t make it to the show. People are entitled to feel what they feel. What I’ve learned to do is to just create a positive space and entertain the positive thinker. I do that through my Facebook group and Facebook page. I also get out and really talk to people, do interviews and things of that nature. I feel that if a positive person tells a friend who thinks negatively about me, they’re more likely to change their minds than if I came out and was like, “no you were wrong, this is what it is.” So I try not to spend time justifying myself.
Clutch: You seem pretty secure in who you are. You do you with no apology. Did you catch any heat about the dress you wore to the premiere of Harlem Heights?
Brooke Jasmyn: OMG, Yes! But the funny thing is if you notice, I never dress promiscuously. I never show a lot of cleavage or wear stuff that’s really tight. So for the premiere, I was just like you know, this is the first time in my life where I’m being honored for something I did. It’s not about being someone’s girlfriend or someone’s daughter, it was my time of accomplishment and I’m going to get into character. I mean I had teal, purple and blond hair too. I was having fun. People have worn worse. People have worn clothes that covered them up and still got the same amount of flack. I remember Jennifer Hudson got slammed for a little jacket that she wore to an event. I had fun in my dress. I did catch a lot of heat for it, but my boyfriend liked it, my mom liked it and I enjoyed it.
Clutch: So who are you favorite designers?
Brooke Jasmyn: The thing about me is that I’m not really a label whore. I just like clothes in general. I do a lot of vintage shopping, and I tend to spend my money on denim. I like really good jeans and I get mine from Atrium. I also like Nicole Miller and Patricia Fields, but I’m all over the place. I really don’t have a favorite.
Clutch: Are there any indie designers you like that the world might be sleeping on?
Brook Jasmyn: Buddhist Punk definitely has great, fun stuff!
“What I’ve learned to do is create a positive space and entertain the positive thinker.”
Clutch: Obviously you’re a smart, successful, young Black woman who is not easily fazed. Before Harlem Heights, how did you deal with mostly being known for your relationship and break-up with Kanye West?
Brooke Jasmyn: My whole intention for doing Harlem Heights was to really move away from that association. I was just really about getting my own and having people get to know me for the things that I’ve accomplished. I knew that I would have to entertain my break-up with Kanye for awhile because obviously people are seeing me for the first time since that situation. I’m hoping that from here on out, if Harlem Heights does get a season two, when people talk about me, it’s about things I’ve actually done. As you can see, I’m very nonchalant about it. I think other people care about it more than I.
Clutch: You used to go by Brooke Crittendon, why the change to Brooke Jasmyn?
Brooke Jasmyn: If you Google Brooke Crittendon, that’s not where I want people to start to get to know me you know? I was not really responsible for a lot of the images and things that were written about me.
Clutch: What’s after Harlem Heights? What new projects can we get excited about?
Brooke Jasmyn: Briana and I are penning a book, a sequel to Harlem Heights. I’m also planning to leave corporate America and take a chance on some ideas and other talents that I have. I’d like to get involved with being a correspondent or host, so I’m going to try to take that road. I’m open though.
Clutch: What advice can you offer to recent graduates who are finding it hard to knock down barriers, and get in to their chosen fields in this economy?
Brooke Jasmyn: The sooner you know what you want to do the better. Today, there’s more than one way to reach your goals. It used to be you would go to college, learn something, get a degree, graduate and then get a job in that field. But now, people have to be more open to reaching the same goal more than one way. You have to have a couple of things going just to stay afloat, especially in a city like New York. Take into account that you might have to do a few things before you get to where you’re trying to go.
Clutch: What must-haves are you carrying in your clutch right now?
Brooke Jasmyn: My Blackberry, iPhone, money, my car keys, house keys, my Chanel red lipstick, a little MAC and white eyeliner.
Photo Credits: BET