CocoFab.com caught up with Love & Hip-Hop star Winter Ramos to chat about her forthcoming tell-all book, her past business and romantic relationships with men in the entertainment industry and why she’s all about female empowerment. We haven’t see much of her on Love & Hip-Hop just yet but she definitely has a lot to say—and it’s juicy.
There was such a brief introduction of you on the show but I feel like we didn’t really get a sense of who you are, so please give us some of your background.
[Laughs]. That intro was so not what I expected. I lived in Brooklyn. I came up with Big and the guys from Junior Mafia and Puff and that bunch. And seeing that I decided that that was something that I wanted to do as far as being in the music industry but I just didn’t know what. And then I started doing styling. I met a girl that was styling for Foxy Brown at the time and she got me as her assistant. I was hanging out at Def Jam and I ran the head of marketing at Murder Inc. and so I started styling for Rule and Irv and Ashanti. Then I just chilled for a little while because the styling thing isn’t consistent work and I got a call one day from Fab’s manager who I knew from back in Brooklyn and he asked if I would help to be his assistant. It was supposed to be something temporary but I ended up stuck there with them for like three years. It was a great experience and then after that I moved to Miami for a little while, and I started working at Slip N Slide and I became the assistant to Ted Lucas, who was the CEO of Slip N Slide. From there they didn’t do too much as far as music because they lost Trina and Plies, and nothing was going on there so I left there and got a job with Flavor Unit doing costume design which was the next step from wardrobe as far as music videos, so for me it was a blessing. It was something that fell in my lap. One of the guys from Murder Inc. that was managing Ja Rule built a relationship with Shakim [Compere] and he became one of the producers at Flavor Unit when they started their production company, and he just hit me up like, “We’re in Miami we need wardrobe, what do you want to do? And I was like, “Let’s go for it,” so that’s what I do now.
And now you’re on Love and Hip Hop. I know you were familiar with the show but did you watch it beforehand?
I was the one who introduced Chrissy and Emily. When I first heard about the show I thought it was a great idea, especially for Emily, to give her something to do as far as her career. And for Chrissy as well, because I know she always wanted to do something else and this now was her outlet. I used to hang out with Chrissy when they were filming the [original] Joneses, so I knew this was something in the works from way before Love and Hip Hop came to life so it was cool to see that baby come to life.
One of the big things about your storyline is your book. Should it be considered a tell all?
When people say “tell all,” everyone panics because they’re like, “Oh, you putting people’s business out there because they hear tell all. But yeah, it’s a tell all. It’s about all what I went through. It’s my business and I’m entitled to put it in the book. And it’s not just about sexual relationships and bragging about I slept with this guy, it’s kind of something for young ladies to read coming up in the industry. When you’re 13/14 watching Love and Hip Hop, or and you’re like, man I want to be a part of that but damn all I can do is be a part of the video or be a sex symbol or show my ass on Instagram or be a girlfriend. There are other things you can do. You can actually work. You can be the head of marketing, you can be the head of radio promotions you can be the general manager at a label, you can be an assistant—there are a lot of job opportunities for women where you can work. And in the process, if you want to date these guys—I’m just saying what that comes with, so it’s more so my story and I don’t want anyone to think that I’m trying to brag about being a slut, because that’s not the case. If you work in an environment—and I’ve been working in hip-hop since ’97—of course I’m gonna date these guys. I’m always around. I’m always in the studio or at the label. I’m a nice looking young lady, they’re gonna try to talk.
Why do you think people get so uptight when they hear that anybody has a book coming out about their industry experiences?
Because Superhead put a bad taste in everyone’s mouth when it came to that. For me, I think her story tried to embarrass people. Maybe she was trying to tell her story but in the process there were things that she said that was embarrassing and it was like, “No she didn’t!” so I think that was it. But if you read the book you can see that she went through a lot and all of that stuff taught her. I don’t regret anything that I did but there are things that I did that I should have done differently, and I feel like it’s not what I did it’s am I continuing to do it.
You credited Jadakiss with giving you the idea to write the book. Did you date him too?
Back in the 90s when I was in college we were in a relationship, and we remained friends throughout the years as we got older. I’ve seen him come from sharing a room with five guys to now having his own suite and his own tour bus. I’m very proud of him and vice versa. He saw me in college tying to figure out what I want to do with my life to now becoming a grown woman. I live in Miami now. And he was in Miami one weekend and we met up and I just confided in him that I interviewed with Mona about Love and Hip Hop and he was like, “Yes, do it! Oh, my gosh we’re gonna write a book, we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna get nail polish, we’re gonna get endorsements,” and I was like, I don’t know about all that because at first my initial interview with Mona was for Love and Hip Hop Miami and I did it as a favor to a girlfriend of mine who was doing PR for Mona. I had hired her to help me on a movie set and while she was on set she was like, “Girl, I gotta find girls for Mona to meet,” and this happened around the time when Chrissy had the issue with Yandy. Mona and them were there and they were interviewing for girls. And all the girls in Miami they were like, “Oh no.” They could only get girls that were in videos or the groupies around the time because that’s what Miami fills with. The wives of E Class and Ted Lucas—those girls aren’t doing that. They’re comfortable with what they have going on and they’re not willing to put their business out there like that. So. I did it. When I sat with Mona and they heard my relationship with Fab and Emily and Chrissy she was like, “Oh my god I need you.” So, it wasn’t anything that I was even interested in. I could have called Emily from season one and said I want to be a part of this. Emily and I have a great relationship. It wouldn’t have been Teairra Mari. It would have been Winter. But I want interested, so when he put the battery in my back it was like maybe this is something I can do and I went ahead and did it. It turned out great from me but as you read the book you’ll see how Jadakiss went from super excited about me doing the show to don’t do it with no explanation. Just a text message. This is me going through negotiations with lawyers and conversing with him about it like they want me to move to New York, and going back and forth with him having hour long conversations about this. And on the day I went to sign, I told him I’m on my way to the lawyer’s office and he texted me back like, “Don’t do it.” He didn’t answer his phone, he didn’t hit me back and say nothing, it was just, “Don’t do it.”
What can people expect from you for the rest of the season and would you do it again?
I would definitely do it again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they do this in Miami because I’m over New York, [laughs]. I’m hoping that we can flip this some kind of way in Miami but I would definitely do it again. I love Mona. I look up to her as a businesswoman in the music industry. There’s no bad blood between me and the other girls on the cast. That’s probably why you haven’t seen me yet because I haven’t thrown a drink but I’m all about empowerment in the music industry. I’ve been around for so long it’s like if we don’t stick together or we’re jealous of each other or we hate on each other it just gets to the point where we can never unite and that’s wrong. If Erica puts lipstick out—and I don’t even wear lipstick—but I’m gonna get it. Tahiry shot a music video. I spent 13 hours on the video set with my girls just to make sure she was ok. I didn’t get paid. I feel like it’s vey important that we support each other as far as women, and I want to make sure that young women see that you don’t have to throw a drink or you don’t have to act crazy in the street to be successful in this industry.