TV personality and radio host Free -- formerly of BET's "106 & Park" -- chats exclusively with Niteside about joining the Big Tigger Morning Show and her love for D.C..
You've been in the District about a month now as the newest addition to the Big Tigger Morning Show -- how's the transition been?
D.C. is the perfect mix of city and country so I absolutely love it. There's always something to do; I love the overall upwardly mobile attitude.
Where are your favorite nightspots to hang?
I've only checked out a few like Bar 7 and the Park at Fourteenth. Can't wait to explore more in the coming months, but D.C. knows how to party!
How exactly did you end up on the Big Tigger Morning Show?
I was actually approached about being a part of the show a while ago, but I had just lost my mom so the timing was off. However, this year, everything just kind of fell into place and it worked out. Tigger was my mentor when I started at BET [and] he really help me with the transition to television, so it's been a natural fit to work with him.
When you were growing up, did you set your sights on being in the entertainment field?
Actually no. Growing up, I was a dancer and in singing groups. Really, I just wanted to be an artist, but that didn't work out [so] I started focusing on being a host and making that my entity. When I was 14 years old I actually interned at a radio station and the same guy who gave me that opportunity saw me years later and helped me get on BET. You never know the impression you're leaving on someone, so whatever you do, whether it's getting coffee, your regular 9-5 or anything, be great at it!
Are you still passionate about music? If someone offered you a record deal today, would you take it?
I'll always love music, but no, I would not take a record deal. I've been signed to Elektra, Wyclef's label and others, but I feel like in the end I made the right choice to go in a different direction. [But] you can actually go on Miss Free's World and download my mixtape, which was so much fun to do. I love opening up my world more; I feel like I've been kind of private.
You've met so many people in entertainment -- who's been your favorite so far?
I definitely took a lot from that couch at "106," but I have to say my favorite was Luther Vandross. He came on the show and he had just lost a little bit of weight. He picked me up like a groom picks up his bride and said, "I want you to remember that this is how you should be held." I'll never forget that, I was like, wow, Luther Vandross just held me in his arms!
Any words of advice for young women out there who might want to follow in your footsteps?
Believe in yourself, love yourself and be careful with who you surround yourself with. Your friends reflect you. Also, remind yourself constantly that you can be anything you want to be. There's so much the world has to offer you.