Tatiana Thumbtzen was the star of Michael Jackson’s video The Way You Make Me Feel. She performed with him at he 1988 Grammys and did shows with him in on the second leg of the Bad Tour in Kansas City and New York, where she famously kissed him during their performance.
Youtube Video: Audio of the show where Tatiana kisses Michael, MSG, New York, March 5h 1988
Full Length HD Quality video for The Way You Make Me Feel
[EXPAND Tatiana started out as a ballet dancer, photos
[EXPAND Tatiana modelling in Japan, photos
[EXPAND Tatiana began professional modelling as a teen, photos
[EXPAND Michael Jackson and Tatiana Thumbtzen shoot The Way You Make Me Film is filmed in Los Angeles, set photos, September 1987 ]
Michael shoots the video of The Way You Make Me Feel in Los Angeles directed by Joe Pytka, choreographed by Vincent Paterson and featuring Tatiana Thumbtzen
[EXPAND The Way You Make Me Feel video premieres, October 31 1987 ]
MTV premieres the video of The Way You Make Me Feel. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana news report, St Petersburg times, Music Video Star is Clearwater’s Own, 5th November, 1987 ]
When retired Clearwater school principal O’Cain Thumbtzen told me tha his daughter Stephanie was going to be in Michael Jackson’s new video, I kind of assumed she would have a bit part dancing in the background. That’s sort of what he thought, too.
My wife, teenage son and I tuned in the Entertainment Tonight show Tuesday and watched Michael sing and dance his way through The Way You Make Me Feel, while pursuing this strikingly beautiful young woman.
Could that be Stephanie, whose professional name is Tatiana Thumbtzen? I’ve never met her and had not seen her picture in about a year. No, we all agreed. That’s too big a part for a hometown Clearwater girl. Three additional women appear toward the end of the video and we decided one of them must be Stephanie.
Wrong! “Clearwater’s Own” is indeed the featured performer opposite one of the world’s superstars. O’Cain said his daughter and seven or eight others auditioned for the part last summer. When they finished, Michael called Stephanie back. She told her that Michael is “very pleasant,” to work with and “very gentle and humane.”
I’m not much for rock videos, or Michael Jackson for that matter, but it really is fun to point out his current video costar and exclaim, “Hey, I know her mother and father!”[/EXPAND]
[EXPAND The Way You Make Me Feel single is released, 23rd November, 1987 ]
[EXPAND Tatiana talks about why the video didn’t end with a kiss, People magazine, January 18, 1988 ]
“My heart raced when his hand actually touched my leg.” That’s how Michael Jackson made her feel, says Tatiana, his dancing partner in Jackson’s latest video, The Way You Make Me Feel. The storyline has Jackson chasing Tatiana (also known as Yvonne Thumbtzen) through an old car. Her heel gets caught in the upholstery, and Michael gives her a hand in getting unstuck. The gloved one’s touch proved too much. “I fell flat and, as I got up, Michael was dusting off my butt. It was one of my favorite scenes,” says Tatiana. So why doesn’t the video end with a kiss? “Everyone asks that,” she says. “But just because we don’t kiss onscreen doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen later on. But I’d rather keep that personal,” says Tatiana. So would we.
Excerpt about this interview from her book:
On December 30th 1987, I had an interview with People Magazine. Todd Golden did the interview by telephone. I was pleased with the interview.That was my first experience in realizing that things do not always show up in print in exactly the way you say them in interviews. Just the same, I was proud of the piece and Julie was estatic. She asked me; ”So how does it feel to be on the same page as Cher and Elizabeth Taylor.” [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana invited to Leave Me Alone set, photos, Late January 1988 ]
[EXPAND Tatiana interview on “Hour Magazine” talking about working with Michael, 1988 ]
Youtube video of Tatiana interview on “Hour Magazine” in 1988 Part 1
Youtube video of Tatiana interview on “Hour Magazine” in 1988 Part 2″
Gary Collins: Joining us is Michael Jackson’s costar in the hit video, Tatiana Thumbtzen. Nice to meet you. (something inaudible)
TT: It’s that kind of weather.
Gary Collins: How are you? Are you enjoying this sort of celebrity status that you’ve got?
TT: I’m having a great time.
Female interviewer: Did you get the job because you look like him? (audience gasps, laughs)
TT: No, I…
Female interviewer: He wishes he looked like you, right? (audience gasp) You’re prettier, you are prettier.
TT: Thank you.
Female interviewer: But naturally.
Gary Collins: Did they tell you it was for him when you got the audition? I’d guess when word got out they would be inundated.
TT: All they really said is that it was for a serious artist, my agent told me it would probably be for someone like Prince or Michael Jackson… When I went to the audition I heard “Beat It” was playing as I ran through the scene so I thought it was for Michael.
Female interviewer: Can you dance that way? Because ballet dancers are not usually good rock dancers.
TT: I did classic ballet, but I had to learn jazz and (inaudible)…
Gary Collins: How many people were involved in this audition? And why do you think you were selected? And please don’t be modest.
TT: Hmm, um…
Female interviewer: Because you look like Diana Ross.
Gary Collins: No, no…
Female interviewer: You’re prettier than both of them.
TT: 4 girls at the actual call back, the first call I think were several hundred girls, the second call where I actually met Michael there were just 4 of us.
Gary Collins: What’s he like?
TT: He’s great. He’s such a wonderful person and he’s so cute.
Gary Collins: He seems very very shy.
TT: So was I.
Gary Collins: Did you break the ice?
TT: It was difficult on set on the first day because when we were introduced and I shook his hand I could not look at him for a moment. (laughing)
Gary Collins: Does he look at you straight in the eye? Is there a lot of intensity there?
TT: Very. (inaudible) To break the ice I kind of… (cut) and when I came back there was a (inaudible)
Gary Collins: But wasn’t there a moment where you worked together, at least hopefully there was, where you think it’s gonna be okay, we’re friends and we can relax.
TT: I think the moment where we broke the ice is when my foot got stuck in the car upholstery and Michael put his hand on my leg to try and help me and I thought I’d die. Oh my God, he’s actually touching me. I got so excited and the director was screaming “Keep going, keep going,” so I pulled away and landed out of the car on my butt and my face was beet red and Michael was cracking up and I gave in laughing too ’cause it was quite funny and as I got up he was wiping me off…
Gary Collins: He touched your… [butt]
TT: Yeah. (audience reacts) It was great.
Female interviewer: I don’t blame him.
Gary Collins: What is it about Michael Jackson that makes people turn to jelly?
TT: I don’t know, it’s magic. He has a power that you just feel when he’s in the room.
Female interviewer: I know Michael since the Jackson 5… he doesn’t look the same anymore, but he’s inside there somewhere.
TT: He is the same person inside, he’s very beautiful.
Gary Collins: What’s all this stuff about sleeping in an oxygen tank and all of that, being very shy, very…
Female interviewer: So, so… (something inaudible)
Gary Collins: Will you stop? One minute you’re knocking him, now you’re…
Female interviewer: I’m trying to be an arbitrator.
Gary Collins: Did he seem normal?
TT: He’s very normal.
Female interviewer: It’s not easy for him to go out in the real world.
TT: He is the most decent person I’ve ever met, and I wish there were more like him, you know, I really do.
Gary Collins: Are you dating him?
TT: We’re friends.
Female interviewer: Can you imagine their babies.
Gary Collins: Are you dating him?
TT: Not yet.
Gary Collins: Our guest today was Tatiana Thumbtzen, thank you very much Tatiana, good luck with your career. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Second leg of Bad Tour rehearsals, Tatiana featured on Entertainment Tonight, February 1988 ]
Tour rehearsals are held in Pensacola, Florida. Some footage is aired on Entertainment Tonight.
[EXPAND Tatiana interview, Touring With Michael is a Long Way From Home, St Petersburg Times, 20 Feb ]
Clearwater’s Tatiana Thumbtzen got a phone call in California this week that was worth calling home about – so she did.
She excitedly called her parents O’Cain and Evelyn Thumbtzen, here to tell them that Michael Jackson had called her from Pensacola where he’s in rehearsal for a 13 city American tour. He asked Tatiana, the costar of his current video, The Way You Make Me Feel, to join him when the tour opens in Kansas City Tuesday. He said he wants her on stage with him to kick off the tour. She was unsure whether she’ll be going to any other cities with him.
Tatiana told her parents she will be interviewing fans in the audience for a segment on PM Magazine.
In a short note to me recently, Tatiana writes about making the video with Michael, which 2was truly a dream come true for me… I consider him the ‘legend’ of our time.”
If you’ve seen the video, you’ll recall she steps ino he front seat of a cat, with Michael right behind her, and then exits the other side. “My heel got caught on the seat cover, and I got nervous because the director was screaming, “Keep going! Keep going!”
She said Michael touched her leg as he was trying to help her, and that made me so nervous, “I fell out of the car on my bottom. My face turned bright red and Michael was laughing… I started laughing, too, because it was funny.”
But when the video was finished, she said, Michael “thanked me for being so professional” and gave her an autographed hat that he wears at his concerts and Pepsi Cola commercials. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Michael kicks off the American leg of the Bad Tour in Kansas City, Missouri, February 23/24 1988 ]
[EXPAND Michael Jackson and Tatiana Thumbtzen perform together, Grammy Awards, March 2, 1988 ]
March 2nd, 1988 Grammy’s, Tatiana performs on stage with Michael
At the 30th Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York , Michael fails to win any awards for Bad but he makes an amazing performance of The Way You Make Me Feel and Man In The Mirror and gets a standing ovation from the whole industry. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Sheryl and Tatiana pose backstage of the Grammys, Jet Magazine, 21 Mar 1988 ]
[EXPAND Tatiana performs onstage with Michael and kisses him, photos, Madison Square Gardens, New York, March 3-5th 1988 ]
Concert at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. During the show on March 5th, Tatiana Thumbzten replaces Sheryl Crow on The Way You Make Me Feel and kisses Michael on the mouth.
[EXPAND Various press articles about the kiss ]
[EXPAND Tatiana’s Star Grows Brighter, St Petersburg Times, 5th March 1988 ]
Clearwater celebrity Tatiana Thumbtzen is having a big week. The young woman, who is featured on the Michael Jackson video, How Do You Make Me Feel?, was interviewed on he PM Magazine TV show Tuesday night. The segment included shots of her performing with Michael in Kansas City as the start of his national tour.
She also appeared with Michael for one fleeting moment as he performed on the Grammy Awards show on Wednesday night. And she is appearing with him this weekend at his tour performances in Madison Square Garden.
Tatiana, the daughter of O’Cain and Evelyn Thumbtzen, doesn’t know whether she will be accompanying Michael on the entire tour. “Michael loves surprises,” she said in a photo interview from her New York hotel room, and she doesn’t know what plans he has for her. His invitation for her to appear with him in Kansas City New York was a last minute decision.
As for surprises, “It’s like Christmas,” she said. “I’m having the time of my life.”
Tatiana, who most local people still know as Stephanie, said fans are beginning to recognize her, take her picture and request autographs.
She said she recently completed a movie, The Perfect Model, in which she has a cameo speaking part. “Not just a strut but speaking, too.” She has also been called by one of the cable music networks about being a guest host.
As she told the PM Magazine interviewer, “I’m just so happy!” [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Video star visits home, tells Hollywood tales, Tatiana news report, 13th Jan, 1989 ]
[EXPAND Tatiana speaks in Ebony about her career in Hollywood, March 1989 ]
Tatiana Thumbtzen, 28, danced her way to celebrity status as the nymph like creature pursued by Michael Jackson in the video, The Way You Make Me Feel. Now she awaits her own definition of stardom. “I sign autographs for people who stop me on the street, but there are times I don’t have the ren,” she says. Born in Clearwater, Florida, Tatiana studied ballet, but the desire to model and act eventually lured her from dancing. The LA actress can now be seen in a commercial with Mario Van Peebles and in the introduction of the TV series A Different World.
[EXPAND Tatiana presenting MJ with the BRE award, photo featured in JET 26 June 1989 ]
[EXPAND Found in the Vaccaro Vault of possessions owned by Michael and the Jackson family, Portfolio for Tatiana, photo of her half-naked was taken in 1990 ]
[EXPAND Tatiana on the Maury show where Katherine calls in to speak about her, video, Sometime August-December 1993 ]
Link to youtube video, Maury TV Show, amidst allegations about child molestation Tatiana defends Michael and says they had a year long relationship
[EXPAND Jermaine mentions Tatiana, Tatiana interview, BET, sometime 1993-1994
BET Announcer: Some of you remember the recent BET special where you, the public, had a chance to ask the Jackson family anything. Well, most of you wanted to know about Michael Jackson’s love life. Actress Tatiana says Michael Jackson is all man.
Woman on the street: This question is for Jermaine since you seem to be the closest. Has Michael Jackson ever had a girlfriend?
Jermaine: Yes, Yes, Yes. There was Tatiana that he was very close to.
Tatiana: The first day I met Michael and we were actually introduced, he reached his hand out and said hi to me and we shook hands. I was just so overwhelmed (smiling).
Tatiana: One of the first sparks was a scene in which I had to run through an old car and Michael chases me and by the third run through my heel had gotten stuck in the car upholstrey and I got stuck and the director said ‘Keep it goin’, keep it goin’ don’t stop’ Well, Michael put his hand on my leg to help me get unstuck and I uh, freaked out a little (smiling and glowing) bit and pulled away, and I uh, I ended up outside the car on my bottom. And as I had gotten up to continue with the scene, Michael had grabbed me and had actually started to wipe my bottom off.
Tatiana: He’s very romantic ’cause he’s so sensitive and caring.
Tatiana: His touch…his hugs…his kisses. I fell in love. Michael is not gay, he is not some kind of freak that the media wants to portray him as lately (very sad, angry look).
Tatiana: (She looks directly in the camera with a very sexy look) As far as his masculinity is concerned (arches her eyebrow and lowers her head) believe me, he is.
BET Announcer: Tatiana says she still loves Michael and just wants people to know how special he really is. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana on Geraldo, discussing Once More With Feeling, 1996 ]
Youtube video: Tatiana on Geraldo, discussing Once More With Feeling, 1996 [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Two part interview where she discusses Once More With Feeling, 1997 ]
Youtube video: 1997 Tatiana Thumbtzen discussing participating in a book “Once More with Feeling”
Youtube video: 1997 discussion “Once More With Feeling” [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana talks about her time working for Michael, Extract from book “Once More With Feeling”, 1997 ]
To this day I have no idea what I did that was so terrible, but that was the end of the tour for me. I was not asked back when the Bad tour went on to several cities. Sheryl Crow took my place.
I went home and cried incredibly hard, over both the lost opportunity and over losing Michael. His mother, Katherine, was also puzzled by what happened. She later invited me several times to the Jackson compound in Encino and we talked at length. She told me that when we were shooting the video, Michael had asked her what he should do with me. He had told her how much he liked me and that he had feeling for me. She had told him to express himself, to tell me about his feelings.
He never did tell me anything of the kind, although several others in his camp – bodyguards, secretaries, and writers – had let me know. The only explanation I could fathom was that Michael’s top managers must have seen me as a threat. The Bad tour was one of the most successful promotions of his career, and the people working for him did not want anything to mess it up, especially a relationship with some girl they hardly knew.
Perhaps they thought of me as someone who, like a crazed fan, imagined herself being lovers with the superstar. Michael had done a music video of “Dirty Diana” with a similar storyline. To me, however, the feelings between us had always seemed very mutual. I felt a bond with him. Maybe it was because he, too, seemed to want to think of the world as color blind.
Perhaps, however, I was naive or mistaken or read too much into some of the things that happened between Michael and me. Even if that is so, I always behaved in a completely professional manner. Unfortunately, being fired from that tour had terrible repercussions for me both psychologically and professionally. I hope I will be able to put the experience behind me someday and go on, but for years it has haunted me. Certainly it illustrates how show business, money, and greed can keep apart two people who care for each other.
Joseph Jackson Misguides My Career
After leaving the Michael Jackson tour, Joseph Jackson, Michael’s father, wanted to sign me to a management contract. Like Michael’s mother, he also sympathized with me and didn’t like what had happened to me on the tour. When he proposed that he become my manager, I hoped he might really be able to help me. I had never had any problems getting contracts with agents or managers but finding one who could really build my career seemed to be the real challenge. I knew that Joseph was quite the ladies’ man, but he never tried to have his way with me. At the time we met he had a little Asian girl under contract, to whom he paid a lot of attention – unfortunately more than he ended up paying to me professionally.
After a while I realized that Joseph wasn’t going to be able to help me. In fact, I suspected that being under contract to him was probably hurting my career. All I wanted was to get out from under his control, but everyone to whom I showed the contract, including agents and lawyers, told me I was locked in. They said I needed a high-powered attorney with connections, but I had neither the money nor the clout to get one. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Michael talking about how he selects girls for videos, Conversations with Rabbi Shmuley 2000/2001 ]
SB: So what do you do in things like music videos when you’re expected to portray romance and do love scenes and things like that?
MJ: That’s why it is my job to cast the girl, because it is my job to think they are cute. So I can do it if I really like them, like some of the girls you see in my videos. I have cast them because I really like them and it caused a problem afterwards because they start to really like me, and I don’t want to get that serious, and it becomes a problem sometimes.
SB: You probably face this all the time because not only are you famous, but you are the kind of guy who women want to be around—soft, gentle, not afraid to express his emotions. Women die for guys who aren’t afraid to show vulnerability and softness, whereas a lot of the guys in Hollywood are stereotypically self-absorbed, self-obsessed, and can’t commit. So do you often find that this happens, that women get clingy?
MJ: What do you mean?
SB: Like you said, it is supposed to be a professional thing. You just film something with a female costar, but afterwards they become attached.
MJ: Yes, it happens.
SB: How do you break the news to them that you don’t reciprocate?
MJ: When they see me running the other way. Yeah. Some of them follow me around the world and it is so hard.
SB: That probably makes them chase you even more because they probably are drawn to that boyish shyness. To be sure, many women like “bad” boys. But for the same reason, a lot like shy guys. In the same way they believe that they can redeem the bad boy and polish up this coarse diamond, they believe the same thing about the shy guy. They think, “Only I can bring him out of his shell.” But I guess after a while, with you running halfway around the world from them, they get the message. But you never tell them directly?
MJ: No, because it would hurt them too much. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana interview about being fired used by Bashir in “Michael Jackson’s Secret Childhood, 2004 ]
Youtube video: Tatiana discussing being fired on “Michael Jackson’s Secret Childhood”, 2002 [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana’s response to an article on MSNBC.com, August 17th, 2004 ]
“My heart goes out to Michael and his family. I wish them nothing but the very best. Nevertheless, there has been much curiosity on my past with the pop star, and many journalists have been unfair and unkind in their interpretation in telling the story. That is why I choose to tell my experiences with the pop star myself and in my own words. I hope that my book will shed some light on the truth when it comes to my feelings towards him. To Michael, may god bless you!” [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana interview by MJNewsOnline, December 15th, 2004, ]
How did you set out on your career in modelling?
I got into modeling on a fluke. I was scouted out one day while in ballet class, at The School Of American Ballet. It was Barry Lategan, (who discovered Twiggy in the early 60’s) who hired me for a special spread In Modern Bride Magazine. The spread featured ballerinas on point. It was the flame that sparked my modeling career. Several months later I met Antonio Lopez, a famous fashion Illustrator. Antonio took my modeling career to the next level, teaching me everything I needed to know and even introducing me to my future agent. I signed with the Ford Agency only to be dropped a week later. Because, they just didn’t know what do with me. They told me, “Your not black enough and your not white enough, Eileen doesn’t know what to do with you, stick with Antonio.” I was stunned and saddened by this. I was warned by Janice Dickinson not to sign with them but I didn’t listen to her. Sure enough…….Janice was right. Anyway, things turned out fine as I signed with the Zoli Agency a week later. And I even scored a contract to model in Japan becoming one of their biggest models for the next five years.
How were you approached to appear in Michael’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” video?
I was approached to appear In MJ’s video “The Way You Make Me Feel” through my agent Julie at JHR. Supposedly, I auditioned with 200 other girls. I believe it was my destiny though. It had been my dream for many, many years to meet and work with Michael. In fact, I actually let the opportunity of meeting him slip through my hands, (in the early 80’s ) while en route to an audition living In New York. And yes, I mentioned it to Michael while shooting the video. He even asked me why I didn’t stop and say anything to him. I replied that I was too shy and couldn’t figure out what to say.
Has your work with Michael influenced you professionally? If so, how?
His professionalism influenced me and also his perfectionism. We definitely have that one in common. He was the utmost professional. I loved watching him work.
Tell us a little of your experiences on Michael’s “Bad” tour.
My experiences on the Bad tour were unfortunately “BAD” and I don’t mean the bad as in slang terms. I mean Bad as in terrible. For the most part I was lonely and bored, except of course when I was on stage and saw Michael. I felt as though I was some sort of Barbie doll that they took out of the box when they needed to show it off. But, I kept getting all of these reports that Michael was in love with me. He even reported that to the media at one point. It was confusing and lonely to be me.
Do you recall any funny anecdotes whilst working with Michael?
One of my funniest anecdotes that I can remember was when Michael asked me If he could use some of my face powder. I was honored in obliging this request, but when he used it he went to town with the stuff. As if there was no tomorrow. I wanted to crack up but didn’t dare to out of fear he’d take it the wrong way. It was a cute site to see.
You have a new book out, “The Way He Made Me Feel”, tell us a little about it.
My book has been a work In progress, believe me! You can ask my friend and business partner Tonia Ryan. We have worked on it for two years now. And even longer for me, as I wrote it back in 1991. This is my Auto-Biography and it derived from my journal while living In Los Angeles. I hope it will be educational to those with stars in their eyes and a dream in their hearts. I truely believe that we are all put here to not only learn from our lessons but to give back to others. I hope my book does that. Because this girl learned “A Lot” and I have a lot to offer.
It has been reported that you and Michael have had a ‘falling out’ over the years, what is your response to that?
Going into writing my book this was one of the reasons why I wanted my story out their. So people would no longer speculate. I have had my words sliced and diced and have even been misquoted. So, I figured who better to tell my story than me? After all….I lived it! Not anyone else. And still I have had fans and foes bombard me with questions on MJ and my past. It’s time for me to put my story out their and move on. Michael and I never had a falling out and if we did…..I was unaware of It. In fact, his mother Katherine tried many times for us to get together and speak and it just never happened. He has never given me his ear. But, I do believe there are some misunderstandings from our past. As his family and I believed there were others in his camp keeping us apart. Everything happens in life for a reason. God doesn’t make mistakes. I put my trust “completely” in my Lord.
As you know, this interview is being conducted for the fans of Michael Jackson. Is there anything you would like to say to them?
I would like to tell the fans…….to “Always Keep Your Dreams Alive” and to always believe in yourself because anything is possible if you just “Believe.” [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana interview, discussing her book “The Way He Made Me Feel”, 2005 ]
Youtube video: Tatiana interview, discussing her book “The Way He Made Me Feel”, 2005
[EXPAND Tatiana Interview with MJJForum, 20th Dec, 2004 ]
Say what you want about Tatiana, but she has been where many fans wish they could go. She has worked with and dated Michael Jackson! Tatiana Thumbtzen has written a book titled “The Way He Made Me Feel”. It not only explains her relationship with Michael, but it also goes into other important events of her life.
Dip into our conversation…
Lei: I just want you to know that I have been a fan of yours since your
appearance in Michael’s video (The Way You Make Me Feel)! You and Mike looked great together. I was actually thrilled when I “heard” that you two were dating! Some fans still don’t believe that’s true? Would you like to elaborate on that?
Tatiana: This is the question that I get asked the most. This is actually one of the main reasons that I decided to write my book The Way He Made Me Feel. This is not something that I can answer in a few lines because I have chapters dedicated in detail about the experiences between Michael and me. I will tell you that Michael reported to the media, to members in his camp, and to his mother Katherine that he loved me.
Lei: I was always looking around and hoping I would see you pop up in another music video, movie, or something. I have seen all your television appearances and managed to find your website by just typing your name into a search engine. You even made me realize that a woman was sexy as hell in a black dress and boots! Any thoughts on that?
Tatiana: I had many disappointments while living in L.A. after doing the video. I went through much turmoil and distress. Fortunately, I chose to write about it all, it was extremely cathartic. Hence, my book was born. I tried getting a book deal and did, except it turned out to be a disappointment and a lesson. I also did an interview with a tabloid and basically learned the hard way that they were going to tell my story their way. Big mistake, but we live and learn – that’s what life’s about. So, I kept the hope and dream that someday I would do my own book “My Way.” As for the dress and boots…..well, it was the look I put together for the initial audition. It worked as Michael liked the look, from what I was told.
Lei: I know that you’ve done “Beat Street”, a music video for Levert, and liquor ad campaigns, but tell us what else you’ve done before the video with Michael? What have you been doing since?
Tatiana: Before working on the video with Michael, I had done several modeling jobs with my then agent Nina Blanchard. I did a campaign for Billy Dee Williams eye wear and an appearance on Hotel – a hot TV show at the time. Before that I lived in New York, which is where I grew up. While living in New York I had done my first video shoot with Herbie Hancock. It was his follow up album, (after his big hit with “Rockit”) titled Hard Rock. That prepared me in many ways and it was a blast. Prior to that, I modeled for five years in Japan.
Since I left L.A. in 1996, I have been focusing on my many projects I hope to bring to fruition, and learning from people and life itself.
Lei: You were one of the writers for “Once More With Feeling”, which by the way I can’t find at the local library and haven’t had the pleasure of reading it…yet! How does “The Way He Made Me Feel” differ from what you wrote in “Once More…”?
Tatiana: Once More with Feeling was a “great” disappointment. They wrote the story in their words and they focused on the stories that interested them. They were even selective about the other stories. I didn’t like this project. My book is the real thing. It’s in my “own words” and I tell the reader about all my crazy experiences and how heartfelt and confusing they all were. It is “My Autobiography”. Not a kiss and tell and not a tell all. It takes you on a bit of a journey, from me as a little girl and all the dreams I believed in, to real life and dealing with show business. And yes, it expresses the great love I had for Michael, although I have moved on with my life and my feelings for him. I will always wish him nothing but the very best; a small part of me will always care.
Lei: Are you single? Any kids?
Tatiana: No, I am not married and I do not have any kids. It would have been nice but it just hasn’t happened that way. The last time I dated was three years ago – he was a Miami police officer and he basically broke my heart into shreds. So, I have totally focused on my work and projects. Maybe someday the Lord will bring the right guy into my life, it would be nice. I have learned a lot and have been through a lot so it will definitely have to be someone mature, confidant, and sophisticated and has his own thing going on. But, I do pray a wonderful man will come along someday.
Lei: Are you recognized as “That Girl from the Michael Jackson video?” If so, has this been a career killer or thriller?
Tatiana: Unfortunately it was a career killer being “The Girl from The MJ Video”. For some reason casting agents couldn’t look beyond it. It hurt me a lot professionally; I lost work all the time. I am still recognized to this day and still there is this big curiosity and bombardment of questions. My partner Tonia saw this when we first met after being around me for a while. With the intrigue still lingering over me makes me even happier to know that people can just buy the book and leave me alone, (he! he!). [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana’s publicist Tonia Ryan makes a PR release about book, 24th January 2005 ]
24th January, 2005,
Tatiana Thumbtzen, the featured dancer in Michael Jackson’s 1988 video for “The Way You Make Me Feel” and the first woman to kiss him in public, admits in her forthcoming book, “The Way He Made Me Feel,” that she lied to Howard Stern and Maury Povich about having a romantic relationship with the singer back in 1993 when he first faced allegations of child molestation. She also describes Jackson’s obsession with child actors like Macaulay Culkin and Ricky Schroder. Her co-author, Tonia Ryan, said in a statement, “You do the math.” The book is due out February 14. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND MJ’s publicist responds, Contact Music 24 February, 2005 ]
“I pulled him close and as I was about to kiss him I felt the hand on my hip and before I knew it we were locked into this kiss.”
But the dream of dating a pop superstar as she toured the world with him were shattered when Jackson dumped her.
She recalls, “My dates just went by. A friend calls me, Michael’s stand-in, and tells me, ‘What’s going on? I’m really concerned about you.’
“He says, ‘You’ve been replaced. Sheryl Crow is doing your number…’ My world was shattered.”
But Jackson’s publicists insist Thumbtzen’s tale, as told to US news show ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, is fiction.
A spokesman says, “This is just someone else out trying to capitalise on Michael Jackson’s name.” [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Joe Jackson Biography, 2004 (roughly translated from German) ]
Brooke started university and Michael had begun to fall in love with a young dancer. They flirted with each other during the filming of one of his videos and he allowed them to be photographed together in front of his trailer. On their first date towards the end of the 80s Michael’s manager Frank Dileo was present as a sentry dog. Frank knew that Michael was interested in her and the three of them met at a restaurant. Without informing Michael, Frank had tried to court her even though he was married.
As soon as this young dancer realized that Michael was interested in her, she left her boyfriend, a Latino-American dancer who accompanied Madonna on her tour. The unknown dancer has never been near a celebrity and couldn’t believe that my son wanted her. She could barely overcome the excitement and openly spoke about their relationship. It wasn’t pleasant for Michael because he did not want her to be put out on a public review before he had the opportunity to spend some real time with her.
He invited the girl to our home so that my wife and I could get to know her. She liked all of us, she was young, beautiful and she had the heart of a child. Soon Michael had admitted to his mother that he was in love with the wonderful dancer. But he would like to get to know her better, therefore, he had invited her to accompany with him on his tour.
There was a strong sexual attraction between them and some time passed before the young woman couldn’t distinguish their relationship on stage during the show and offstage. She had called Michael at his hotel and had asked whether she could kiss him onstage. Michael had agreed, but had not discussed it with his manager.
They kissed that evening on stage. Michael liked it very much, but his manager was furious since he was afraid that Michael would lose his fans if they found out he was in a relationship.
When the photos of the kiss were printed and when this girl spoke on a talkshow about her relationship with Michael, Michael’s manager has decided that was enough. She was immediately fired. She had only answered a question of the of the host of the show, whether she had something with Michael, ” the you know what”. She hadn’t the slightest idea how closely the media observed her. Certainly, Michael’s friends Correy Feldman and Little Richard, both his sisters and brothers knew that he had romantic feelings for her but we had not uttered a word about it since it wasn’t clear whether their relationship was serious or not.
Michael was sad because then he had to let her go. She had simply been destroyed by this and very much tried to keep their relationship. She commissioned an artist to draw one of Michael’s favorite celebrities and sent this picture to his home.
In vain she tried to draw his attention to herself again, but Michael kept his distance, especially after he found out that she had dated Prince. He suffered from constant comparisons with the star and did not want to have anything in common with the yellow press in which they discussed that his former girlfriend had replaced him with Prince, and then with one of the boys in Milli Vanilli. When Michael’s lawyer tried to introduce her to one of his brothers, it also didn’t help. Nothing came out of it, because she was still in love with Michael.
I pitied the poor girl. She was a lovely girl, but she could not bear the burden of fame after she was shot in one of Michael’s videos. After that she was recognized everywhere but she hardly had money to pay the bills. I offered to become her manager, met with July McDonald, Paula Abdul’s agent, and had asked them to find her a job. July had tried very much and eventually she was employed by the known choreographer Jeffrey Horanday who too worked with Michael before. But she trained insufficiently and though she had a promising start, she had no success. I in fact wanted to help her, was engaged in her management, but eventually she was still too immature, and after I had helped her to earn a couple of thousand dollars, which she was required to pay taxes, I once again paid attention to the career of my children.
When the charges against Michael had appeared, her money must have just have ended again and that’s why she talked on TV about Michael, but she said such nonsense, that it didn’t seem real.
Soon after that Prince saw her in a nightclub and started talking with her about it and reproached her because she had not told the truth, had not mentioned that Michael had been in love with her. Prince knew all about their story because whilst she was with him she spoke only about Michael and had told him that she was crazy about him. I did not reproach her – these talkshows will confuse anyone. But I am glad, that Prince had expressed her his opinion on her hypocritical behavior. She tried to get out and had explained that her words have been twisted but Prince did not believe her. He accused her of telling lies about Michael for money when she was the one who could tell the truth.
Well all right, anyway, after that Michael dated princess Stefanie of Monaco and even secretly recorded a song with her. Certainly nobody had to find out that Stefanie was the female voice in this duet. Michael never wanted that the public found out too much about women in whom he was interested. And since his private life is all out there, you can’t blame him for it. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Excerpts from her book, The Way He Made Me Feel, 2005 ]
TR: What year did you return to New York City?
TT: I returned in 1984 and while going on one of many casting calls , who did I find pounding the pavements of New York City at just a mere five feet away from me? It was Michael Jackson!
This was before he had taken on the title ”The King Of Pop” I could not believe it! I just could not believe my luck. I kept following him and checking him out. He was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt with a cap pulled down low on his face but I could tell it was Michael Jackson. I wanted so bad to stop and talk to him but I just could not figure out what to say. I was thinking of a way to stop and talk, I thought that maybe I could pretend to ask him for directions, but then I thought what to do after that? I just could not do it! I got shy and froze at the thought of talking to him. I followed him for about five blocks before it hit me that I was going to be late for my audition.
In 1987 I signed with a new agency, Joseph, Heldfond and Rix, at the time a fairly powerful group. Julie, my agent, sent me on an audition for a Michael Jackson video, “The Way You Make Me Feel.” I wasn’t told, though, whose video this was for. But I discovered later that two hundred other hopeful young actresses tested for that part.
When they called me, I was told to walk and show some attitude. The scene took place on a street in a rough area. A bunch of guys start hassling the character I was reading for, taunting her with lines like. “Hey baby, what’s up?”
Coincidentally, the very same thing had happened to me as I was on my way to the audition. Some guys had hassled me on the street, so you might say I was prepared. I ran through the scene a few times, and my audition was put on videotape.
A few days later I was summoned to a small dress rehearsal. It was the first time I learned that the video was with Michael Jackson. I was brought into a room by the video’s choreographer, Vince Patterson. Michael was there but I was too shy to even look at him at first. Patterson directed me to go through some moves, which I followed perfectly. Finally I glanced up at Michael. He was sitting there in a red shirt, bopping to the music with this big, happy grin on his face. I saw him turn to the person next to him and say something. I later found out from David Banks, one of the video’s writers, that Michael had said, “She’s the one. The rest are extras.”
I will never forget when my agent called to tell me that I had the job. I screamed so loud that all of Hollywood must have heard me. It was such a milestone accomplishment for me. I felt like I had finally made it, and my career would soon be taking off.
The shoot lasted five days, with the fifth day devoted to outtakes and close-ups of me.
TT: The time had come when a slim Michael came walking out through an alley. this particular alley is the one that I run down in the video that is a ‘dead end’. I stood trying to control myself and keep my cool. I could not look directly at him, but I could feel his presence within the group of people that surrounded him. His manager Frank Dileo, was to his left, and his photographer, Sam Emerson, was to his right. Michael stopped and stood five feet away from me. I could not believe the artist I most admired and loved stood just before me. It was more than a professional moment: he was the only one for me whom i secretly held a big crush.
I just could not bring myself to look up at him! Instead, I focused on Vince Patterson who stood to my left. Vince greeted Michael and they shared a few words. I didn’t know for a fact but sensed that the two had a rapport. Vince turned to me and introduced me to Michael. He said, ” Michael, this is Tatiana, and Tatiana this is Michael.” Michael extended his hand to me, and I extended mine. I looked into his eyes and managed a quick nervous smile. For some reason, I could not look into his eyes longer than a split second or two. His stare was so intense. His eyes were piercing right through my soul. Michael’s presence was more powerful then words could ever express.
TT: The stylist and director had me go through the wardrobe. Although we agreed on the look the previous day, we tested other looks just to make sure we were satisfied with the wardrobe. We agreed on the black dress.
It was the exact look that I put together myself for the original audition taping with Leeland. There was only one difference in my dress and their dress. Danskin made mine and theirs was an expensive Azzedine Alaia that was priced at around (UNREADABLE).
The boots were mine, and the bracelets were too. I created my own look for the video and I was proud of that creative control, and that Michael liked what he saw. The only thing they added was something that I did not considered. It was a track of hair weaves to add more length to my own hair. They told me it was Michael’s idea.
What was Michael planning to wear?
I remember asking him “What are you going to wear?”
He said in a sweet and soft voice, “This is what I’m wearing.”
I felt so embarrassed because I appeared to be very overdressed compared to his costume. I thought , how silly, I am dressed up like a working girl and here he is dressed casually. I did not get it and I felt that someone needed to change. Since I liked my outfit, it should be him. However, when I was around Michael, I soon forgot about costumes, hair, or make-up. I did not care. I was in bliss. I assume that this boy genius knew what was right. After all, he had that video Midas touch.
Once we started the routine I felt a little bit more at ease but the whole time I still felt as if I was dreaming. The day progressed and I flew higher and higher into the clouds.
TR:How did the routine play out?
TT:In the beginning of the routine Vince went over the scene with me saying, ”Now Michael is going to sing live and when he sings his part you are to walk in this direction.”
I agreed and I knew my cue, but when the time came, no such luck. I went into shock. Michael is very powerful live. All I could think of was that he was so small and thin so where the hell does that voice come from? How did he do that?
As I stood in shock wondering all of this, Vince was screaming his his head off at me, saying, ”Tatiana, Go! React, Go, Go, Now!” Finally, something snapped and I woke up. I thought, I have to perform as well.
I had a look on my face that reminded me of that Pepsi commercial. It is the commercial with little Alfonzo Ribeiro. It came out around 1986 or 1987. In the commercial, Alfonzo turns around and finds Michael standing behind him. He is full of shock, surprise and his mouth drops open.
After the initial shock, I was able to get on with my character. Then Michael yelled ”Hey” to get my attention.
Then he starts singing ”You knock me off my feet, now baby.” I start walking off ignoring him, but then a gang that did not let me pass through stops me. Michael follows me from behind continuing his pursuit.
TR: What happened at the end of your first day on the set? Did you talk to Michael before you left?
TT: Before going home he said, “Drive safe.” I told him that I do not drive, I do not know how to. Someone drove me here.”
He said, “Tell the driver to be safe.”
I said, “Okay, I’ll tell him.”
TR: What did you do when you get home?
TT: When I got home, I was so wired mentally that sleep was far off my mind.
For those four days, sleep and food were not a big part of my agenda. I was running on excitement and adrenaline. My normal weight of one hundred and one pounds was down to only ninety-eight pounds. Not such a big difference, but on my small frame a few pounds does make a difference. I looked forward to the next day as I had the first.
Were you less nervous then you were the first day?
Unfortunately, by next morning my nerves had not improved any.
I got up, dressed myself, did my hair and make-up and I was off to the set. I could not wait to see Michael again. I never wanted this job to end.
TR: What did you and Michael talk about the second day of shooting?
Did you talk to the rest of the cast?
With both of us being extremely shy, we did not talk much at first. We did smile and stare at each other many times though. The wole crew was great and the writer David Banks was wonderful.It was a primo gig. It was the gig of “all gigs.” Even the real gang members that he hired were pleasant. I guess being on a (unreadable) set can bring out kindness in almost anyone.
(Michael and his stand in, Craig Parks)
The one person that I became close to on the set was Michael’s stand in Craig Parks. We sat and talked about how awesome the set was and how wild it was-being such a perfect replica of New York. We also talked about how the guys were real gang members.
I told him how excited I was to work with my idol. Craig had worked with Michael several times before. He told me about his experiences with Michael and how he loved practical jokes. The last days of the shoot with Michael for me had gotten better. Everyone became more relaxed and natural. That is when Michael and I shared a special moment. The icebreaker. This was the same morning that the director, treated me a way that I would have never expected.He took me by total surprise.
TR:What did the director do that surprise you?
TT: I reported to the set. I stood across from Joe waiting for his direction as he yelled at one of the grips
I remember thinking, my God, this is how he treats his people? That is terrible. I had no idea that mine was coming soon. As I started my routine, he snapped! I do not even know what I did to receive such treatment, not even this day.
He started yelling, “You stupid fucking bitch? What’s your fucking problem? Didn’t you have your fucking coffee yet?” My eyes got big. my ears grew red and my heart became pained. I could not believe that he was treating me like this.
I stood frozen in my footsteps. I felt tears welling up in my eyes and I was chocked up with so many emotions that I couldn’t control the tears that were about to flow from my eyes. I heard him say ” Let me know when you are ready to work.” I became determined not to let his negative aura get the best of me. I replied ”No, let me know when you’re ready to work” and I ran off the set.
I ran into the dressing room and I cried for about five minutes. I poured out all the pain his words caused. A few of the guys and the stylists asked me what was wrong, and why I was crying. My emotions took over so I could not reply.
I just could not speak at all. I was balling my eyes and heart out to the extreme. Joe Pytka is known for this behavior, and I was slowly learning this. Someone told me he had a lawsuit against him because of it.
Cindy Crawford had admitted to his temperamental personality when she made her Pepsi Cola commercial years ago. She said he called models names like (Unreadable). She admitted to him calling others girls names, but never her. Of course he did not dare try to do this to Cindy Crawford. She was too famous!
I just could not figure out the mind-set of his treatment. I do feel that I can honestly say, I am and have remained humble throughout all the Hollywood weirdness. I feel that I am as real as they come. After all, I am only a human being.
He was physically abusive towards a grip. It was amazing to me that he treated me this way, and I could not believe that he worked with such negative energy. I mean people noted him to be the best at his craft.
TR:Did you get back to the set?
TT:Yes and when I reported on the set I was willing to forget about it. Just for the sake of professionalism, but I will never forget it.
It was surprising that Joe’s attitude changed suddenly once I returned. He was a bit kinder.
TR: Why do you think her change his attitude? Do you think he realized what he did?
TT: I later learned that Sam Emerson watched him yell at me and went back to Michael to report it. Frank Dileo, was the one who spoke to Joe. Whatever he said, it helped, Joe never openly attacked me again. There were little comments like, “You’re not a star! Tatiana Petitze, the model is a star”. Tatiana Petitze was a famous supermodel at that time. He whispered that in my ear. I thought this must be his way of making me stay humble or something
Did Michael say anything to you about what had happened?
TT: By this time. Michael arrived on the set and seemed concerned about me. I could see it in his eyes. He even brought it up. He asked ”Are you okay?”
I expressed that I did not understand why Joe used that language. It was not so much him yelling at me as much as the language and tone he used. I told Michael that I was a lady and I did not expect treatment like that from anyone. We soon forgot about it.
I was just happy that Michael arrived. A bit later La Toya, Michael’s sister, and mother Katherine arrived. I wanted to meet them. The thought of meeting more Jacksons was exciting. I remember thinking how close LaToya were in size. She disagreed and said I was even smaller. I did not learn until a year later that we both shared the same middle name, Yvonne. We talked a bit and I discovered that our favorite vegetable was broccoli as we waited to shoot our group shots.
I met Michael’s mother at lunchtime
TR: How did you meet his mother
TT: There I was standing near the end of the buffet line waiting for it to move. I saw Mrs. Jackson at a distance with a friend. Janet seems who later became my hairdresser They started walking towards me. I remember thinking Oh MY God! She is coming towards me. Michael’s mother and is coming towards me. what do I say? I just could not help but be start struck by her.
A s she stood next tome, i only mustered up a shy smile. Janet, introduced us. she said, ” Mrs. Jackson this is the girl Michael’s working with Tatiana. ” I said, ” ¸Hi nice to meet you. ” Then she went to look at the buffet but never walked away with anything. To be honest, I could not help but to think that she was checking me out. She wanted to see the girl she had heard about. The girl that had captivated Michael’s interest or tweaked Michael’s curiosity, and I eventually found out I was correct about her suspicion. She admitted it to me later.
tr:Michael talked about you to his mother?
TT:Yes and later in the day, there as an incident that has become a fond memory
We were shooting the scene in which I run from Michael by going through this beat-up car, and he follows me. It was the second take and by that time I was having much fun with the scene. I made faces at him in the car and then ran out leaving him stunned.
By our fourth take, the heel of my boot was caught in the cars upholstery and Michael put his hand on my leg to help pull it out. It blew my mind that he had actually touched my leg, which I pulled away and began to tumble out of the car falling on my butt and hard too! Michael started laughing hysterically as Joe Pytka yelled, “Get up, keep it going, keep it going, and don’t stop.” As I did, Michael got out of the car and started wiping my butt off.
I could not believe it! Michael was flirting with me. I thought if anyone questioned his manhood, here was his or her answer. This was a guy who didn’t care about expressing his likeness or attraction to me in front of others. It broke the ice of our shyness between each other and it gave me a rush. We laughed about that one for a while.
The fall caused a run in my stockings and the stylist wanted me to change. I started walking of the set and Michael asked, ” Where are you going?” I explained that she wanted me to change my stockings. He disapproved by saying. “No, I like it. I think the run is neat. It’s sexy.” I found that comment was a masculine statement, and personally, I did not think the run would matter.
However, that one moment was the most memorable of the shoot except for the final scene when we hug. It made me realize that my dreams had come true. Michael also said that he loved my walk and that it was very sexy. This I felt for sure was a compliment from a heterosexual male.
Did you two continue talking?
Between the break, I admitted to him that I saw him years ago in New York walking ahead of me and that I followed him a few blocks.
He said, ”Oh really? Why didn’t you say something? You should have said something.” Because I was too shy and couldn’t think of what to say.
This was truly ironic: I had followed him several years before on the streets of New York and now here he was chasing me in his video.
What happened the rest of the day on the set?
As we continued shooting the car scene, I was choreographed to run towards my girls, while we laughed and made gestures at them:making fun of Michael and the guys. I then walked off, like ”Yeah right,” and walked around to another car: a Volkswagen where Michael started a game of hide-and-seek.
Next I walked up to a street bench and sat down while he tried to get my attention I tried not to focus on the fact that we were coming close toward the end of the video and I kept trying not to think about it.
How were you feeling that night knowing that the following day would be the last day of the shoot and maybe the last day you would see Michael?
That night as I was lying in bed. It was very sad for me. All I could think about was that tomorrow would be my last, I fell asleep with much sadness in my heart. The morning sun came and I awoke with excitement of seeing Michael’s face again.
So how did the last day go?
TT: We began a scene in which I run up to an apartment building, avoiding him again, and then I run back down stairs. Michael told me, “Whatever you do, don’t fall down the stairs or I will start cracking up.” I was thinking what a brat. During a quick break from the scene, Michael pointed out two birds high above us perched on a ledge — they were making love. He said, “Look,” while pointing up. I became embarrassed and shy and I looked away blushing. Michael stood gazing at me with this sweet smirk on his face that was somehow naughty.
what was it like watching Michael dance live and up close?
Watching Michael dance with his group was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever experienced, My dance experience gave me a deep level of appreciation for the opportunity to have been part of all this. I had already seen some of the greatest acclaimed dancers ever-Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Edward (unreadable). Michael was a perfectionist. I admired
how he emulated the mood of the legendary work West Side Story but in his original and completely fresh version.
didn’t realize it then but I was falling for him. My heart was growing and my emotions were becoming wrapped up in him.
what are your other memories
Michael had some interesting and exciting guests visit the set. I met Corey Feldman, Emanuel Lewis, and Kidada Jones; Quincy Jones’ daughter. When we were introduced, she was not friendly at all and the only thing I could not figure was that she would have disapproved of any girl Michael chose for his video.
TR: What happened as you approached the last scene?
Michael had requested a closed set for the final scene in which we hugged, no one was allowed other than people necessary to th shoot. No dancers, visitors, or extras.
It was quietly rumored that we were supposed to kiss at the end of the video scene but Joe came up to me and whispered in my ear, ”Don’t kiss him, he’s too shy for that, don’t kiss him!” Therefore, of course I respected his direction.
I would never question an order from the director. As I stood and turned to my right, I looked out to see Michael. He approached me we stared deeply into one another’s eyes. I felt as though he could see my sadness and could hear my heart.He placed his arms around me and mine around him. I remember him stroking my back up and down as to say, ”I care for you too.” You can see this in the video. I felt it was all happening too quickly.
The weirdest thing about that scene was the way the light hits the water. It actually made the shape of a heart behind us. Between the scenes, Michael said to me, ”I heard you wanted to dance in this video.” I admitted it was true and I said ”I thought I would get the opportunity to dance with you.”
Michael replied in a soft and sweet voice, “Don’t worry, we’ll work together again.” Suddenly I felt content and confident that his words were true, and my hear felt with joy. However, it did not linger in my mind for long after his promise. I settled for what I got. I mean, how many people even get that close to a dream? I was fortunate, in starring side by side with him. It was the Fred and Ginger of the 80’s as far as videos are concerned.
I was thankful to Jesus a million times over, and I knew then that dreams do come true. I have lived a few and I hope many more to come.
TR: Did anyone on the set notice there was something going on between the two of you?
TT: One of the actors said to me, ”You like him don’t you? I can tell you both like each other. Bet you’ll end up married and have ten kids.”-I remember thinking,… with my little body I don’t think so!…
One of Michael’s own security guards even asked me during a break if I had a boyfriend. He asked as if he was asking for Michael. Michael stood by doing some out takes and I waited around and watched with my new buddy Craig
TR: How did you feel at the end of the day?
TT:When his final shot came I was sad and a bit depressed knowing the end was near, as we walked Michael off to his trailer. He thanked me for being so professional and I remember being a bit surprised.
Those were golden words to my ear as I expressed how great it had been working with him and then he asked me if his team had my number. I floated out of the trailer. As I left, I could hear Michael say to Frank :
”Aren’t you going to give it to her?”
Frank replied, “No, why don’t you give it to her? It’s from you.”
They were bickering like kids and before I knew it Frank tossed one of Michael’s hats to me. A black fedora with his name embroidered in gold inside the rim that he used in the Bad Tour. I caught the hat as if on cue and as I walked off I recall saying ”I love you Michael” I guess the fan was coming out of me.
Or maybe I could just not admit that my comment was much more personal. I did not own one Michael Jackson album or tape at that time so my feelings were based on respect for him as an artist and what I came to know of him as a person rather than being a fan.
Of course. I owned the Bad LP when we finished the project. I was honored to have been a part of the history and the making of the video. Several days later, I finally got my appetite and my sleep back on schedule but working with Michael been the greatest natural highs that I ever experienced.
TR: Did you see or talk to Michael after you shot the video with him?
TT: Not long after the video production was over, Michael’s stand-in, Craig, who had become a friend of mine, called and said, “You know, Michael talks about you all the time. He asks me how you are and told me to tell you hello. I think he really likes you. He says stuff like how incredibly beautiful you are and how sweet you are.”
In January, Michael was shooting a new video entitled Leave Me Alone. To my utter surprise, Craig called to say that Michael invited me to come and visit him but that I would need to clear my visit with Michael’s personal secretary Joli.
I was ecstatic at the thought of seeing Michael again. My heart raced with the warmest and
happiest of feelings. The location was in Culver City and I only had forty dollars with me which I knew wasn’t enough to get there and back but I figured I would worry about that later. I just could not pass up the opportunity to see Michael again especially since he had invited me.
When I arrived I was just so nervous and excited to see him. I remember taking a big breath as I pulled open the studio door. To my left, Michael stood on a platform that was about four to five feet off the ground. He wore a yellow Hawaiian print shirt with a ball and chain wrapped around his leg. It was the funniest site. I had arrived between takes and Michael seemed genuinely pleased to see me. For the rest of my visit he was full of smiles. Craig and I hung out while Michael did his scenes and for a short break. Sam Emerson, Michael’s photographer, asked that Michael and I pair up to do some photos. He took a full roll and film and they gave me two of the Polaroid’s as a gift. In one of the shots Michael was cuddling me and in another I was wearing his long black coat.Craig (Michael’s stand in) and I hung out whole Michael did his scenes and for a short break. Sam Emerson, Michael’s photographer, asked that Michael and I pair up and so some photos. He took a full roll of film and they gave me two of the Polaroids as a gift. In one of the shots Michael was cuddling me and in another I was wearing his long black coat.
He told me that The Way You Make Me Feel had charted number one that day and Michael complimented on the earrings I was wearing. They were of a little boy and girl engaged in a kiss. As we finished the photos, Michael’s manager Frank Dileo arrived. Michael joined him in his trailer and a few minutes later they asked me to join them, When I stepped into the trailer Frank took control, as Michael seemed to be a little uncomfortable and at a loss for words. He kindly asked me to have a seat and join them for some pie.
Michael sat next to the window and I sat beside him as Dileo took the containers out of the bag. Michael impatiently, like a kid, opened his up and started to chow down. Frank asked ”So, how is it going?” I started telling them about my interview for Hour magazine. Michael was inquisitive and seemed to know nothing about it. Frank, on the other hand, was aware of the interview and began to explain the scenario to Michael. Frank then offered me some of his banana cream pie which I later learned is one of Michael’s favorite. When I dove in to get a piece somehow I ended up with a larger slice than Frank and I jokingly remarked that I needed more of it than he did anyway. Frank was taken aback by my comment and his face turned red.
After a few minutes of small chitchat, Frank told me that he and Michael needed to discuss business
TR:Did you think that Frank’s statement was to dismiss you because of your comment?
TT:I wished I had not made the remark but I had not said it with any bad intent.
Michael just kept laughing like a kid. In fact, Frank laughed it off too as well. Nevertheless, I do not think he said he had to discuss business because of my comment. They left soon after. Frank was always rushing off somewhere.
It was not long after that Frank approached me about representing me. So I don’t think he was offended by my pie remark.
TR: what happened next?
I returned to the studio to hang out with Craig while Michael continued his shots, Craig and I stood nearby with Michael’s makeup artist Karen Faye. Michael and Craig were laughing about something between them, like a private joke as I stood next to Karen. She asked me what was going on — why were they laughing? I replied that I did not know, and I didn’t. I was simply smiling from the joy of being there. I was on cloud nine. I could feel Karen’s negative energy – probably because she felt I was holding something back from her. The rumor floating around was that Karen had feelings for Michael so it would complete the sense that she despised me and she did not try to hide it. You can feel a person’s heart when you look into their eyes.
Anyone could tell that Michael and I had chemistry when we were together. It was obvious to the eye and there was talk of his feelings about me going around. Craig was constantly telling me that Michael was asking about me and Michael would ask him to relay hellos to me. It was fun being there and seeing Michael again.
At the end of the day I realized I didn’t have a ride home. Still a recent transplant from New York, I didn’t drive yet. The cab to the studio had cost more than I had expected, and I didn’t have enough cash for a cab home. Craig pushed me to ask Michael for a ride.
Too shy to go to Michael directly, I explained my situation to Miko Brando, Marlon Brando’s son and Michael’s right-hand man, and asked if he could lend me a few bucks or give me a ride. Miko offered to check it out with Michael but thought it would be no problem to give me a ride in the limo. A few minutes later I was on my way home, sitting next to Michael in his black stretch Mercedes, which Miko was driving. At first Michael seemed nervous and jittery like a kid. We talked a lot, mostly about our families.
I asked Michael why he always wore tape wrapped around his fingertips during his performances. he explained that the tape gives an illusion of extension for dramatics. I thought how ingenious and I told him “You are a genius!” Michael loved this compliment and he smiled from ear to ear. He sweetly said “Oh thank you.” I placed my hand on top of one of his hands and then I picked it up and put it in both of my hands holding it gently. I could feel his nervousness. Then suddenly he picked up the phone as a call came in from his secretary Joli. I let go of his other hand so that he could manage the phone. He remarked that my hand has a roughness to it like his sister’s or members in his family. he didn’t say this in a bad or insulting way and it’s true. My hands are of an old soul, and other people have noticed this before. I felt that Michael liked me touching him but that somehow he just did not know how to deal with it.
When he dropped me off, I thanked him and said I hoped to see him again.
He said, “Oh, you will.”
One of the big Jobs Nina booked me on was a Billy Dee Williams eye-wear campaign. It was exciting to know that I was about to work with Diana Ross’ leading man from the film “Mahogany.” To my surprise Billy Dee arrived to the studio a bit liquored up. It was only 10:00 a.m. and we could all smell the liquor on him. he was frustrated and preoccupied with a personal problem, mumbling on about something. Still, I was excited about this day and working with him. When we got to work, the mood in the studio was fun and light. I did get a surprise though. The photographer positioned us with Billy Dee seated and me standing behind hovering over his light shoulder. The shot was a tight frame. Out of nowhere, his hand grabbed my lower private parts. I am certain that a shocked expression flashed across my face as I let a little scream out and jumped back. We did finish the shoot and the photographer called out a traditional ending, “That’s a wrap.”
I lost respect and admiration for Billie Dee that day. He hurt and disappointed me with his behavior. For a moment, I considered telling my agent Nina about it, but honestly, I did not want to cause a scandal or problem. I felt it was better to let it go and forget it.
The following month I sent Michael a valentine card. I wanted it to be special so I enclosed one of the earrings that he said he liked; the one with the little boy and girl engaged in a kiss. I thought for sure that would make my card stand out from the norm. I wanted it to have a romantic overtone. I contacted Joli for the mission.
On February 8th Frank Dileo, requested we meet at his office in Ventura. I remember being very excited until I got there and realized that Michael was not there and he was not going to be there. Frank told me that he had been Michael’s manager for a while, and confided that his luck could change any day. Michael could move on and get new representation so he had to think about future prospects and other clients. He expressed that he wanted to represent me. He told me how he could tell I had a thing for Michael and advised me to move on for my affection for him. he told me to focus on my career instead. he confused me. I did not understand his comments or his advise. he said that Michael and I would still be working together, and he gave me a tour jacket as a gift but he never came right out and told me I would be apart of the Bad Tour. Somehow, I just did not trust Frank. I guess because he was telling me something I just did not want to hear, as far as me moving on with my affections for Michael. He also made a comment about having me over and see his new home someday, but without mention of Michael being around or his own family being there.
We then discussed the request I had received from Michael’s office to audition for his upcoming Dirty Diana video and he disagreed with the idea of me doing another video for Michael. He said “You don’t want to be known for doing too many videos, and the role is a negative character. Just leave it be.”
(Tatiana talks about being invited to do the Bad Tour. She talks about the hotel she stayed in and how fabulous it was.)
When the management (of the hotel) told me that they were honored at having me as a guest, the truth was, I was honored at being their guest. Most of all, I was impressed with their hospitality. Unfortunately, When we returned to L.A, I heard someone say that Karen Faye had started a rumor that I complained about the service at the hotel and that I had demanded a suite. I was stunned, to say the least, but I knew that Karen did not like me. I could sense it whenever she was near.
That night I joined up was the final show in Kansas City followed by 5 days off. I spent most of my time in my room watching movies and I was bored. The only person that was socializing with me was Miko.
Why was he the only person you socialized with?
I came to learn, through one of the band members that Michael told them to stay away from me and not to bother me. I thought this was respectful of him to do and my mother especially liked it!
Why do you think he told them to stay away from you?
The way I perceived it, then, was he being protective. Michael knew that men could be dogs and the tour scenario just invited trouble. On tour, he wanted them to know that I was his personal interest.
4. On the 29th, we were off to New York City — the city of dreams and my home away from home. I could not help but remember the creative visualization I had done leaving New York for L.A. The words that ran through my head were, “Someday New York, I’ll be back in style.” I guess you could say that creative visualization does exist and I am a strong believer in it. With that, and a good amount of willpower, you can accomplish anything in life.
he next day on the 3rd, it was off to Madison Square Garden
This was our first date in New York City and still I had not had the opportunity to speak to Michael. I wanted a one-on-one with him. I wanted to thank him personally for making me a part of his tour. There were such brief verbal exchanges during our rehearsals and somehow, I just did not think it was too much to ask for.
So, you had not spoken with him yet?
The only time I saw Michael was onstage, or on television.
I was usually alone in my room watching movies or wondering what Michael was doing. Being on tour can be a bit boring especially if other members had been told to stay away from you
Honestly, this rule lead me to believe that Michael was going to spend some of his down time of his down time with me. I mean… Why not? Everyone was passing all these little mentions and comments from him to me. I often asked Miko about him.
On the 4th, we had down time and I once again spent part of my day off in my room with Miko. On the 5th I wrote in my diary that I was depressed and wanted to go back to L.A.
Did you finally get a response?
The following day was our day off. Once again, Miko was entertaining me. We had lunch, and yes I asked him about Michael.
Walking home from lunch, I saw my old friend Vanity on the cover of Playboy magazine. Suddenly, Miko and I were in a heated discussion about whether or not I would consider appearing in Playboy. Miko argued that I would and I argued that I would not
He insisted that I would do it for the right price. Later that night we took another walk. I told Miko that I wished I could take a horse and carriage ride with Michael.He asked me if I were crazy. He said, ”Mike could never do that! He would be recognized.” I argued with him that he would not. I mentioned how he could disguise himself, as he is known to do. In my mind Miko was losing the argument.
One of Hugh Hefner’s assistants told me Hef was good friend of Michael and that he did not want to involve himself with anything that was not ”Pro-Michael Jackson”.-Never did I consider my story against Michael in any way
(The PM Magazine was a magazine that Tatiana did an interview for after the TWYMMF video. Michael’s PR team set up the interview but surprisingly Michael did NOT know anything about it until later. That just goes to show you that Michael’s business team had more control than most people thought. They were doing things that Michael was unaware of.)
On March 1st, the PM Magazine piece aired. To my surprise, but not to my dismay, the story read as though Michael had found his soul mate in me. On this day, I left a message with Michael’s secretary Joli, and I told her that I wanted to speak to him. She explained how busy he was, but she said that she would give my message to him.
The following day, March 2nd, we performed for the 1988 Grammy awards at the famed Radio City Music Hall. Now I really felt on top of the world. This was history in the making. When we ran through the rehearsal I was so happy to see Michael again since it had been six days since the last time I had seen him.
TR: So what happened during the rehearsal?
TT: Our routine was going to be different for this special performance. Michael started singing, The Way You Make Me Feel, then he went in The Man In The Mirror, combining the two songs.
During a short break, Quincy Jones played a practical joke on Michael. He placed a photo of Prince on the seat next to him. Michael nodded his head as to say, “No Way!” While the rehearsal continued, I had some off time so I sat in Michael’s seat watching. I caught Michael smiling at me with approval and a gleam in his eye.
At one point, as I was powdering my face, I realized that he was watching me. Before I blushed or even had a chance to get embarrassed, he asked if he could use some. I could not believe he was asking me this, but I was honored to share it with him and wee were going on stage so it was a natural thing. I watched him use it and it was a site to see. He was going to town with the stuff. I almost cracked up about it, but of course, I did not for fear that he would take offense. I treasured that compact with sweet memories. Unfortunately, a so-called friend of mine stole it from me.
After a couple of hours, it was back to our hotel, The Parker Meridian. I couldn’t resist calling my parents and keeping them informed on the day’s events. It was sad to me that they were not there to share this joyful time in my life but I kept thinking they would join me in another city.
TR: How did it feel to depart for a performance at Radio City Music Hall?
TT: We piled into the tour bus, and as they escorted us to the entrance and to my complete surprise fans were yelling my name. I could not believe it! One of the dancers even made a comment saying, ”Oh, so they know your name now huh?” This comment was sarcastic and made me feel a little uneasy. All I could think of was how weird this all was. Four years earlier, I had cried about not being able to attend a Michael Jackson concert and now here I was a special feature in one.
I was overwhelmed with my blessings. It was wild! Limos and celebrities were everywhere. As we gathered in one room waiting for our cue, I heard Michael through the door of a private room going through his vocal warm up. I noted how powerful his voice was! One of his security guys remarked to Michael that I looked beautiful and I heard Michael reply, ”I know. ”
He did not even see me yet.
Before I knew it, the incredible Stevie Wonder and his entourage were escorted inside. Yes, I was in awe.
TR: Did you get a chance to meet Stevie?
TT: Yes, someone introduced us and when he asked for something from the buffet. I was more than happy to hand him an apple. When I did, I told him how much I admired his music, and I told him that he was ”Bad’, which really meant good in 80s slang
Stevie laughed and told me, “No. this apple is Bad. That is what’s bad because you gave it to me. You are Bad.
TR: What an event even before the show time!
TT: It was!
Finally, we were escorted through the many hallways and the stairs of the music hall that lead to the stage. As we took our positions, the audience went silent in anticipation of us coming onstage. Peaking out from a curtain, I saw the faces lost in Michael’s magic. They were in a trance. I suddenly heard the familiar beat and signal for my cue.
When I stepped out onto the stage, I passed Mike and heard him say,
”Work it! Work it! That’s it!”
A comment like that inspired me even more. We had decided during rehearsal that I was going to catch his black fedora hat but ultimately the idea was nixed, Instead, I walked off the stage and I blew him a kiss.
TR:What happened off stage?
TT: I stood in the wings watching the rest of Michael’s performance. I was deeply lost in a trance like everyone else. Someone walked in front of me and as I shifted my position the woman turned to me and said,”Oh! Excuse me!” It was the one and only Miss Diana Ross. She was the woman that Michael admired as he grew up. Well, so had I.
TR: Did you talk to Diana?
TT: Yes. I even shared with her that people told me many, many times that I looked like her. She had this expression of surprise on her face and had no comment whatsoever. Then we both stood watching Michael’s performance and I focused on the monitor set up nearby
I sang every lyric and Herb Alpert who was standing near me said, ”I see you know every word don’t you?” I smiled and continued to sing.
TR: What happened when Michael finished his performance?
TT: They rushed Michael backstage. He stood nearly five feet away from me covered in a black cape with a white towel around his neck. There were many people around him talking to him and I didn’t dare get near him. I did not even try. I just watched from where I stood. I did yell ”You were great Michael!” At first, I did not think he heard me but he did a few moments later say, ”Oh! Thank you.” in his soft Jackson voice. I was thrilled that he acknowledged me and before I knew it, he was whisked away like Zoro.
TR: Did you watched the rest of the show?
TT:I watched with some of the dancers. I was enthralled with seeing my second live music show-the first being Herbie Hancock appearance following the video we had done.
5. On the 5th, I wrote in my diary that I was depressed and wanted to go back to L.A. I was receiving regular phone calls from a reporter asking me all sorts of questions about me and Michael. I put him off by saying, “I gotta go” and quickly hanging up. He would call right back and eventually I relented when he asked, “What’s it like working with Michael?” I finally gave in and replied, “I love it, it’s great!” Well, that was my first TABLOID experience. What was printed was that I said, “I love him.” It was true but I never, ever, have said such a thing. After his call, I was out the door to get ready for a show.
While Karen Faye was doing my makeup before the show, I found myself trying to make small talk. I had a feeling that she did not want to talk — she had such a bad vibe with me. I asked her “Do you really think there is resemblance between Michael and me? People are always saying we look a bit alike. Even the PM Magazine piece compared us calling us “Soul mate look a likes.” She replied bitterly saying, “Oh! Not at all! You two look nothing alike.” her tone was of such disgust and negativity that I did not say a word. I let the conversation go, stood up to go to the bathroom and pushed onto a swinging door. As I was pushing in, someone was pushing out. To my shock and surprise it was Michael’s little sister Janet.
(Tatiana talks about how she told Janet that she was a fan of hers and how she chatted with Madonna.)
My boot hit the stage and the roar of the audience greeted me. It was massive! Leave it to the New Yorkers to let you know how they feel. I walked out of character making fun of Michael and his homeboys while making hand gestures at him; basically, making fun of them. Strutting back and forth across the stage, I stopped, grabbed his collar and said, “Come on Mr. Big Shot.” I was calling his bluff, changing up the routine a bit. As I grabbed his collar, I landed a big wet one on his cheek. I kissed him. I did not think anything of it, and I did not think he would be ticked off. I just thought that it would add some excitement to our performance.
The fans went berserk! they loved it. After I left the stage, I heard a laugh in every note Michael sang. I figured from his laughter that he enjoyed the surprise. the dancers told me that he was happy and excited about the kiss. Telling me, “OOHHH, Boy! You just made Michael’s day! He was happy!” I pretty much thought it was a good thing.
In the dressing room, I wanted to take off my makeup, but there were celebrities everywhere! One of the reporters teamed me up with a very tall Brooke Shields. I saw La Toya, Michael’s sister from a distance and I decided to join her. We stood talking, and someone from the press asked us to pose for a photo which was later published in Rolling Stone. That magazine photo was one of the coolest experiences in my life.
After the photo, Frank came over to me and said, “Good show kid,” while patting me on the back. Meanwhile, I was overwhelmed by the entire thing. There were so many stars waiting backstage. They were all hoping to see Michael. I doubted that most of them would get to see him, because he usually did his Zorro act and disappeared. I never saw him after a show.
(Tatiana talks about how her and Miko had lunch the next day. Miko wanted her to do Playboy magazine but she declined.)
March 5th we had another great show. Afterwards CBS threw a party in Michael’s honor. I remember seeing one of my favorite actors, Christopher Walken from a distance and being star struck. Joli, Michael’s secretary joined me. She told me that she knew Michael had feelings for me, because he spoke of me often. Yet, she said that she was confused to why he had not responded to my request to speak with him yet. She promised me that she would make the call happen. I was fed up with everyone else telling me that Michael liked me. Everyone but the man himself was telling me that he liked me. I did not get it. It was just not making sense to me. Of course, it felt odd that I could not speak to the guy that supposedly liked me. Still I was thankful for the wonderful experience I was having, and I remained hopeful.
(Tatiana talks about the next day would be her last day in New York and how John Draper said they wanted to rejoin the tour and Atlanta.)
The next day was the last day I was scheduled to perform, and I called Michael’s secretary to ask her if I could talk to him. She gave me his number but told me not to keep him on the phone for too long because he was very tired.
6. As I dialed his number, I felt like I had the worlds winning lotto digits. When I called him, Michael answered the phone, not Bill Bray. It was as if Michael had been expecting my call. I asked him how was he doing and he answered; “Oh fine, I’m just a little tired.” I told him to take it easy and to take care of himself. I brought up our last show together. I apologized to him because I had kissed him on the cheek. I said, “I am sorry if I threw you off in any way,” Mike intervened by saying, “OH! NO! NO! It was fine! It was great! I liked it!.” Then I asked him, “Well would it be all right then if I did it again, and perhaps take it a step further?” He said “Oh sure! That’ll be great!” After all, he would sometimes pull a girl out of the audience and embrace her. Why would a kiss from someone you like be a big deal? I explained to him that fans were always asking, “Why does Michael chase you through this entire video only for a hug?” I then said to Michael, “Well thank you so much for inviting me to be apart of the shows. It has been so exciting. I love being out there with you. It’s a blast.”
When I stepped on-stage, there was there was that roar from the audience again, they were fired up. They truly liked me too, I thought. When I approached Michael, my heart was fluttering. For a few brief seconds, I thought about whether or not I should follow through on the kiss. For some reason I was questioning myself. As I stepped up to him and put my arms around his collar, he looked deep into my eyes, almost as though he was challenging me. Then he did this sexy little thing where he bit his bottom lip. I placed my arm around his waist, and I landed a kiss right on his smacker!
Never for a moment did I feel this was one-sided, as he at this point, put his left hand on my rear. Anyone witnessing this historical event saw that this was a mutual effort. I nearly fell off the stage because of the adrenaline rush in my body.
I walked towards the dressing room and down the hallway afterwards and I ran into Frank Dileo. He had this expression of hard disappointment on his face. His eyes said to me, you have done it now. It was an evil look. Until this day, I bare a scar on my soul from this look, and from the entire experience. He did not say one word to me, and in the past he always said, “Great show kid,” and gave me a pat on the back.
I stood frozen. knowing that something was wrong. Then I reminded myself about the conversation that we had, and that Michael agreed to the kiss.
The next person to greet me was Michael’s mother Katherine. She walked towards me and gave me a big bear hug. I was so touched by this and, for the moment, I forgot about Franks cold evil stare. She actually hugged me. Katherine Jackson put both her arms around me and very warmly hugged me. This meant a lot to me. She later admitted to me that she saw absolutely nothing wrong with us kissing. She approved.
At the hotel after the show, John Draper, the tour coordinator, approached me about signing some forms for the bill and told me that I was to rejoin the tour later. I was standing with John and Miko came at me from no where. He was yelling at the top of his lungs. John and I stood frozen and in shock. Miko was in a rage. He yelled, “How dare you f****** take advantage of him like that! You f****** b****! Who the f*** do you think you are? I cannot believe you are f****** took advantage of him like that in front of all those people.” He kept on and on, and I could hardly get a word in but finally I said as calmly as possible, “Michael and I spoke about it over the phone before the concert. He said it was okay.” He eased up a bit. Then I said, “I would never take advantage of him. It take two to tango you know!” I ran to the elevator, choking up and about to explode in tears. I had never, been so humiliated and embarrassed in my entire life. He showed no diplomacy or class by approaching me in the manner he did. I guess he yelled at me because he thought it was my fault. I could not believe the tabloids did not write about this incident. They love this stuff. Miko apologized to me later that night ans asked me to give him a call before my flight that evening.
7. (Tatiana talks about being hurt by Miko’s remarks but assures herself that everything is fine. She does an interview with Ebony and how she met Rebbie Jackson when she got on the wrong flight. She talks about how she met David Copperfield and danced with him.)
Someone showed me a 45-single of The Way You Make Me Feel with my picture on it. After finding that out I heard about a 1988 Michael Jackson calendar. Again my picture graced the month of May. I was not paid for the use of my picture and image. I asked Julie about it and she had no comment, questions, or professional advise of that matter.
My pal David Banks felt I was being taken advantage of from all around. I’ll never know the facts, but several professional people led me to know that my own agent had not had my best interest at heart, and suggested that she might have taken more of her cut. He could not believe I was paid $5,000 for the tour and a little less than that for the video.
(Tatiana talks about developing Alopecia, a condition caused by trauma and stress and how her hair was falling out)
On April 11th, I appeared on the Tonight Show with host Ross Schaffer. Ross was the host before Jay Leno took over. He asked me, “So are you and Mike really dating?” I replied, “No we’re not. Our relationship is strictly professional.” He insisted, “Oh come on!” I repeated my answer and once again, he insisted with the point that we were dating. I thought I would add a little humor and some mystery so I responded by saying, “No we’re not. Not yet anyway.” It got back to me that Michael did not like my response. Suddenly I was some plotting broad and I was up to no good. I could not believe it. I just could not win.
Two days later, the tour moved to Atlanta, Georgia. That is where I was to join the tour. I was expecting a call.
(Tatiana talks about receiving a cameo appearance in the movie Identity Crisis.)
When I returned to L.A., I received a phone call from John Draper. He wished me a happy birthday and then said, “I’m sorry about what happened to you.” I had no idea what he meant, so I asked “What do you mean what happened to me?” I sensed he was caught off guard. He continued saying I was a sweet girl and he wished me good luck. I still had no idea what he was trying to say to me. I started to worry and think about it everyday. I kept calling Frank Dileo, but he never returned my calls. I called MJJ productions, and they did not return my calls either.
He was basically saying “sorry, you’re fired” without fully coming out and saying it to me. He thought somebody else had already told me. He thought that I knew.
The following week on the 25th, I did a two-day shoot for Elle Magazine. During my interview for the piece, the writer, who shall remain nameless, told me that a friend of his wanted to hire me for a clothing line campaign. He said that his friend had contacted MJJ records to get in touch with me but was told that I was booked, unavailable, and in Europe. Well my friends, I have never been to Europe.
This not only devastated me, I felt as if a knife went through my heart. To think that my idol would do something so cruel was impossible to believe. Could he really be responsible? Would he do something that would damage my life and my career forever? Could it have been people from his camp? Was he aware of what they were doing? I pondered these thoughts for so many months. Of course, I wondered if I had lost other jobs or possible clients like the clothing line without even knowing it. What could I do? What had I done to deserve this? Yet, I could not ignore some of the rumors that floated my way. Someone told me they heard that I was being blackballed. That one really played with my mind.
My agent who had represented me for the tour had nothing constructive to offer about why I was not going back. I had been ”added” to the tour as a trial and Julie had not required any type of contract. She made so many mistakes along this road.
I went through a great battle with depression. I cried often and extremely hard. Then to top it off, I was bombarded with questions “about why someone else was doing my part ?“ People asked me , ”Why aren’t you out there?” ”Why did Michael replace you with her?” All kind of comments came my way, and it hurt so BAD. It hurt too much to be questioned about it as often as I was. It got to where I hated leaving my house. I felt as though I did not want to live.
However, I did experienced many more lessons in the land of Hollyweird.
Later that evening, the telephone rang again. This time I was really surprised. It was the matriarch of the Jackson family.
Michael’s mother called me saying she was very interested and concerned about me. I first spoke with Rebbie for a few minutes and she said that they were concerned about me. They wanted to know why I was fired from Michael’s tour and she stated that her mother wanted to speak with me herself.
Mrs. Jackson got on the line and her voice and sweet yet: it was filled with an enormous amount of concern and anger about the situation. She told me she and the family were going to investigate some things with Michael’s camp.
She comforted me and reassured me that she was going to look into this and some other things. She invited me to her home in Encino. That very day I sent a birthday card to Michael at his office.
The MTV Awards were on September 7th, and I was preparing for Michael because he was nominated for an award but would not be present to accept it as he was still on tour. An MTV producer had received the okay for me to accept an award on Michael’s behalf if he won.
I thought this was weird! I mean, they had just unprofessionally fired me and now agreed for me to accept an award on his behalf. Even thought it was odd , I was absolutely thrilled
Terri took me shopping for the event and bought me the most beautiful dress. I felt like Cinderella, and when that evening rolled around Michael did win the award. As I prepared to go onstage and accept for him, the announcer said , ”Since he could not be here tonight as he’s still on tour, we accept this on his behalf” Well, so much for that! No one informed me of
TR: Did anyone even give you some idea about why you were fired from the tour?
TT: On September 14th I read an article that disturbed me. It basically read:
“Michael ditched his traveling companion, a leggy namely Tatiana because she talked about their friendship to a European publication. Silence, she learned too late, is golden where Michael is concerned”
I knew better than to believe what was written in a tabloid but it bothered me. Anything I ever said about Michael was good or positive. Michael was my hero and my idol, after all. My friend Marie Gabriel sent me another article from the SUN which is Britain’s answer to the National Enquirer. The headline read: “Love shock for Jackson -Sexy sizzler drives Michael wild”.
The story itself read as though we were in love.
Including photos from the famous or should I say, infamous, kiss they copied the National Enquirer story. The quote that Michael gave to the press really blew me away.According to one report they quoted him saying; Jackson stunned concert fans by locking himself into his first public kiss with Thumbzten ”I love her because she’s warm, caring and exciting.” Michael said. This led me to believe that he was falling in love with me.
On the 9th Michael was back in town and I spoke again with Mrs. Jackson on the 14th. She assured me and comforted me once again. She said that I would get an opportunity to speak with Mike and find out what the problem or confusion was. Michael’s family felt this was Frank Dileo’s doing. It was clear: they did not trust his manager. Michael’s mother put me on the telephone with someone working with her and Joseph. He was a real character, named Jerome Howard.
He took an interest in helping me with with my career. My own parents felt some form of relief and hope from all the promises the Jacksons and Jerome Howard made. He talked about the things I should be doing to capitalize on my success-like having my own clothing line, my own calendar, or my own doll. He told me how perfect my face was for a doll and the great success I could have, he promised it would all happen if I stuck with him.
He told me that he was working with them and helping them with their investigation. He admitted to me that Michael’s own parents could not get in touch with him when they wanted to and was there to help find out what happened. Jerome picked me up for my first visit to the compound.
My mother advised me to write Michael a letter during this time and to pass it through my new contacts within the family. I was constantly in touch with Jerome. He called me almost everyday.
When I finally went to the Jackson family home. I could barely believe that I was there.
I had seen photos in magazines like Ebony and Life, and now I was actually there! I was hanging out in the kitchen with Michael’s mother and his sister Rebbie telling them how lonely I was and how I only saw Michael onstage.
Then I told them how Frank and Miko had treated me after the kiss. I expressed everything I had endured and I told them some of the things that I thought were odd. Katherine listened to me with great interest.
She said that she knew her son had real feelings for me because he told her so when we were making our video together. She said that one morning, before the shoot, she found Michael sitting on his bed. He looked troubled about something. She asked him what was wrong.
Michael told her he had real feelings for me and he wanted to know what he should do about it. Katherine said to him, ”Just tell her, and let her know.” She asked me if he had ever told me anything about this or his feelings for me.
I told her no, but everyone told me that he had feelings for me. It was clear to me that she was sad about the situation. She felt that Frank Dileo had something to do with it all. I brought up the fact that Michael had sent A request to my agency for me to audition for the Dirty Diana video, and that Frank discouraged me from doing so. Her response was of more or less ”Ah, ha, you see! You are a threat to him
If Michael falls in love and wants to marry you, then Dileo fears the person Michael is close to could have more value and credibility than he does with Michael.” She made a point I never considered myself. It was interesting that my parents and the Jackson family shared the same theory.
Katherine encouraged me to tour the grounds and she warned me to be careful of the swans out back, telling me that if I go too close they would bite. I remember standing on a little bridge staring down at these swans as the glided in (unreadable) and wishing Michael was there with me.
David Banks told me I was living in a fantasy world but I did not see it yet.
I had a dinner date with the hilarious and talented Eddie Murphy. While on telephone with him I spilled my drink and said, ”Oh hold on I just spilled my Pepsi”.
Why did I say Pepsi? I don’t know because it was a coke. I did not drink Pepsi.
Eddie replied in that distinctive voice ”Oh, You are just all Jackson-ed out”. This was during Michael’s big Pepsi campaign.
In truth, he was right with his analogy, because I was crazy about him.
Family friend Majestic on one of his many visits to my apartment, surprised me once by bringing the actor Corey Feldman with him. I first met Corey when I filmed the video with Michael. Corey asked me why I had not attended the premier of Michael’s new video Moonwalker. We both became embarrassed and we felt awkward. Corey could not understand why Michael did not invite me and neither could ****. Corey was preparing for a show at the Palace in Hollywood and he invited me as his guest. It was a fun show and I recall meeting Soleil Moon Frye from the TV show Punky Brewster. She innocently asked me to tell Michael hello.
I thought how can I do that for her when I can’t even call him myself. Some people believed that we were dating or they all thought that we had some sort of connection.
During this time I was close friend with Matt Leblanc.This was before he scored a part on the sitcom, Friends. We went out a few times, but our physical relationship grew into a friendship. Once his career took off, I felt as though he changed a little. Hollywood and stardom can do that to the best of us.
I do recall Matt fully enjoying my DeNiro stories. I guess it was that Italian mano y mano thing that they shared.
TR: Did Michael’s mother try to put the two of you in contact again?
TT: It was not too long after that Mrs. Jackson took me with her and the family to one of Michael’s shows. It felt good, on one hand, to have his mother in my corner. On the other hand I went from being a part of the show to watching the show.
I guess if I had to go with someone, going with the matriarch of the star himself was not too shabby. Majestic picked me up and drove me out to the Jackson home. When I arrived, I waited in the den. Then, more and more people from the Jackson family arrived.
Rebbie and her children arrived later someone said that she is always the last to show up. Everyone gravitated towards the kitchen. One of Michael’s sisters in law asked her son who I was.
He looked up at me with these big innocent and shy eyes.
At his mom’s insistence he answered in the cutest and sweetest voice, “Tatiana Jackson” Everyone cracked up. I was speechless and I was laughing, but the comment made me nervous. However, I will not deny this was my biggest wish and dream.
The investigator Jerome and the Jackson’s relationship was not going well. From what I heard, he was backstabbing them with deals. That is what Katherine told me. I soon found out that he was shopping for deals for me with a fake demo tape. He was doing the same thing with me that happened to Milli Vanelli.
One time, Jerome and I left the Jackson compound to pick something up at his apartment and he somehow found it appropriate to have a porno channel on while I waited in his living room.
This was the moment I ended his chapter .
Before I knew it, Mr.Jackson approached me about representation. Although I was still working with Terri, everything we did was PR work. I wanted some real jobs. I will not deny the idea of Joseph Jackson managing me swept me off my feet.
I am a huge believer in destiny and I feel we choose our fate in life. I loved my manager, Terri Hartman but this offer from Mr.Jackson was one I felt I could not refuse.
There was more attached to this deal than Terri or anyone else could imagine.
Katherine and Joseph both assured and promised me a visit to the ranch at Neverland Valley to speak to Michael. Therefore this alone played a big part in me wanting to sign with him.
TR: Did you feel that you could trust him?
TT: I had faith in him, perhaps far more than his own family.
I probably had more faith in him than I should have but I felt that without Joe, none of the Jacksons would have been where they were. His dreams and diligence took them so far.
I could not pass on this opportunity. I went to two different attorneys about the calendar and the 45 single. As misfortune would have it, both were afraid of a case against Jackson productions. They told me to consider myself lucky for having worked with the king. They were too afraid to up against someone of his stature and power.
I was penniless and powerless. I was not going to get anywhere with this.
Taking my idol to court and suing him was not in my heart anyway.
Nevertheless I did want to be compensated for what I felt was rightfully mine. Katherine and Joseph seemed so concerned and they wanted to help me professionally and personally.
Someone finally wanted to help me and I was obsessed with following their encouragements and suggestions. I felt I was in the best hands imaginable.
I loved their son.
Majestic approached me initially about Joseph’s interest in managing me and he was also a client, their assistant and houseboy. He was living rent-free in one of their Las Vegas homes.
TR: Did your friends or family feel that it was a good idea to have Joe Jackson as your manager?
TT: My family agreed that it was a good idea to secure the connection because it could help me clear up my issues with Michael. My agent, Julie, already messed up and had not contracted a merchandising agreement.
Nor I had for that matter. We only had a standard Screen Actors Guild contract that was strictly for the video. Most attorney feared going up against someone like Michael and most felt I must had signed something that protected their side. I had not knowingly signed such a document.
TR: Did you decide to sign with Joe Jackson?
TT: When I did come to a decision to sign with Joseph they had me contact one of Joe’s representatives-a man named Ben Brown.
His claim to fame was that he produced one of Michael’s first record, entitled Big Boy. He also took pride in the fact that he still owned the rights to the song which must have been an accomplishment in itself.
Michael owns everything, and it seemed that Michael wanted the rights to that too. Mr.Brown and I met Joseph at a restaurant in Encino. Joseph expressed sincere and positive intent as a manager working on my behalf.
I left the meeting feeling positive and confident that this was the right move for me. Joseph was charming and funny. and I believed I was in good hands. Joe, in a strange way, reminded me of my own parents.
I do not know why, perhaps it was his old school mentality and charm. Nearly two weeks passed and we were still in the contractual stages. The contract was taking this long to be drawn up.
Then, through my ex- boyfriend Angel, I met a female attorney named Terri Bingham. She was anxious and hungry to work on a deal involving a name as important as the Jacksons. She had worked on a record deal with Angel and I trusted his judgement.
That decision came back to slap me in the face later. She turned out to be so conniving and manipulative, that I did not even know what hit me. My mind does not relate to people who can manipulate and calculate with such evilness.
I pride myself in being a good person who would not kill a soul just to get what I want. This girl, well. she would stab you in the back without a thought or pause. I do not know. Maybe nice guys do finish last.
Terri went over the contracts that Mr. Brown sent to her and she agreed to virtually everything. I do not recall her making many changes, if she made any at all. The contract was for five years with a three year extension. I thought eight years was too long, but she told me that it was standard.
The relationship lasted only seven months. I was patient for seven months. Many things went wrong with our partnership and I learned of the lack of respect the entertainment industry has for Joseph and his endeavors.
I did not realize this when I signed with him. People were constantly asking me, ”Why are you signed with him?” Some even were sarcastic and rude when they found out that he was managing me.
They said, ”You’ve got to be kidding?” When it came to business. Michael was highly respected, especially during this time, but his father was not. I was offended when people made negative comments. After all, this was a reflection of my partnership
It was an important time in my career and I did not want any negative light cast on me.
TR:Did Joe get you any work?
TT: There was talk of a movie deal and a recording contract. The first project we were supposed to have done was a movie called Tracer
We even had a meeting with the producers of the film and they hired an acting coach for me to work with, I was on a mental high for months because of this project. I was into the character and the script. I felt confident about its possibilities and I felt physically capable of doing the part. A good five months has passed since I first met with the producers and casting agents. Everyday, every week and every month, Ben Brown had an excuse about the delays. He was constantly telling me to be patient.
Joseph left so much in Mr.Brown’s hands that I often questioned who I was really signed with. I was constantly bringing up the calendar and album to Mr. Jackson reminding him that my financial situation needed to be better.
He always assured me that he was going to investigate it and find out first hand, through Michael, what had happened.
I found that I was asking this question so often with no outcome-that I had to question his relationship with his own son.
I remembered the family complaining that the could not reach Michael when they wanted or even needed him.
After two or three months, Joe told me that Michael had handpicked me for the part in the video.
“What does that have to do with anything? This I already know,” I said.
This was not the question at hand.
I was trying to not be disrespectful when I asked him, ”So, what did he say about the calendar? Or album’?”
Joe brushed it off and said. “These things take time. I need to do more investigation; I’ll be talking to Michael again.”
He was stating that he had Michael on the telephone, which is supposedly hard to do, and he did not use that opportunity to ask him about the things regarding me his client? When I was going to get an answer?
TR: Were you working at all then? Were you still going to auditions?
TT: During this time there was an audition coming up for an LA Gear commercial. Michael had a big campaign with them at the time and my agent wanted me to go up for it. I did audition but they did not pick me.
Several clients did not pick me. They said ”She has that Michael Jackson Girl image.” This worked against me a lot. I auditioned for Pepsi and was told that they already had Michael and did not need another reminder of his image.
I also had a Coke audition and was told that they could not use me because I was a reflection of Michael which could be a conflict of interest.
It seemed that my relationship with Michael was working against me all the time. It was hard enough that I had a look that makes it difficult to know what category to place me in, now I had another obstacle that worried me, I had the ”Michael Jackson Girl” image strapped to my back.
I even heard at music video auditions that “We’re sorry. We are looking for a new face, and you are a little too famous.” Some of the videos were for new recording artists. Their managers or the label were concerned that I was too recognizable.
They thought that I was going to steal the thunder from their artist altogether . There was a new band on the scene during this time called the Dan Reed Network. They wanted to use me in one of their videos but I believe it was not booked because of finances.
… the lead singer wrote a song about me, and he named it after me. I was honored to say the least, and if you are still out there, I thank you! I was deeply touched and I loved the song.
During this time, my mother called and told me that my first dance teacher, Beatriz de Paris, was organizing an Alumni Salute for me in Clearwater, Florida. It was to be a special dinner in my honor saluting my achievements.
They wanted to present me with the key to the city of Clearwater which is my hometown. I was honored beyond words but I did wonder why they had picked me. I felt as though this was an honor that should be given to someone who had accomplished much more than I had.
I felt this was premature and I just did not quite feel worthy. The event was all prearranged and planned so I was obligated to follow through on their time schedule. Mr. Jackson scheduled an important meeting for me at the same time, …
…and my teacher was very annoyed at the thought of me not attending. I received so much press promoting the event that classmates from many of my classes called me to say hello and congratulations. I even had relatives that I didn’t know call to say hello!
It was all interesting and odd. The press was calling my mother and asking questions. I was weird to be in my skin sometimes, I cannot say that I was always comfortable with it.
You see, I had not changed, but it seemed the way people felt about me had changed. When I arrived, I could not believe my eyes. There was a full house – the room was packed! My teacher and the mayor presented me with the key to the city of Clearwater.
When I returned to Los Angeles I helped with a children’s charity that Mr.Jackson was involved in. I drove to Las Vegas — the event site- with Mr.Brown with another one of Joseph’s clients: a small Asian girl named Mihoko who was a singer.
We checked into a hotel for the first evening with plans to spend the night after the event at the Jackson’s Vegas home.
When we arrived at the house, Mihoko walked in and immediately rushed to one of the rooms and put her bags down.
Mrs. Jackson complained to me about this saying that she planned for me to stay in this room Mihoko had chosen.
I found Mihoko to be a bit disrespectful to the Matriarch, but she was good at kissing up to Mr.Jackson. It was obvious that he liked the attention. I could not help but feel there was more to the relationship than meet the eye and I could tell Mrs. Jackson felt the same.
Later that evening, Majestic and I watched television with Katherine. I felt more comfortable around her than Joseph. He was a bit too hard and stern at times.
Majestic asked me “Wouldn’t she be a great mother-in-law?” and he was right. She always appeared to have a soft and sweet side to her. She loves to play board games and is especially good at scrabble.
The entire group was scheduled for a charity event at a park located near the Jackson house. The event was not at all what I had expected. I had a feeling I was at a family barbecue. This was my first visit to Las Vegas and I was excited about seeing the nightlife-the bright lights, casinos, and slot machines. Mrs. Jackson did not go with us on my first adventure of Vegas and we planned to go back to the hotel after the event.
When we arrived at the hotel I ran right into Miko Brando. This was the first time I saw him since my Bad tour days and we shared a brief moment of awkward pleasantries. I did not occur to me until later that Michael was probably in town and staying in the same hotel.
Once this hit me, I knew that someone would tell Michael that I was in the hotel. After all, Miko was his personal assistant. I mentioned this to Mr. and Mrs. Jackson but they didn’t have a comment.
On my last day there, Majestic told Katherine that I wanted to see a Vegas show. Katherine and I started talking about the possibility of going to a show together, and the two of us staying another day. Joseph walked in as we were having this conversation and unfortunately, he did not like it one bit.
Before I knew it Joseph requested that Mr.Brown and I join him in the room in which I was staying. Joseph told me that he was the who had initially invited me not – not Katie- and that I should have asked him about this first.
He also said that if I wanted to come back with her on another trip that was fine but I was not going to add an evening with her or be staying another night.
I am extremely sensitive and because of the way he handled this. with such a harsh tone in his voice I started to choke up a bit and cry. Oddly enough, I somehow felt that I understood the inspiration behind Janet Jackson’s hit song Control.
I felt I was experiencing her words firsthand. When the three of us came out of the room, where I had been chewed out, I did my best not to lose it and not cry in front of Katherine, but felt the tears welling up.
Sitting next to her, I wanted to let it all go and cry in her arms. I trusted and felt so comforted by her and I wanted to stay another day with her. In the end, we both submitted to the pressure. We did not say a word to each other.
TR: What made you decide to submit (in your words) to Joseph? He was not your father and you were a grown woman.
TT: I followed through with Joseph’s original plan to leave the following day. I assumed Katherine knew why. It was clear he controlled everything.It was obvious that Katherine took the backseat on this as well.
About one week after we returned to LA, there was a big party held at the Jackson home in Encino. It was a celebration for several of Joseph’s clients and projects myself included.
One of his babies’ was a soft drink called Joe Cola.
To my complete surprise, my ex-attorney, Terry Binghaum was at the party. She was the one who had admitted to me a week earlier that she was elated in meeting me because she only wanted to get to the Jacksons.
She said to me ”I never cared about you as a client. You were my link to get to them. I always wanted to be connected to the Jacksons. ” Well, now she was connected.
Majestic told me that she was working on several projects with Joseph. She was even working on one that involved Michael. I could not believe it. I knew Katherine disliked and did not trust her.
Majestic told me that Katherine had asked him, ”Where did Tatiana find her? Why did she ever bring her around?” The whole thing was such a joke. My attorney had used me to get to my future manager.
Then, when he became my manager, she admitted to me that she had used me to get to them and then jumped off my ship to join his. The whole thing made me sick! I was so disappointed. The whole situation was such a farce. I was frustrated beyond words about my career.
It seemed obvious that if she admittedly used me to get to the Jackson family that she had not negotiated my contract to protect me. I realized that I signed my career and my life away. This was when I realized it was all a joke. It was time to do something. As difficult as it would be. It was time to move on.
TR: Did you have any income at all then? How did you pay your bills?
TT: During this time I got a job at the China Club. Everyone in the industry went in this hot spot. It was “The Club”.- I was the coat check girl; so I greeted all the guests and knew who was there. There were many celebrities who were regulars: Sylvester Stallone, Eddie Murphy, Paul Stanley from KISS, Richard Greico, David Bowie, Julian Lennon-the list of celebrities was long. The China Club was the first place that an artist like Bruce Willis would jam with an artist like Elton John. It was a fun place to work.
Mondays and Thursdays were the hottest nights. The nights that celebrities showed up and jammed live onstage. One night, Scott Baio came in and flirted heavily with me. I could not believe it! He was overwhelming and I could not even flirt back because I was in awe of him!
He was just a dream to me. I always had a crush on him but I was too shy to respond to him. I think he got the impression that he did not faze me or that I did not like him. However, it was just the opposite. He was all that.
After working at the club for about a month. I invited Mr. Jackson and Mr. Brown to be my guests. After all, it was Joseph’s idea that I get a normal job . My friends at the club, however felt that as my manager he should have had me working as an actress. They did not think that I should have to work as a coat check girl. People wondered why my career was standing still when in fact it should have been on the rise.
We arranged to meet at the club on my night off.
I was not told who would be picking me up: I hoped it would be Joseph, since he was my manager. He told me he wanted to support my efforts especially since he advised me to get a job to supplement my income until one of our projects took off.
Early on, the evening’s wires got crossed. Joseph, Ben and even Terry went to the club without me. I planned the entire evening and I ended up at home alone wondering what had happened to my guests.
I guess the joke was on me. Mr. Jackson later complained to me how Terry had to wait alone at the club entrance. I could not believe what I was hearing. I had put his name, and mine, on the guest list plus two guests. Terry was his guest and Mr. Brown was mine.
At this point, I realized what and who his priorities were. Terry’s new found relationship with Mr.Jackson was a conflict of interest and I decided to cut off contact with her. After I signed with Mr.Jackson, and prior to the party, her attitude towards me could only be described as nasty. I had witnessed a major change in her.
When we first met, she appeared to be sweet and kind to me. Once she got in with Mr.Jackson, and began working on deals with him, she became very dictatorial. Majestic told me that she went to Las Vegas as Joseph’s guest.
I knew that things were not right with my camp. My ship was sinking and I had no answers
I met Rob and Fab from the group Milli Vanelli around this time. Rob and I became friends and even dated for a brief (unreadable)
He could not believe, like many others, that I was under management with Joseph Jackson. Rob told me about a meeting he and Fab had with Jospeh and Joseph supposedly approached them with a music deal. Rob offered to help me get out of my contract with Joseph but instead I would opt for someone’s else advice and guidance.
That someone else was Robert DeNiro.
On a night off from the China Club, I received a phone call from one of my bosses Danny. He was also one of the owners of the club. He told me that he wanted me to come in the following evening-also my night off. When I asked why, he said that Robert DeNiro had been in to the club and had seen my head shot hanging in the office. I gave this photo to my bosses when they hired me. Danny said that Robert wanted to meet me.
I was silent and just sat there listening to him. I guess because I was keeping cool about this information Danny got persistent saying, “Hey! I am talking about Robert De Niro. You should make an effort to meet him.
He could help your career. You never know. Maybe he will put you in one of his films!”
I did not jump all over the idea. Antonio had warned me about Bobby years before saying, “Tatiana don’t you ever get involved with Bobby.He is Toukie’s man, and she’ll kick your butt” Bobby and Toukie Smith had been an item for years. Toukie was at one time a model.
We had something in common. She was a former model, and she was making the transition from modeling to acting. Her first big break was in the film Salsa.
I also did not trust the idea that DeNiro would put me in one of his films. I did not want a part just because someone liked me or wanted to help me. I did not trust or believe it was that simple and easy.
I agreed to show up and I brought one of my girlfriends, Angela Alvarado, who was an actress and a beautiful, tall Puerto Rican girl.
When Angela and I arrived at the club, we asked Danny about De Niro at least three times. Danny acted busy, and as if he did not know what I was talking about. By the fourth inquiry, he said that he was not sure if DeNiro had even arrived yet.
Angela and I thought that was too odd. The owner of the Club would know if one of the world’s greatest actors was in his club or not. A few seconds after asking Danny about De Niro Angela and I spotted him at a table sitting with another guy and two other women. How weird that Angela and I were asking Danny if De Niro had arrived and there he sat in the roped off, VIP section with a small party of three.
I also thought it was odd that two other women were there since Danny had made it clear he had invited me on some kind of date. This kind of scenario was somewhat typical stuff that happens in Hollywood. Whe the women finally left, Angela and I introduced ourselves and joined the De Niro and his male guests.
We told him honestly that we had been asking Danny about his whereabouts and Bobby acted as though he did not know who Danny was, saying, ”Danny? Who is Danny? I don’t know a Danny ”
Angela knew that this was some kind of game and she said to me, ”Oh this is such total bullshit! Now suddenly he does not know who Danny is!” De Niro did not catch on to what she said nor did he comment on Angela’s remark. I was so glad I had Angela with me.
She was the kind of friend you knew had your back in times of real need. She did as much on many occasions. Ironically, Angela starred in a film with Bobby fourteen years later called, Showtime.
I am sure she thought about the days she shared with me at the China Club. I doubt though that she reminded Bobby that she was the girl who remarked. ”This is total bullshit T.” I was happy to see that she had accomplished one of her dreams as I remember her saying that she wanted to work with him someday.
I believe that when you conceive a dream you can achieve it. We can will whatever we want in life. We just have to foresee the dream and work hard.
I am proud and happy that she was able to bring one of her dreams to fruition.
TR: So what did you and Robert DeNiro talk about?
TT: We made small talk for a while and I told DeNiro that I admired and respected his work. For some reason I told him that I never wanted to change the image I held of him.
My instinct made me say this to him. It was almost like a prediction, somehow. Unfortunately, when I look back on tarnished relations and disappointments I have had with people I was correct in saying this to him. I did not care about his status as the world’s biggest star. The bottom line was that he was just another man made of God’s likeness.
Bobby told me with complete confidence that he was going to phone me later at home to see if I got in all right.
I told him that he did not even have my phone number yet.Then I thought, how cocky and arrogant. He assured me that he did have it, and that he would call.
Angela and I ended up staying at the club for at least an hour dancing and socializing.
TR: Did he call you that night as he said he would?
TT: When I got home, it only took five minutes for the phone to ring. Yes, it was DeNiro.
Somehow, I was still stunned that he called so quickly, even though he did tell me that he was going to. Danny never admitted to me that he gave him my number, but then again, he never admitted to me that he was in the club either.
On one hand, I was touched that he was calling, but on another hand, I felt like Danny had ‘arranged’ the situation much like he would with a call girl or something. I mean, why didn’t DeNiro just ask me for my number himself?
Why did the two of them act as though they didn’t know each other? I felt like a Christmas goose that was being prepared for the feast.
TR: What did you and DeNiro talked about during your phone conversation?
TT: During the phone conversation. Bobby was kind and sweet. He said he was pleased to see that I got home all right, and that he wanted to get together with me sometime to talk. He asked if he could call me the next day.
I told him that I would be home in the afternoon and to call me then. The following morning at 10.00 a.m. he called. It took me by surprise a bit, but it did make an impression on me. It was a sweet good morning, hello call.
DeNiro called again later in the afternoon . he told me that he was headed back to New York for a few days but that he would love to take me out for lunch and when he returned, he
came to my home to pick me up. I then lived in the San Fernando Valley. When he walked into my apartment, he immediately noticed a huge painting that Antonio had done of me.
This was a special piece to me and when People magazine wrote an article on Antonio in 1982, they included the painting. Bobby recognized the painting right away and I knew that he would, because his girlfriend Toukie has also worked with Antonio.
In fact, she and I had worked together on a job with Antonio that was for the designer Hormel. My cat, Magic Michael made his presence known, darting out of nowhere and jumping on Robert. I thought it was funny and I cracked up. When Robert pointed out the Antonio he mumbled that he was familiar with his work. I waited to see if he was going to make any comment about Toukie and their relationship. I did not know where there relationship stood but he never said anything about it.
Antonio’s advice to me about not getting involved with Toukie’s man cruised through my memory bank. Antonio had warned me, as if he knew my turn with De Niro would come someday.
It was a known fact that Bobby loved women of color. DeNiro was not the greatest conversationalist, but he was sweet and charming. For some crazy reason I felt comfortable enough to disclose my problems and my concerns about my contract with Michael’s father.
There were moments when he looked into my eyes and I felt his concern were genuine.
TR: Where did you and De Niro go on your date?
TT: We went to Residuals it was a little place frequented by the people in the industry and near my apartment. It was a very nice first date. He was concerned that someone was going to recognize him but no one did. As odd as that sounds, he was not in disguise at all.He did not have a hat on, or dark sunglasses. Our waitress didn’t even know who he was. He did wear reading glasses, but they just made him look nerdy and unrecognizable. On our second date Robert took me out to a Japanese restaurant in downtown Chinatown.
It was a pleasant date and we began a friendship.
The following day I called a friend of mine an attorney named Gary Walterstein. I met him when I had been under management with
Terri Hartman and worked with him during this time I was doing the demo records. I asked Gary for advice and assistance about my contract with Joe. I got two different attorneys advice, and both of them had said that the agreement was binding and it would be not easy to get out of it. I worried myself sick about it. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck into a contract with someone who did nothing for my career. Close to six months had passed and Mr.Jackson and Ben Brown had done nothing for my career. The only thing I received was ridicule and sarcastic comments from people about my contract. I was beginning to realize that I had been better off with my last manager Terri Hartman.
She actually did a good job for me and I would eventually thank her for everything she has done. The main reason that I signed with Joe was that there were so many unanswered questions I had for Michael. Answers that Joe had promised me he would find out the answers to.
Majestic relayed a message to me that he heard that Michael’s response to me signing with Joseph was, ”She can’t be that stupid!”
I could not believe what I was hearing.
”Michael said that?” I asked.
I never knew for sure if he did or not. I never knew what the truth was. When I asked Majestic, ”When and where did you hear that?” he would not disclose how he knew.
I was getting fed up with all the rumors and the gossip. It seemed to me there was some communication between Michael and his parents but none of them would put me in touch with him as they promised me. Joseph’s reply always was, ”These things take time.”
Bobby and I talked again around this time as he was in town for a few weeks. He was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel and he phoned one evening, insistent that I come and visit him. He asked me about the contract giving me the impression that he could find someone to help me, or that he would help me find an attorney. I was at home with a girlfriend named Kookie,and neither one of us felt like moving, We were comfortable at home together, just chatting.
I told Bobby that I did not feel like going out, but he was very persistent ”Oh come one! Just for a while,”he said.
Most women , I guess, would think I was crazy or out of my mind to say no to someone like DeNiro. I think that was one reason
he liked me. I was a challenge for him and my guess is that most women fell at his feet. Michael was the one who held the key to my heart. When I look back on everything now. I missed a few good men because of my feelings for Michael.
I have no regrets though. You have to be open and ready for things as they come. Open I was not, and ready? Mentally preoccupied was more like it.
TR: did you meet him or did you decline?
TT: I told Bobby that I would think about it and get right back to him As soon as we hung up the phone and it was Bobby again pleading ”Just a little while, bring your friend too. I don’t care,” he said. Kookie and I arrived at the hotel around 9:30 p.m Bobby had a friend with him who announced about fifteen to twenty minutes later that he needed a ride to his car. Of Course, he directed this question to my girlfriend Kookie. She and I just looked at each other like, okay, but we had expected the set up. Kookie was concerned and wanted to know if I wanted her to stay, asking me if I would be okay. I reassured her to go ahead and that I would take a cab home. I did feel comfortable with Robert and I did need to speak with him.
Once Kookie left, we spoke about the contract which I brought with me. Robert asked ”Why do you even have a manager for acting? All you need is an agent”, He argued this fact, insisting ”why and why Joe Jackson?”
I remember Bobby having a sarcastic expression on his face acting out the craziness of it all; saying that Mr.Jackson’s status and profile was low on the industry’s totem of respect. He told me that Michael was a great entertainer and performer and that he was even weird but that Joe was a total joke. I agreed that I was not knowledgeable about what I gotten myself into although, it did bother me a bit that he called Michael weird.
I somehow agreed and I thought that he might be right. After all geniuses are a bit weird. He mentioned knowing Dileo, Michael’s manager and how they were friends.
I reminded Bobby about the calendar and album and that I had not been paid for any of it.He then brushed it all off by telling me that I needed an attorney’s help.
It was obvious that it was all too much to be bothered with at this moment. Before I knew what hit me, Bobby wrapped his arms around me in
a lock and hold position. I felt as though an octopus was attacking me. I demanded that he let me go of me or I was going to punch him. He started laughing and he let go of me. I started to see his real intentions and I told him that this was all a farce. He did not care about helping me.
He suddenly got serious, and he apologized. However, that lasted for only five minutes and it was back to ”Octopussy”. His arms wrapped around me again and I was a little enraged and I threatened to leave if he did not shape up.
He stopped for long enough that it made me decide to stay a few minutes more. Bobby then excuse himself and he said that he wanted to change into something more comfortable.I felt as though I was in an old movie and that he was reading a line from ascript. You know, usually the woman is the one that says ”Let me go change into something comfortable.” Within seconds, he came prancing out in a thick Beverly Hills Hotel robe.
He assured me that nothing was going to happen, and that he was not going to harm me . He said all of this as he was pulling me into the bedroom. I asked him back by saying:
”Oh, I know. Nothing is going to happen because I will kick your ass, if you try anything”
Suddenly, I was in my tough girl New York mode. He laughed and found it all amusing, and I thought he was being silly and playful. Never did I feel threatened or scared, if anything Bobby amused me with it all.
Suddenly Bobby jumped onto the bed and started acting like a little kid, jumping up and down. I could not believe my eyes. Here was the Great Robert DeNiro jumping up and down on a bed flashing me as his robe flew open.
Somehow I just could not get into the moment. I had arrived with a mission in mind, to find a resolution to this damn contract. I am a Taurus and we can be serious at times. This was one of those times. I demanded that he call me a cab.I told him that it was all ridiculous and a joke!
When Bobby hung up the phone from calling a cab, I asked him.”What would you do if there was a fire right now?” Until this day I have no idea why or where that question came from. Bobby replied ”Well, I guess I would run out of here!”
I then replied, everyone who saw you would say, “There goes DeNiro, what a little weenie!” Yeah, I know, it was a bad choice of words, but you have to understand I was frustrated with these games. I wanted some advice
and help with this contract. I was not in the moment or mood for this playful crap and I felt he was making light of it all, and he was. Why I chose the word ”Weenie” I do not know it. It flew right into my mouth. As I used the word. I meant he was weenie, but I am sure he thought I was speaking about his anatomy. That was not what I meant! That was completely intact, in all honesty. I made the comment to distract him and turn his motor off.
It had worked and I was on my way home.
TR: Were you not attracted to him? Is that why you did not want to talk about more than the contract?
TT: I found Bobby very attractive but my head was just not in the mental place that he was.
I guess he viewed me as playing hard to get, but I was not. He was beginning to do exactly what I initially feared and expressed at our first meeting. He was tarnishing my respect for him and changing the image that I held of him.
TR: Did you talk to him again after that night?
TT: He phoned me several times the following day, as I assumed he would. I screened my calls until I was ready to discuss what happened and when
we did speak he was extremely apologetic and a true gentleman. All was forgiven. I had agreed to call him later that afternoon but something came up, and I did not get home until much later.
Keep in mind this was the day before cell phones and the luxury of constantly being in touch. So, when I did finally come home there were five messages from Bobby-one after another and with each messages he grew more and more angry.
By the fifth message, my mouth was hanging open from the shock because of his tone and the words he was using.
TR: What did he say?
TT: The first message was upbeat and friendly. He said ” Hey Tatiana its Bobby. Call me when you get in.” The second message he said “Hey, it’s Bobby again. I am just calling to see if you are in yet. Call me. I’ll be here.” In the third message he said, ”Yeah, its me again. Where are you? You said you would call me and I am waiting to hear from you. Call me when you get in.” By the fourth call he got a bit irate and his tone of voice was not pleasant. He said ”Hey, where the fuck are you? I can’t fucking believe
you haven’t called me yet. You said you would call me, and I think its pretty fucken rude that you keep me waiting. You said you would call”. The fifth call was the final straw, and it blew me away. I le said, “I just can’t believe that haven’t fucken called me back yet.”
TR: Did you finally call him back?
TT: I immediately called him and gave him a piece of my mind. I apologized for not calling him as I promised, but told him he had no right to leave such profane messages on my machine, and that I wasn’t his wife or girlfriend and I didn’t owe him anything.
Before I knew it, we were making plans to go to the movies.We went to see Pretty Woman. After the film, I told Bobby that unlike the character in the movie I hadn’t found my prince charming in him. I broke it off with him. Call me stupid, but I didn’t have feelings for him and I was not about to use him or any other man to try to further my career.
I felt confident enough in myself and I always wanted to succeed on my own merit.
I have tons of pride, and a healthy amount of self-respect. When I got outside of his Mercedes, I never looked back.
Most women , I guess, would think I was crazy or out of my mind to say no to someone like DeNiro. I think that was one reason he liked me. I was a challenge for him and my guess is that most women fell at his feet.
Michael was the one who held the key to my heart.
When I look back on everything now. I missed a few good men because of my feelings for Michael.
I have no regrets though. You have to be open and ready for things as they come. Open I was not, and ready? Mentally preoccupied was more like it.
Tatiana was under contract with Joe Jackson and she tried to find a way out. She talks to him for advice.
Kookie, who is mentioned once is a friend of Tatiana. They were together when DeNiro called and asked Tatiana to come see him at his hotel room. He told her she can bring her friend if she wanted to.
141 (The BRE Awards in 1989)
The creative consultant for the Black Radio Exclusive Awards show, Ingrid Woodson, called me.
She said that Michael was being awarded the outstanding achievement in the ”Pop, Rock and Soul” categories.
He won the ”Triple Crown Award” which is the highest honor of the evening. Ingrid said that she wanted me to be part of the show-to present the award to Michael.
Finally, it seemed I would have an opportunity to see and speak to Michael. I looked at this as if it was God’s doing. I spoke with the producers several times over the next two weeks.
What I did not know at the time was that Ingrid was familiar with all the industry gossip that surrounded Michael and me.
She also knew about me being fired from the Bad Tour. Ingrid told me that she felt that an injustice was committed towards me and that she had heard and felt that Michael cared very much about me. Ingrid felt I was the underdog. She said that there must have been a misunderstanding between us and wanted to help.
As I listened to her over the phone saying all of this to me, I felt deeply touched that she cared so much and wanted to help me. I was beginning to regard her as a “Guardian Angel” of sorts.
It is rare in Hollywood to find people who care enough to want to do something positive to help you especially behind the scenes. Ingrid’s view on the situation surrounding Michael and me was very rare.
Her views reminded me of what his parents and my parents thought. Ingrid said that she heard from many people in the industry that Michael cared for me, but she felt his professional camp had taken control of the situation by brainwashing him and telling him lies about me.Ingrid wanted to give us the opportunity to work together again and she wanted us to get together and speak one on one.
I invited Joe Jackson as my guest. Joe said ”We already know about the show and the entire family has tickets to it.I will check my schedule and see what else I have to do. I will try to come” He did not seem enthused and his lack of interest hurt my feelings.
The show was held at the Universal Amphitheater on May 28th, 1989.
I put a lot of thought and preparation into my image for the award. I wanted to emulate the old days of Hollywood, when the stars were truly glamorous. I used Rita Hayworth as my inspiration and I wore the long white gown Terri Hartman had bought for me.
I styled it with long white satin gloves and silver pumps that sparkled with rhinestones. I was glamour at its finest. When I arrived at the theater,I reported in to the producers and we had dinner in the green room. There was nearly an hour before the show started and the producers had me wait with the other performers and presenters in a special waiting room, separating me from the two friends I had bought as my guests.
Ben Brown, my assistant manager had come in Joe Jackson’s place. This really disappointed me and while Ben and I waited around, someone from the media snapped a few photos of us and then teamed me with Little Richard.
He is one of the original creators and innovators of rock and roll. He inspired Elvis, Prince, Michael and Terence Trent Darby. To me, Little Richard is the king of Rock and Roll. As a little girl he captivated me. His good looks, style, hair, and the way he tore up a piano was too cool, and unlike anyone else out there. When Prince came along it was like deja vu. To me, Prince was the spitting image of Little Richard but in a different time. Little Richard was way ahead of himself.
We finished the photos and it was close to show time. I was on stand-by and I started getting nervous. When I was walking backstage, I felt confident that things would finally be resolved for me And I would finally have some peace of mind after speaking to Michael.
As I waited to present the award, I dazed out onto the stage and watched the singing group ”Surface” perform. Quincy Jones was standing not too far away from me and he too was a part of the special presentation for Michael.
My original entrance was to be stage right, but just a few minutes before Ingrid told me to walk across to stage left, changing the original plan.
As we got halfway across, I heard someone saying something through a walkie-talkie to the person escorting me, who was Ingrid’s husband. It was so muffled that I could not make a complete sense of the voice at the other end. What I did hear was ”Michael something, something. ..Tatiana.”
I was so excited at the time and I was walking with a big smile on my face. I was so elated about being there and having this opportunity to talk and see Michael that I did not really listen to what was being said.
My smile and good mood were about to change. I began to feel very confused. I asked my escort what was going on and he replied ”Nothing!” He looked as bewildered and confused as I was. Then he muttered ”I don’t know. They just asked me to go back to our original entrance.”
I realized that my escort was too kind to reveal what was really said because he did not want to hurt my feelings. In time, found out the missing words in the puzzle.
As we walked back to the other side of the stage, I was so dumbfounded over what had just happened that I could barely focus on what we were doing. My cue finally arrived and I started to walk towards the stage then someone said ”No! No !NO! yet!” I stopped in my tracks. Then someone said ”OK Go!” I felt the warmth of the glowing spotlight hit me and sensed the surprise of the audience as they yelled and applauded. I was so nervous and I kept thinking about possibly dropping the award. I though ”Please, T, do not drop this award whatever you do.”
The award was heavy and I remember wondering how much it actually weighed. No one warned me before hand that it was going to be heavy and it felt to be at least forty or fifty pounds. It was obvious that the
award was too heavy for me-you could see the strain in my arms as I carried it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered the few awards I had won when I was a little child ; one for gymnastics and one for a limbo contest.
But that was kid stuff and this was the big leagues. Award shows and awards themselves did not get any grander then this event and I was presenting an award to the world’s greatest star.
I loved and adored Michael and I was once again participating in the making of his history. As I stood before Michael he was smiling. I stretched out my hands to honor him with his award and to relieve myself from its weight .
When he took the awards out of my hands, he walked to the microphone to begin his speech. At one moment when the audience was applauding, he turned to me and told me how surprised and happy he was to see me and that he’d had no idea that I was going to be there.
I flinched in response and said ”Oh really? I was told you knew.” My response jumped out of me spontaneously and I did not even have a chance to think about what I was going to say. He turned back to the microphone and towards the audience to finish his speech.
I though he was behaving strangely but did not quite know why. Somehow, I just felt Michael was not being sincere. He was not being honest with me somehow but I could not imagine why.
I stood on stage near Quincy Jones and the executive producer of the show, Mr .Sidney Miller. Michael’s speech ended and he walked off stage and left me behind.
I just stood there dumbfounded and numb.
The audience showed their disapproval as they echoed a series of oooooohhs and ahhhhhhs. They broke my trance. This was not a televised event but if it had been, perhaps he would not have left me on the stage alone. I found it especially odd since he had just expressed how surprised and happy he was to see me
Yet, here he was leaving me on stage as I was following behind him. It just did not add up or make any sense to me. Once we passed the curtains, out of view of the audience,
his security surrounded him quickly-as if they were shielding him from all who tried to approach him. Before I knew it, I could no longer see him in view and he was gone.
Outside the theater, I saw the large trailer that was set up for him:
roped off by his security team. I spotted Mr.Brown and waited with him. I told him how badly I wanted to speak to Michael and how he had been rushed away before I could even talk to him. Ben encouraged me and told me to go for it!
I mustered up all the power and determination within me and I told myself that I was not going to let this opportunity slip through my hands. I was within feet of him and I had to fight for this moment. I had to talk to him to find out why I was fired from the tour. What had I done to deserve that? Why did Sheryl Crow replace me? I just had to try to find out the answers or die doing so.
When I approached his trailer I had butterflies in my stomach. I was far more nervous than I had been on stage with him. I had all the words that I wanted to say running rapidly through my head.
I approached the gate and I asked Bill Bray, Michael’s assistant
if he could please relay to Michael that I would like a moment with him. He told me that he would see what he could do.
While I stood there, Alfonzo Ribeiro and Ricky Shroeder also waited to see Michael. Ricky was the child star from the sitcom Silver Spoons. I talked to them for few minutes and before I knew it, they were admitted inside Michael’s trailer. After around ten minutes Alfonzo and Ricky came out of the trailer where I was still left feeling very alone.
I stood there starring at Bill Bray patiently but I felt like some sort of peasant. I felt like something less than a peasant.
Before I knew it, Bill yelled ‘’Well hurry up! If you are coming, come on! We do not have all day! We’ve got another award to get.”
I stood looking at him stunned and shocked. I just could not believe he was talking to me like that. I turned back to look at Mr.Brown to see if he had seen this, I just could not believe how he spoke to me in front of everyone that was there.
He spoke to me as if I were trash. Yet, Alfonzo and Ricky were greeted so nicely. I was so embarrassed and humiliated that I wanted to cry. However, there was simply no time for tears.
Here was my moment, my long awaited cue and I was going to get some questions answered from Michael. When I walked towards Bill, I passed the entrance gate and the door to Michael’s trailer flung open. I assumed and imagined that I would go
inside the trailer to talk to him. That is what I hoped for anyway, but Michael walked out of his trailer and he stood before me.
He kept repeating exactly the same words to me that he said on stage. as though he had been scripted.
He said ”Oh Tatiana! It is so good to see you! I had not idea you were going to be here.” It was like an instant replay, and it was so weird.
I said, ”Michael, I would really like to talk to you.”
Right after I said that, Bill Bray grabbed Michael’s arms and pulled him away saying, ”We gotta go!”
They did this as if they planned it. It reminded me of what Majestic told me about Michael always having other people bail him out of situations that he did not want to be a part of. Basically Michael did not want to look like the bad guy.
Michael closed with. “Oh well! I gotta go, sorry!”
I just stood there in shock, and once again, I was alone. Obviously, he did not want to talk to me but I was being treated so disrespectfully for no valid reason.
Why would Michael not let me talk to him? Why did he keep repeating the same comment to me? Why did he leave me onstage alone? The biggest question was why did he tell me he had no idea that I was going to be there when he did know?
The producer told me that he was aware of the entire show including the monologue. I was feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin, embarrassed and rejected. I told myself that it was time for me to move on.
I turned around and I walked back towards Mr. Brown. Even though I felt ridiculous and stupid, I tried to carry myself with complete and utter confidence. I tried to regain my dignity, self-respect, and composure.
I was speechless for awhile , but I felt as though Ben sensed my pain and disappointment.
I told Ben that I did not get a chance to speak to Michael and , of course he had seen the entire thing. He knew what I was feeling and what really happened.
Ben and I went back into the theater to watch the rest of the show.
I heard someone whisper as I walked to my seat ”Ooooh… There she is!” Hearing the worst in that statement. I wanted to go home.
TR: What happened when you did go home?
TT: My girlfriends tried to help me make sense of it all but there was no comfort to be found. For the next two weeks this disturbed me. I kept searching for answers within myself and I could not stop crying.
TR: Did you talk to Mr or Mrs. Jackson about what happened at the
TT: I told Mr. and Mrs. Jackson about my experience and that I did not get a chance to speak to Michael or get any of my questions aswered. I explained the Bill Bray story, how her had spoken to me, and how I had been treated.
Joseph made a remark about Bill that made it obvious that he disliked Bill and said that had he been at the awards with me none of that would have happened: I would have been able to speak with Michael. Katherine also said that she did not trust Bill.
I remember asking myself what possible good their comments would do for me now. Perhaps they were in the dark but I felt as though they knew more than they were telling me.
TR: Did you speak to Ingrid about the show?
TT: Ingrid called to thank me for the being part of the show and she apologized for the way I had been treated. I knew at the time of the show as it was perhaps obvious to others that Michael did not want to talk to me, but now it was confirmed.
”I don’t know what happened to you on tour but I heard a lot of different things and felt there were other people around Michael trying to keep you out. I thought I could help you two get together so you could talk.”
Ingrid said that she just really wanted to help and she was sorry how the whole thing turned out and how badly Michael had treated me.
My curiosity grew when she admitted she was aware of the cold treatment I received. I felt she knew more and my instincts were correct.
I begged her to tell me what she knew and it took a lot of coaxing before she did. I said that whatever she had to tell me would not hurt anymore than I have already been hurt. She finally told me that as she had been organizing the event she called Michael’s publicist Bob Jones.
He told her that he had some concerns about me being involved with the presentation. She told me his comment was ”Tatiana, she’s only a dancer! Why is she involved in this? Is she going to speak?”
Ingrid told me that she said ”No! She is just going to be presenting him the award.” He asked her, ”Why does she have to be in it at all?” Ingrid told me she reasoned with Bob and that she stated that
because we worked together before it would be a nice moment in the show and that the audience would enjoy this as well. When I worked with Michael, it not only catapulted my career and brought me into the public eye but it helped his image to some degree. It validated his masculinity to those who doubted it and fans often said that we were the perfect match and a believable pair.
Ingrid continued to explain the situation to me adding that Bob decided that they would go along with this idea as long as I was to present and not speak. It really hurt me to think that Bob Jones said such a thing about me when he did not even know me. Ingrid’s information was enlightening.
What I learned was that Michael knew that I was involved with the show yet he had said repeatedly that he was surprised to see me and that he had no idea I was going to be there. My instinct that his sincerity was not real was correct.
I hated to believe this. Oh, how I hated it, but it was true. He knew of my involvement and he even approved it, as long as I did not, ”have anything to say.”
Ingrid also shed some light on the walkie-talkie incident that occured when I was being escorted from behind the stage left to stage right. I learned that the missing words of the puzzle were, ”Michael does not want to see or speak to Tatiana before the show.”
I knew that these words were true because I was rushed back to the opposite side of the stage from where he was to make his entrance, then when Bill Bray was pulling him away from me it proved that they timed it so Michael would not have to deal with me.
The entire thing was obvious to everyone.
TR: How did you feel after the phone call with Ingrid once you found out the truth?
TT: I cannot even put into words the devastation that I felt. It was very difficult to get over the pain that this and other experiences working with Michael had caused me. I never, in my wildest dreams, ever considered I could go through such agony. Looking from the outside in, you picture things so differently. I did anyway absorbed in it all and I wanted nothing more than to find answers. I look back on Ingrid as a beautiful spirit for trying to help me.
TR: Did you talk to anyone else about your experience at the award show?
TT: Majestic came over to visit me and we talked about it for hours. I told him everything and I took him through every part of the evening. Majestic explained again how Michael’s people take the blame and they cover for him so he does not look like the one at fault.
” He will not look like a bad guy,” Majestic said. He reminded me of a similar experience that he had with Michael years prior when he visited him on a video shoot.
Majestic helped me understand what really happened to me that night . He said that when Bill Bray yelled for me to “Come on” it was probably giving Michael a cue for him to come outside his trailer so that I could not go inside. Then, when Bill pulled his arm saying, ”We gotta go,” that was also a planned skit.
He made it clear to me that Michael did not want to speak to me. Just as David Banks pointed out before, if Michael wanted something, he got it! ”What Michael gets,” he said.
It was naive of me to think otherwise. Majestic reminded me that his own family complained about not being able to get in touch with him when they wanted. Majestic said, “Tatiana! Who do you think is to blame or really in control?”
Our conversations opened my eyes some. It explained the crazy experience I just had but it still didn’t answer the big and main question. Why? Why was I made to endure all of this? What had I done to be treated this way? These were the questions no one could answer.
Majestic said, “People just fuck you in this town and don’t kiss you first, huh, Tatiana?” He ended that wonderful comment with laughter, but it wasn’t funny to me. This was my life and my career we are talking about.
Only Michael knew exactly why was fired from his tour. Only he could answer the questions about replacing me with his back-up singer. I brought up the issue of not being paid for his 1988 calendar or the single’s cover of The Way You Make Me Feel.
I still felt as though I was the underdog and wanted so badly to talk to Michael, I just couldn’t help but feel that someone had filled his head with lies or something. Maybe he did not like that fact that I didn’t audition for the Dirty Diana video.
Somehow, I reason he had been lied to. He had the wrong impression of me.
Even after all the confusion and pain I endured from the experienxe of the BRE awards I still sent him a birthday gift three months
later. It was August 1989 and I was making arrangements with Katherine to have it delivered. It was a huge, larger than life full size portrait of his friend and idol Marlon Brando.The portrait was from his classic film the Wild Ones.
It was a creation by my friend and artist Demetrie Kabbaz. Jermaine’s wife Margaret picked it up from me and we loaded it into her Jeep. At 5 feet wide and standing at 5’6-5’6 1/2, it wasn’t an easy gift to carry or transport
TR: Did Michael call you or send a thank you note for the gift?
TT: I never received a word of thanks or a card of gratitude. I was forced to realized that I was fighting a losing battle. I was begining to tell myself that I just needed to move on!
(on meeting Prince a few years later)
The Prince chapter
My 29th birthday was on April 22nd, 1989. I celebrated it with a group of friends at Club 20-20 in Century City.
Someone at my party told me that Prince just arrived. I figured since it was my birthday, I was going to ask him to dance with me which is how I met and danced with the artist formely known as Prince.
It was like the parting of the Red Sea. We were all having a great time but I think my friends were amazed when I walked over to Prince’s table and I politely said to his bodyguards that I wanted to ask Prince for a dance.
I had to go through them first because there were several of them blocking me the front of his table. Prince was sitting down and his bodyguards parted and let me enter.
I told Prince that it was my birthday. I said to him, “If I could have one birthday wish it would be to dance with you. ” He nodded his head yes. He is a man of few words. We tore up the dance floor to Madonna’s song, Like A Prayer. The entire club was gawking at us.
To back up a bit, my friend Craig astounded all of us with his Michael Jackson moves. He had them down and it was like watching the ”Bad One”.
I caught my friend Kookie, trying to take snapshot as we danced. Prince’s bodyguards stepped in front of her and stopped her dead in her tracks. I was so disappointed because she was not quick enough.
Prince walked me back to my table. He said that I had an open invitation to join him at his table. I quietly agreed to meet him there in a
few minutes. After all it was my birthday! Friends and guests gathered around me. They started asking me if I knew Prince. I replied ” No, I just met him.” They were all so surprised because I casually walked over to him and asked him if he would dance with me.
I did it as if we already knew each other. Kookie kept saying how disappointed she was because they would not let her take a picture of Prince.
My girlfriend Audra was so mad at herself because she had not made it to my birthday party. She was a huge Prince fan. After blowing out my candles and opening my gifts. I excused myself and went to Prince’s table to join him. When our drink arrived, he offered me a taste of his drink.
He had a Virgin Pina’ Colada. I said, “No thank you, but can I have your cherry?” Prince gave me this wide-eyed, shocked expression. He took it as a sexual innuendo. I said it was not my intention and we started cracking up.
Prince liked innuendos and double meanings, so he enjoyed that. As this exciting evening progressed, Prince asked me to join him in his limo. He wanted to take me for a ride.
When I walked up to the long, white stretch limo, I stopped in my tracks. I wanted to make a mental note of this magical moment. The glow on the evening light bounced off the limo’s frame.
It looked like something from a fairy tale or a Hollywood movie. I felt like Cinderella and this was the most wonderful birthday I have ever had in my life.
TR: So where did you and Prince go’?
TT: We just rode around Westwood all night.
We were listening to some of his new music on his demo. He asked me what I thought about his new stuff. One of the songs was a demo of Sheena Easto singing a song that Prince had produced. I told him that I met her once and said hello but she ignored me and that I hated that crap!
I added I couldn’t stand snobs. Anyway, I loved his new stuff.
TR: So what did you do at the end of the night’?
TT: I was not ready for this night to end, but we had been driving
around for a few hours. He invited me to his hotel-the Sunset Marquee in Westwood. I questioned the thought of going there with him. After all, we had just met. But we were both having such a wonderful time together and neither one of us was tired.
When I entered his room, I took a mental picture of everything. How neat he was, the artwork, even the smell of the air. Although this was a hotel, Prince was living there: making it his home.
He showed me around and we walked down a short hallway that led to the bedroom. I recall staring at a painting that hung above the bed. The detail was so small and faint that from a distance I could not make sense of it. As I got closer I saw that it wall all nude women intertwined together.
He told me, “Don’t get too close it might damage your eyes.” I told him that it did not frighten or faze me. Prince was a musical genius and he intrigued me. He walked me towards his closet and it was amazing! It was just awesome beyond words.
Before me hung dozens and dozens of outfits. I was dazzled by the colors, textures,bold prints, and designs. For every outfit, there was a matching pair of boots. His closet was the bomb! It was unlike anything I have ever laid my eyes on.
He told me, ”Curiosity killed the cat.” I stepped in his closet further and said, ”Yeah, well the cat had nine lives.’He got a kick out of my quick come back. He asked me, ”Would you like it if I dressed you in my clothes sometime”
I told him him that would be cool, but I thought his pants would be excessively too short for me. He is only 5’4″ and I am 5’7”. However, I tried on one of his boots, and it was a perfect fit. He started it out by saying ”You know, when I was little… Well, I’m still little…” Before he could finish, I started laughing so hard. I thought I was going to bust a gut from laughing so hard. I thought it was great that he could joke and laugh at himself and make light of his small frame.
I thought it was cool for a few seconds anyway. Suddenly, I stopped laughing because of this expression on his face. There was immediate silence. He had this look on his face as to say” I can make fun of myself but you cannot.”
Prince is a Gemini and I soon learned that his moods switched on and off like a light switch.
His bathroom bewildered me. Laid out were an endless amount of make-up and toiletries: Any girl would have been jealous. The vanity’s
layout was so beautiful arranged. You could view every piece of lip liner, mascara, and eyeliner. He had more make-up and perfume than any woman I knew. We went back into the living room and he asked me if I was hungry.
I was and minutes later everything I ordered was in double amounts. Prince did not touch any of it. I thought it was odd that he did not have anything to eat, especially since he ordered so much. Why did he order so much if he was not going to eat?
Did he think I was a pig? After I ate. Prince and I sat Indian style on the living room. We just sat and talked. I had a top on that was strapless and out of nowhere Prince yanked my top down. He did it in a playful manner as if he was still a little kid. A spoiled brat was more like it.
I did not flinch when he did it and he asked, “I thought you said you were shy?” That was the last topic of our conversation. It was his playful test for me.He wanted to see how I would react and see how I would respond to it. He asked me inquisitively ”Do you ever caress them or play with them?” I could not believe that he was asking me this and I quickly answered ”No!” I know I started blushing and I laughed it off.
He then asked me, ”Well why not? They’re beautiful.” The conversation quickly switched from my beautiful boobs, to Vanity. She was the lead singer of his girl group Vanity 6. I told him that I knew Vanity and knew her real name was Denise Matthews.
We met in Tokyo when we both were signed with Zoli. It was during that time she was working with Prince in the studio. They were working on a demo for the single Nasty Girls. I was staying in her New York apartment and she had given me strict instructions not to answer a red phone. She was the only person that could answer it so I assumed that Prince called her on that phone.
After I told Prince that story he said, ”Oh, that Vanity!”
It was already 5:00 and and we were still talking. We were like two kids defying the limits and boundaries of time. We did not want to go to sleep. I felt comfortable with him and I was having a ball. He asked me if I wanted to sleep over.
Before I knew it, Prince handed me a beautiful pair of silk pajamas. The entire scenario was out of the ordinary for me but we were having fun and there was such trust and comfort that I reasoned with a myself it was okay to spend the night with him
I changed into the pajamas and I asked him what he was going to put on. He told me, “These are my pajamas,” —telling me the black lycra cat suit with the half of the waist missing were his pajamas for the evening.
There was a chain attached to the cat suit that dangled from his waist from one side of his body to the other. I thought ” Well you go ahead with your bad self, Do your thing!” Geniuses are odd. He is a genius and he is odd. We curled up in bed like kittens and simply fell asleep, sweet and innocent as that. It took me forever to fall asleep though. I couldn’t believe that I was snuggled up in bed with one of the greatest artists of that time.
In a way, Prince was viewed as Michael’s musical rival.
TR:How are the two of them different?
TT: Michael was the Peter Pan squeaky clean one, and Prince was the sexually overt one. They were like night and day but they were both geniuses and incredible to observe.
Prince admired and respected Michael
Did you talk to Prince again after your birthday night?
A few days later Prince called me and invited me to a concert. The group Guy was performing at the Universal Amphitheater.
Prince asked me if I would mind if the press took a few pictures of us together. I said that it would not bother me in the least that it was part of the deal. I felt that Prince was concerned about media putting their own twisted spin on us and it was also out of concern and respect for Michael.
He believed, like most there was something between us.
The show was incredible and Teddy Riley was awesome! Prince admired his work. After the show, we rode around the lot of Universal and Prince asked if I wanted to drive the limo for fun. I passed because I did not have my license yet. I didn’t admit to him I did not want to crash the limo or be responsible for it.
That night I wore a silver belt buckle spelled out LOVE in bold letters. It was similar to a belt Madonna worn in the early 80’s that read Boy Toy. Several times during the night Prince complimented me on it. He told me that he wanted one that spelled out Gemini. He wanted his in gold and mine was in silver.
Prince and I spoke several times by phone and at odd hours. It seemed we both had a late night schedule. We spoke many times at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. Once he called me and when I answered he said,
“I bet you’re sorry you gave me your number huh?” I reassured him and said, ”Not at all. I’m a night owl ”
A few weeks went by and I ran into him at Vertigo, a popular nightclub. Prince asked me to join him as he sat surrounded by three other women. Sometime during the evening, I asked him if he was dating or seeing anyone.
He replied something like ”I don’t have any! I have many. ” Suddenly, he turned into Dr.Jekyll and his mood changed.
He left me standing on the dance floor alone.
At the time I was working on a special surprise gift for him. I had called a friend in New York and asked him to make a gold belt buckle that spelled GEMINI, This is what Prince said he wanted. I did all this for someone who left me on a dance floor alone.
Gemini’s are strange. They do have two sides to their personalities. Prince did show me his gratitude by wearing the buckle in his video Batdance. In the video, he plays a character named Gemini. The video was for the movie Batman.
Prince and I lost touch for about four years. We met by chance one night at a club and started talking about an interview I had given to the Star tabloid during the scandal involving Michael Jackson and the underage boy. Prince was upset that I had spoken to the tabloid; he attacked me for my comments and he was especially bothered by a line that quoted me as saying that Michael would never get married. He shouted, “Did you need the money that bad?” Are you that poor-that broke, that you sell your story to the tabloids?
TR: Did you want to keep working, modeling and acting after all that happened?
TT: I was going out less and less on auditions. I was in an odd position. I was in this sort of ”catch-22” thing
I was looked as somewhat of a celebrity but I was not a big enough name and my credits were not building. Everywhere I went the fans knew my name but the casting agents just couldn’t seem to get past the quote, unquote, ”Michael Jackson
(unreadable) thing. I finally did score a commercial for Miller light. On the day of the shoot I was told that the director decided to put me in the background for fear that I would steal the thunder from the commercial’s star, comedian Dennis Miller.
It seemed as if I was big enough star to threaten the stars status but I was not a big enough star to have my own campaign.
This was the only offer I had at the time and when the commercial aired I could not be seen at all.
It was truly an odd positon to be in and ,strangely, many people that had been in the business for years envied me. So many artists are truly talented-they work for years on one project and then another and they do not get the recognition that was bestowed upon me from just one video. The thought of being employed on a regular basis in our industry without anyone knowing who I was sounded great to me. Here some actors envied me and here I was envying them.
I thought I would be great on a soap opera because I had already been through so much drama and confusion that I was living my very own day and nighttime drama. I wondered if Michael’s last video girl, Ola Ray, from Thriller ever experienced anything similar to my situation. I thought it would be great to sit down, talk to her, and trade stories.
TR:How were you feeling emotionally at this time
TT: I cried enough to make my very own river.
I did not know what or who to believe. It was difficult for me to trust anyone. I could not even trust my own judgment anymore. Even the guys I dated made me feel like they were with me because of some celebrirty status. Suddenly I became this hot trophy, I could tell I was looked at as some kind of sex object. Real relationships were becoming difficult to find, male or female. I even questionned the friends I had prior to my ”newfound fame” I mean one of them stole the powder compact that Michael used while I was on tour with him. That was a hard pill to swallow. This so-called ”friend” and I had a three-year friendship before all the Hollywood crap. It really hurt me.
TR: You had to have at least one true friend out there
TT: My friend Valerie Simpson took on the role of surrogate mom. She endured all the tears and confusion, and pain with me. I thanked God for her constantly. It was a blessing that I had someone as beautiful and
compassionate as Valerie with me. Especially since my mom lived in Florida and she could be only supportive and compassionate by telephone. Valerie was my closest confidant and will forever considered my guardian angel on earth during those times of despair.
She saw it all, heard it all, and lived it all with me. I sometimes feel that if it were not for her love and support I would not have lived to tell this story. There were many times I considered ending it all.
Not only my heart was broken but I also had issues with working, dating, my own camp, and paying me rent. Many people assumed that I was set for life financially because I worked with the world’s greatest entertainer of our time.
I would get picked up at my apartment and some guys could not believe that I did not own a home. Many wondered why I was not driving around in a Mercedes. I once had a date with Kato Kaelin (famous from the OJ Simpson trial) and when he picked me up, he remarked ”This is where you live?”
This was coming from a guy who lived as someone else’s fricken house guest. At least I had my own place! Well, I never said that I always had the greatest taste in dates or men.
Even though times were difficult. I did not want to give up. I kept pursuing the Hollywood dream and continued to be knocked down, only to stand up and brush myself off repeatedly. I considered going overseas to work but decided not to go.
I probably should have considered it more seriously.
TR: Did you ever have to ask anyone to help you financially?
TT: Michael’s mother was aware of my hard times and she once gave Majestic fifty dollars to give to me.
I sincerely felt that Katherine cared very much about me and was perhaps frustrated that she could not do more to help or get Michael with me to talk. Yet, I could not understand why she did not ever make it happen. I guess it was too hard for her to do.
I had moved on from Joseph and the contract. I spent a lot of unnecessary time worrying about getting out of it, when in fact it was a null and void situation. None of the obligations were fulfilled within our
agreement so I had nothing to worry about. It reminded me of the movie, the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy fretted so much about getting back home, when all the while she had never really left home. Here I was fretting about getting out of a contract that was not valid anyway.
Ultimately, we went our separate ways without any complaint or argument.
TR: Was Joe Jackson upset that you did not want him to represent you any longer?
TT: Not at all, and it did surprise me a bit that Joseph didn’t care enough about it to even to discuss our parting ways. I
did not accomplish anything during the duration of our contract. I even tool several steps backward when I signed with him.
None of the promises he or Katherine made to me were kept. They did not give me any answers about why I was fired and going to Neverland never happened. My dissapointments were ongoing, but never did I complain to either one of them. I just accepted these losses and went on my way.
I traveled to the Far East to resume working with Satoru, an agent I had worked with years before. This was when I ran into Rebbie Jackson again. We spent a few days together talking, having dinner, and sightseeing during our time off. She was touring and promoting her album at the time. Although things did not go well with Joseph, seeing Rebbie was running into a family member.
When I returned to L.A for work, things still did not pick up for me. By this time, I was under pressure, too, because the statue of limitations for the calendar and the 45 of The Way You Make Me Feel were almost over and the day was approaching that I would not be able to challenge Michael in court.
I did not want to sue my idol but I couldn’t help but feel like I was a casualty or some sort of victim of of circumstance. I was pleased that my contractual agreement with Joe Jackson ended amicably In 1991, I did not have representation for management. I did not trust people anymore. I had made some awful choice and trusted the wrong people. Perhaps I had even missed out by letting the good ones slip through my hands.
My brother William once told me ”If you know how to play game of chess then you’ll know how to play the game of life.” I regret not knowing this game because I believe there is something to this theory. I believe this is simply what life isall about. Living and learn
ing, if you haven’t learned anything from it then you haven’t lived. I look back now and see how gullible and naive I was about certain things and people in L.A. I was raised by teachers and I spent my formative years in New York City.
I thought I had learned a bit about street smarts. Still I had yet to learn a thing or two about Hollywood and its smoke and
mirrors. Many people play games there. There is a difference in New Yorkers. They are not fake with you.
They are straight up and honest to the core, which I adore. But in L.A people can be very plasic and pretentious in many ways. Not everyone, but many that I met. Hollywood is a city that is made up of dreams and fairy tales.
Auditioning even changed for me because I started to question my own ability and talents. I felt as though I was not in the
moment when I was auditioning, as if I were outside myself judging me. Like some kind of outer experince. I lost myself due to all the deception.
Working with my idol took me through many experiences. I knew what it was like to go from anonymity to suddenly being famous within just a few days.I anticipated doors being opened in the end, no one even acknowledged my knock.
They would not even give me work as an extra. I did not have any prior knowledge of the entertainment business and I found myself flat broke. Having a good support system is a big advantage.
The people that are backing you, both professionally and personally are very important. The message behind the movie Mahogany is so true.”Success is nothing without someone to share it with.” To top it all off, In lost a different loved one each year for three years.
I endured endless pain. As each person in my life passed on, I, in turn, lost strength and energy. As soon as I would regain my strength and start to feel better, another one left me.
TR: Who were the important people in your life that you lost?
TT: In 1989, I lost my mentor, Svengali Antonio Lopez. I felt in many ways that it were not for him, I never would have made it as far as I did. He gave me and taught me so much about the industry. I take great
pride in being an “Antonio Girl.” Not many hold the title and the ones that do are an elite few. Some of the others are Jessica Lange, Pat Cleveland, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones and Toukie Smith-are all Antonio’s girls.
Losing Antonio was devastating to me. He was like my brother, my father. my teacher, my friend and my everything wrapped up in one. I miss dearly. In 1990 I lost my one and only link to life itself , my biological mother.
This was one of the most difficult burdens for me. Although I have two wonderful parents who are there for me a biological mother is incomparable as far as people and relationships are concerned. In 1991, I lost my closest male friend and soul mate, Chanti Gani Tyelis, a.k.a Eric Tyus. He was truly one of a kind. I will always consider losing him a great-great loss.
He was everything to me! Someday I will tell the story of our lives together.
TR: How did you manage without representation?
TT: In 1992, I became my own Agent/Manager and I put together a package and proposal for Playboy Magazine.There was much interest and I came close to signing with them.
Considering the deal made me reflect on my Bad Tour days when Miko and I debated the future and if I would ever consider a Playboy spread especially if I was paid the right price. But at this point in my life, it wasn’t just about the paycheck.
It was more about having new opportunities. I looked at it as a chance to have a voice and to be taken to the next level professionally. I felt that perhaps it should be the next step in my career, but the deal did not happen.
TR:Why? What happened?
TT: One of Hugh Hefner’s assistants told me Hef was good friend of Michael and that he did not want to involve himself with anything that was not ”Pro-Michael Jackson.-Never did I consider my story against Michael in any way.
if anything my story was that of a woman who cared very much about him. However, because I was fired from his tour people thought that I must have been on bad terms with him.
I was better off not doing Playboy. That somehow I was saved from something that really was not made to be.
TT: My friend Chris Ameruoso encouraged me to express my support for him publicly. Initially the thought frightened me but I did consider doing it. I
thought it would be good for him to know that I was still in his corner.Also, the public would see that I was.
TR: Why did the idea of you expressing your support frighten you ?
TT: I was frightened at the thought of the issue itself. This was a serious implication. Nevertheless, my love for Michael and my belief in him gave me the willpower and strenght to go forward with my pursuit and to speak out on his behalf.
Chris set up my first interview on the Howard Stern Radio Show. I remember being nervous because I did not know much about Howard until the day before our call.
I did not know what to expect or if he was going to be kind to me. I was not knowledgeable about his show and I just did not know what to expect. It’s a strange experience to have so many people hear you speak to someone by phone that you’ve never met.
It’s so cold and impersonal. You cannot see that person’s expressions or see what is in his or her eyes. If you cannot see into a person’s eyes, you are not connecting with their soul.
When Chris handed me the phone to me. Gary, the producer of Howard’s Show, asked me questions about the video shoot to confirm I was the girl. My heart raced, and Howard welcomed me. He was straight to the point. He then asked me the question that was on everyone’s mind.
Did you sleep with him? What proof do you have that he is heterosexual?
Suddenly my being in support of his innocence meant having to offer personal information about my intimacy with the pop star. I took offense to this fact, yet at the same time. I wished that I did have some proof for people. In my heart, I felt I had enough proof. I was not as prepared as I thought I was for such a strong and opinionated host as Howard Stern.
Howard left me with something to think about when he asked me, ”I don’t get why you support him. Why the loyalty?” I knew he had a point and it made me question myself. It was a great question and there was no clear answer why I supported Michael other than wanting to believe in his innocence and loving him dearly. Because of the love and adoration I had for Michael. He could do no wrong in my eyes. By nature’s course, I am a Taurus who is ruled by Venus. This means that I am stub-
born, determined, diligent, and in-love with the thought of love itself. The sign Taurus believes in loyalty and they will endure anything and put up with a lot before they give up and let go of something and someone.
It is hard for them to move on. Howard could not have conceived just how much I had gone through. It was a though interview, but overall Stern was pleasant to me and his partner Robin impressed me. She knew all of my credits, which she read aloud.
This was the best and hardest interview of them all. My next interview was for Black Entertaiment Television. It was a one on one piece with the reporter and it helped that I could see her eyes.
I was emotional, and I was honest and the words came from my heart. The interview caused me to lose control and cry on camera. I hated that but it was real.
If truth be told I was optimistic and I thought that perhaps this would bring Michael and me together.
Maybe he would see how much I cared and loved him.
About a week later, I was in touch with Katherine and Joseph.I expressed my concern and sincere support.
I could tell that they were somewhat surprised that I was in support of him. I reassured them that I was not taking a stand for any payment.
I just wanted to show my support. There was another interview scheduled. It was in New York City for The Maury Povich show.
On the panel I found myself among those who were in support of the pop star and people who were not. Majestic was in the group of Michael supporters with me. I found it a bit surprising that neither Joseph nor Katherine made an appearance.
They commented by telephone. Nevertheless, I knew that it was all taking a toll on them and their health. They were both disturbed by it all and who wouldn’t be? This was there baby and these were some serious allegations
It was nothing to take lightly.
TR: What questions were you asked at this interview
TT: They asked me sismilar questions Howard Stern asked me on his radio show. “Did the two of you have sex?”
That was all anyone was concerned about and that is what they wanted an answer to. As if saying we had, was going to validate his manhood: that my affirmation would have made him innocent of these horrific accusations. I do so
wish that I could have told them that we did have sex, but if we did, how was I to prove this to the public and media? I wished I could have gone beyond just speaking out on his behalf but I could not.
When I blurted out something about dating Michael his mother Katherine confirmed his feelings and love for me and it angered the other panel guests because they were trying to crucify him.
I was there as a supporter, not as a a judge and jury. However, for many people, that was not good enough. Some on the other panel were security guards that had worked for the Jacksons, at their Hayvenhurst home.
In fact, some were involved in a lawsuit against the Jacksons. They told stories about Michael and his young males guests at the house. Suddenly I was out of my realm. I did not have anything to say about this topic.
The panelists were arguing saying that I never visited the house when Michael still lived there, and they were right! I became a visitor after he moved out. I had to remind myself that was there to support Michael. Not to lie.
I had already blurted out something about us dating for close to a year and I said that we were romantically involved when in fact we were not. There were only a few visits to the set of Leave Me Alone and Baby Bad.
Even though I had old issues lingering in the back of my head. I put them all aside for the sake of love and loyalty. As I told even one little white lie I was becoming a part of it all.
TR: So you lied and said that you dated Michael for a year when you did not? Why did you do that?
TT: The lie slipped out of my mouth simply because of my feelings for him. I felt that an injustice was being committed.
Plus, I wanted Michael to see how much I loved him.
In my fairytale mind I thought that he would come looking for me and thank me. Boy was I wrong! I regretted being on the panel at the Maury show. It was all about debate and somehow I just did not foresee it being that way.
It was an odd situation that I put myself in the midddle of yet I was still willing to go to war for him. I could only imagine the mental and physical stress he was going through
TR: How did you feel when you saw Michael on televison at this important time?
TT: The CNN piece stunned me. Michael was looking straight into the camera. He was dressed in a red shirt, donned false eyelashes and he was claiming his innocence. I felt that if there was any momwent and time that Michael needed to look a little more normal and down to earth,this was the time to do it. He needed to show every aspect of his masculinity. I was angry when I thought about it wondering why he wasn’t being better advised. This was such a critical and serious time.
If he was going to come clean and talk to the media about this, then he needed to look the part as well. I pitied him and felt he was not getting the best advice. I wanted to help him and I felt as though there was an injustice being committed
I just could not see Michael harming a child. In my heart of heart of hearts, I knew that when we worked together on the video there were real sparks and feelings between us. The feelings were mutual. His own mother confirmed this fact
TR: Do you think it may be possible that his mother just wanted to believe that he was in love with a woman? Is it possible that she wanted others to believe this as well to protect her son?
TT: You are asking me if she could have been in denial about his sexuality. When I think about all the little flirtations, gestures, and looks he gave me, I just cannot fathom that none of that was true or real. I am convinced he did feel something for me at one time.
I mean real feelings, and if he was gay, well, I would probably have still loved him anyway. I went back to Los Angeles and I continued in my fight and support for Michael.
I wrote a letter to Oprah hoping that she would do a story with me and perhaps some other women who had worked with him. However no such luck. Soon I was horrifed by an interview his sister LaToya gave at a live conference. She said something to the effect of, ”I cannot and will not stand by and allow little innocent children to be hurt by my brother, and I won’t be a silent collaborator to this.” This was so shocking to say the least. Like many
I could not believe his own sister was speaking against him yet I feared there was truth to what she was saying. After all, she is his flesh and blood, and we assume that family knows their own.This of course, is not always the case. At any rate her statements certainly did not help him.
Then it was soon reported that Michael settled with the boy for around twenty million dollars.
I was sad because I knew how this was going to make him look. The world would think that he was guilty.
I was also disappointed because I believed he was going to fight to the end to prove his innocence. I was dissapointed on both sides of the coin.
Both sides came out looking bad. I had also hoped that my defending him would bring us close.
I at least wanted some kind of contact, but once again, I never heard from Michael. He did not even send me a thank you card.
TR: Why do you think Michael should he have sent You a thank you card?
TT: Its not that he had to thank me for supporting him.
It just would have been a polite thing for him to do. No matter what. I did it because I believed in him, and wanted him to know it.
I will never regret my support and love for him. However I secretly hoped that he would reply.
I did not understand why he shut me out. I believed in him. My friend, Iris Parker kept telling me to wake up and smell the coffee. She said that it was time for me to move on for good.
TR: Did you wish it were you that married Michael instead of Lisa Marie?
TT: Yes, it hurt that it was not me. However I put everything in the Lords’s hands, because I trust in Him.
My support of Michael had not brought me any closer to him or his family.
Sometime in May of 1994, Michael married Lisa Marie Presley the King’s daughter. Initially, I was stunned. I did not know what to think. My brain went blank.
TR: Did you feel that Michael and Lisa Marie’s marriage was conventionnal?
TT: After viewing Michael and Lisa’s appearance on MTV and their famous kiss, well all I have to say is, our kiss was far more convincing.The proof is in the picture, but she carried the name Mrs.
Only time will tell what the furture holds for me or for Michael, but after everything I still believe in my dreams. You can call me crazy if you like, but I will always have a bit of a soft spot for this little kid from Gary, indiana who captured my eye and made me a part of his history. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana comments on his passing, Myspace, June 25th 2009 ]
June 25th, Myspace website update:
Tatiana Yvonne: have been completly numb, saddened, and sickened by the recent news. I am devastated! beyond words. But i want to thank all of you for your continued support Mood: distraught distraught1 hour ago
I am weak with heavy emotions and saddened beyond words. I don’t understand how someone could pass a physical exam and die so suddenly. Something just doesn’t add up. What he meant to me, my childhood dreams, the belief that anything is possible, that anything can happen if you believe in magic. My dream did come true because I was blessed and privileged to have known and worked with the greatest artist of our time. I will forever cherish the small details of my personal experiences with Michael. Like the time he invited me to the set of the video ’’Leave Me Alone’’. He drove me home in his limo and we had great fun talking the whole way there. He would turn giddy and shy, in that child-like we he had, when I touched his hand. I remember feeling nervous as I got out of the limo because I knew he was watching my every move, so I made sure not to stumble or trip.
The child in me, the little girl I was that grew up with Michael Jackson, died that day along with him. He is the quintessential icon. I really did love him and he will be forever painfully missed by me. My time with him is sacred to me and nothing or no one can diminish the truth of that. My heart goes out to his family, my love to Katherine and Joe.
[EXPAND Tatiana talks about his passing to E!, June 2009 ]
Video has since been removed.
Video has since been removed but Tatiana expressed grief and heartbreak at Michael’s passing, said that what they shared would always be “sacred and precious” and said her thoughts were with the Jackson family. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana attends Michael’s funeral, September 3rd 2009 ]
Youtube video: Tatiana attending Michael’s funeral [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana speaks about her favourite MJ moment and song, June 25th 2010 ]
June 25th 2010 Talks about her favourite Michael moment and song
[EXPAND Tatiana talking about his funeral, “The Way You Make Me… Heal?”, Firpo Carr, March 17th 2010 ]
Firpo Carr, March 17, 2010
Tatiana Yvonne Firpo Carr The Way You Make Me…Heal?
The girl in the video makes good
Day 266, Week 38, Article 37
What do Naomi Campbell, Cheryl Crow, Iman, Lisa Marie Presley, and Britney Spears all have in common? They all came in the wake of Tatiana Yvonne (then known as Tatiana Thumbtzen) as love interests who played opposite the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Tatiana starred with Michael in his “coming of age” mega-hit film short, The Way You Make Me Feel (1988). In it, the Gloved One couldn’t wait to get his hands on her. Even though superstars and supermodels would come later, none of Michael’s videos or performances, made with the above stellar cast, outpaced the Billboard #1 hit, The Way You Make Me Feel.
But on September 3, 2009, the night that Michael Joseph Jackson was finally laid to rest, Tatiana Yvonne was made to feel anything but happy. However, little did she know that a hurt feeling then would turn into a productive healing now. But before we entertain this transition, Tatiana succinctly tells of the tragedy and trauma of that sobering, memorable night.
In Encino: “After inquiring about the possibility of paying my respects,” states Tatiana, “Mr. and Mrs. Jackson invited me to the funeral, and family friend Majestik was sent to pick me up. Fond memories stirred my emotions as we approached the house. It had been two decades! Unexpectedly, I lost it at the gate. It hurt so much. Majestik, said: ‘C’mon T, pull it together.’ We went inside. I didn’t see Katherine, who was upstairs, until the service. But Joe hugged me, after which family and friends sat together. There was an uncomfortable silence, which prompted Joe to say, ‘It’s too quiet in here!’ He then handed me the TV remote. ‘Oh, you handed it to the wrong person,’ I confessed. ‘I don’t know how to work these things!’ Everybody laughed. Suddenly, the phone rang. Joe answered, turned to Majestik, and said: ‘You have to go and do that Larry King piece.’ ‘Let’s go,’ Majestik ordered me. ‘You’re coming with us.’”
At CNN: Indeed, Tatiana was among the Jackson entourage I encountered at CNN’s Los Angeles ’ bureau on Sunset in Hollywood . As I came off the Jane Velez-Mitchell show, I ran into Rev. Al Sharpton, the stunning actress Lisa Raye McCoy, and the Reverend’s entourage. Right after, I saw a teary-eyed, traumatized Tatiana. Although I didn’t recognize her at first, my heart truly went out to the petite-sized woman. Angel Howansky, Joe Jackson’s publicist, introduced us. Tatiana had a faraway look in her very sad eyes. I didn’t think our introduction registered. Surprisingly, it did.
Memorial Service: Tatiana continues: “I was overwhelmed by a flood of thoughts that ran through my mind as I sat at the service. At the same time, I was in a complete haze. It was heart-wrenching.” Her tremendous sadness was supplemented by the thought that, reportedly, Cory Feldman, Alphonso Riveiro, Margaret Maldonado (the mother of two of Jermaine’s sons), Rebbie Jackson, Michael’s bodyguards, and Mrs. Katherine Jackson herself, all said that the Gloved One was especially fond of Tatiana; talked about her regularly; and considered marrying her–even to the day he died. “Mrs. Jackson told me,” said Tatiana, “‘I know my son loved you. He had feelings for you. He told me this one morning.’”
Repast at the Restaurant: A pensive Tatiana said further: “I was also invited and went to the repast at a restaurant in Pasadena . It seemed that everyone was there. But my heart was still aching for Michael. I couldn’t really enjoy myself. Not for one moment.”
Back to Encino: A select few were invited back to the Encino compound, and, not surprisingly, Tatiana was among them. “I felt so sorry for Mrs. Jackson. Even though she tried to be strong for everyone, she was completely distraught.” As an artist, Tatiana thanked Michael’s parents by presenting a framed drawing of him, which they appreciatively placed in the Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 museum. Unexpectedly, she discovered doing for others was therapeutic.
Hope for Haiti : “Seeing a young Haitian boy emerge from the rubble with a broad smile inspired me to do something for the people of Haiti ,” says Tatiana. “So I came up with a montage painting entitled ‘Hope for Haiti .’ When this and other items are purchased at The Official Myspace (Fan Site) Of Tatiana Yvonne (Tatiana Yvonne) | MySpace or Tatiana Yvonne, 40% of the proceeds go to the Help for Haiti fund. I invite everyone to purchase something and help me help Haiti .”
Tatiana in Text?: In doing this Tatiana is imitating the spirit shown by a Christian woman in the Biblical text named Dorcas, who abounded in “good deeds and gifts of mercy,” including making clothes for certain ones in need. (Acts 9:36, 39; 1 Tim 5:18) Stay tuned for more on the Michael Jackson-Tatiana Yvonne Connection as we explore the chronicles of the King of Pop, and anxiously await justice to be dispensed. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Bodyguards from 2007-2009 posted onto Tatiana’s facebook wall, March 27, 2010 ]
MJ’s Bodyguard › Tatiana Yvonne: You were spoken of with very kind words. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Article about Tatiana, Firpo Carr, The King of Pop, Lip-Locked? 1 April, 2010 ]
The way she made him feel…her?
The video The Way You Make Me Feel (1988) with Michael Jackson and Tatiana Yvonne (then Tatiana Thumbtzen) has received nearly 22 million YouTube hits. Even with this interest, few know of Michael’s public displays of affection for the woman he loved till his dying day. Consider what a New York correspondent for a British newspaper wrote. After prominently showing a touching photo of Michael and Tatiana with the caption reading, “‘I’m really in love with her,’ the Pop star admitted,” the article went on to say:
“Superstar Michael Jackson stunned thousands of his fans-by kissing in public for the first time. The girl who received the smacker is his new love, model Tatiana Thumbtzen. And it came when the couple danced together on stage during a concert in New York. ‘They were doing their number from the video they filmed together,’ said a close friend. “They don’t kiss in [the video],” the article quotes the eyewitness as saying. “But this time their lips met…and lingered.'” (MICHAEL!) The article continues: “Those who know Michael were stunned. It was the first time he’s kissed in public. He’s usually very careful about that sort of thing.” (Brother Jackson!)
“Michael, 29, flipped for 25-year-old Tatiana the moment she showed up to audition for his video The Way You Make Me Feel nine months ago. Tatiana said, ‘During the one stunt I accidentally fell down. He offered to help dust me down. (Dawg!) He started by brushing his hands against the back of my legs and then he gradually worked his way upwards. (Help me Lawd.) He was gentle but it was very cheeky.’ The singer said: ‘I didn’t think any woman could affect me like this. I’m really in love with her.'” But, if this is true, then…
Why Didn’t They Marry?: According to the King’s loyal fans who’ve followed his royal romances for decades, Frank Dileo (Michael’s long-time manager who he reportedly fired) and Karen Faye (Michael’s long-time stylist, also reportedly terminated) maneuvered matters so as to prevent Michael from marrying Tatiana. “Dileo couldn’t have his moneymaker married,” said one fan. “Michael can be heard on the Glenda Tapes as saying, ‘Sam says Frank [Dileo] is trying to get Tat [Tatiana] in trouble.'” Another fan alleges, “Karen Faye was just jealous of any love interest of Michael’s. Even Lisa Marie had Michael fire her.” Whatever the case, friends and family say Michael’s love for Tatiana was enduring, and that future wives and secret girlfriends (whose relationships were either real, imagined, or exaggerated) were glorious afterthoughts.
The Paris Pause: On the night that Michael Jackson was finally laid to rest on September 3, 2009, Michael’s daughter Paris met Tatiana for the first time. It was at the Jackson Encino home after the repast. When Paris was told that this “was the girl with the golden brown hair that danced your father in the video, The Way You Make Me Feel,” her eyes lit up. She then took a deep, joyful sigh and said” “Oh! Wow! Really?” Her radiant smile brought unanticipated warmth to Tatiana’s heart. She responded, “Come here Sweetie and give me a hug.” Paris caressed her around the waist and squeezed ever so gentle. “It felt as if Michael was hugging me through her,” said a misty-eyed Tatiana. Paris’ behavior toward Tatiana is significant. Michael trusted the child prodigy’s judge of character implicitly in certain matters. He seriously embraced me and took me into his confidence after Paris reacted to me in a positive, trusting way.
Tatiana’s Timely T-Shirt: Paris was wearing a pink t-shirt with Michael’s picture on it when she and Tatiana met. An idea was subconsciously planted in Tatiana’s mind that would later serve to express her desire to see justice done in Michael’s case. Finally, the Paris-inspired idea reached fruition with the “Justice for Michael” t-shirt emblazon with the one and only photo of her kissing a cherubic-faced Michael on the cheek. (Visit The Official Myspace (Fan Site) Of Tatiana Yvonne (Tatiana Yvonne) | MySpace for info on obtaining one.) “Please help me seek justice for Michael by wearing the t-shirt,” says Tatiana, “especially during Justice Week starting Monday, April 5, 2010, the next court date for Dr. Conrad Murray.” Peace. Out. [/EXPAND]
[EXPAND Tatiana talks about kissing Michael in Japan documentary, 2010 ]
Tatiana: “Here’s one secret: He was a great kisser.”
[EXPAND New info regarding her time shooting the video through till her 2005 book, Excerpt from Tatiana’s book “King of My Heart”
[Page 50] Poitier Was Pissed! Since Harry loved my talent, he wanted me to try out for a film with his good friend Sidney Poitier. This will be the day I will never forget. While I was waiting for him to call me in to his office, I already could hear him yelling at the top of his lungs. He was yelling at someone over the phone. He was so loud anyone could hear him. He was already very obvious really upset. Soon, it was time for me to walk in. I began to read the script, my part wasn’t a small one. This was actually an leading role. With this being my 1st chance for a possible leading role that I have never been use to and his very obvious angry attitude I very intimidated. He told me, ‘No, that’s not it!’, he yelled.
‘Do it again!’ he ended with. There was no patience, no concern, he was cold-hearted and very unencouraging. Then he ended my audition by saying, ‘You’re not ready. I don’t know why Harry (Belafonte) would even send you to me.’ I couldn’t be totally offended by his statement because he was 100% correct. I did confess to him and said, ‘I don’t think I did very well did I?’ I even felt that he didn’t like me as well. Harry still was encouraging to me and told me everything would be ok.
Getting the Part [Page 54]
Her representation called her on August 28 letting her know she got the part.
David Banks the co-writer of TWYMMF, is a relative of Eddie Griffin. He(David) shared with her how MTV had complained about MJ’s new video TWYMMF saying it was too “ethnic”. David said to her, ‘He’s (MJ) Black. What do they expect?’ [Page 62] Meeting Michael: There I stood in front of a slim but very handsome Michael Jackson came walking up to me.
[Page 65] Staring Contest (Between she and MJ):
The next day of shooting the video. That morning, at this time mostly what the 2 did (she and MJ) gaze at each other back and forth and just smiled and waved at each other the whole time. As she puts it, they just kept on repeating this silent, unscripted and unrehearsed scene over and over again. BUT it was Michael, who broke the ice and took it to another level.
Though he did regularly gaze at me, I was in awe when I caught him looking at my butt. He just approached me up close boldly and studied my butt. Then he took a moment to look away for a second after he did that and it was as if he was thinking or as if he was somewhere else? Then after he took this little pause moment he just bluntly asked, ‘Were you a ballerina?’
MJ: ‘You wore pointy shoes and danced on your toes?’
TY: ‘Yes, I did.’,
[Page 70] Flirty Talk, Sexy Walk:
(After their flirting in and out of the car and her fall along with MJ helping her up and wiping her butt off and the 2 giggling and him telling her not to walk away and stay there with him. Because in MJ’s eyes she didn’t need to change her stocking because it was sexy the way she had her runs on them, she says this happened with MJ. With him being mischievous and testy, he became the over seer and had the last word on his video-he was like an construction worker with the way he acted with her that day.) This was the moment that was one of the most pleasurable and special we shared between us. He said to me, he absolutely loved the way I walked, it was all so sexy. He was all so sexy just by the way he said it to me. His words,
‘You’ve got a great walk’, TY:’It’s just a walk.’, MJ:’Oh no! It’s a “special” walk. It’s sexy.’
[Page 71] Role Reversal: This was during a break and she shared with him how she did see him about 3 years old in NY, he was walking ahead of her that day and she followed him.
TY:’Yeah, I was there during the Victory Tour.”
MJ: ‘Why didn’t you say something? You should have said something.’
TY: ‘I was too shy; couldn’t think of what to say.’
[On page 72, she shows a pic of her and MJ when they were performing for the Bad Tour onstage and he is checking her butt out with excitement. She comments how much she enjoyed the fact that he would often check out her butt.] Also from this page she talks about MJ pointing out the 2 birds from above mating and she mentions how by this moment she became use to with MJ often looking at her with “naughty” looks, stares and his sweet smirk-it all became familiar to her now. Could It Be I’m Falling in Love?:
[Page 73] She finds out that it was originally written in the script for her and MJ to kiss but it was Joe the director who decided to not do that. She now admits she had no clue, as she wasn’t privy to the script. She was completely unaware of this while they were filming this video. She now seems to realize and understand that while she and MJ were doing their hugs embrace scene that they were acting and there’s a great possibility that MJ just may’ve not necessarily been trying to comfort her because of her being upset that this was the end of their working together in this video. She did say that it was all professional. Towards the end of the video of the 2’s hug and makes an heart, she shares how that was not planned or scripted it just happened that way and everyone especially the director pointed it out and was pleasantly surprised. She felt it was a sign from God himself.
[Page 74 and 75] Teased at the Table:
During the last 2 days of shooting the video, everyone but MJ and LaToya had 4-5 tables set together by the caterers to server their lunch. All the production crew, director, extras and etc all gathered together for their meal. It was MJ and LaToya who ate privately in their trailers. During lunch at the tables it was so much like elementary school. As she walked to get her food and take her place at the table, some people were teasing her about she and Michael, ‘Oooh. You and Michael like each other.’ they would say. Then someone else went with a chorus of giggles, ‘They’re all in love.’ Even the director joined in with the teasing of that, he somehow had teasingly choreographed the scene with everyone acting like children cackling. She understood it was all fun but it did make her blush beet-red. Eventually the director quieted his class. She eventually ran quickly away from everyone because she was getting embarrassed even though she knew it was harmless fun to them.
“I Love You, Michael”: As she made her way to respectfully leave Michael and Frank from their trailer; and after she received a hat from both of them, as she was walking she said to MJ, ‘I love you, Michael.’ and according to her Michael said, ‘I love you too.’
She kept in contact after the video was finished with, Craig (MJ’s stand-in), David Banks and Joe Seneca. She shares here how not only David Banks who was amazed by how tiny she was but Michael Jackson as well. Michael Jackson would say to her, ‘So, you’re a size zero?’
She says that she was so small that she would slip through his (MJ’s) hands.
Chapter 10:Slipping from the Grip of the Glove: Shamless Curiosity:
Pg. 77 and 78: She now realizes and found out that after her People magazine interview everything else she did was set up through MJ’s team for pre-filmed interviews from music channels so as BET, VH1, and MTV. Willie Harper was in charge and on January 5, 1988-when she met him he was contracted by MJJ Productions (which was MJ’s) as the director of the interviews. She has met Willie before that they-to her they clicked very well and had chemistry. She felt that he was the one who inspired and gave MJ the idea for the morphed faces in Black/White. You see, what Willie Harper did in the PM Magazine piece on MJ and Tatiana was morphed their faces together starting from her into Michael’s. She felt MJ saw that and liked what he did and that’s why he was (Willie) hired to work with MJ again She got to have creative input with Willie and enjoyed every moment working with him during their 10-hour day hrs. Her ex-Angel got to choreograph the dance sequences.
Keeping Pace with Paula (Abdul):
Juile was also working with Paula Abdul as well. Tatiana had gotten to actually work with Paula in a commercial before and found Paula very sweet. One day while filming the commercial with her Paula had her show another girl on her classical ballet skills along with contemporary dance. They were all impressed by her (Paula was impressed by Tatiana). Paula said to her, ‘You’ll work a lot with moves like that.’ (she said with a big smile)
Tatiana shared how she was aware that Paula was dating Arsenio Hall at this time and would’ve loved if she and Paula got to be sisters-in-laws if they both got to marry a Jackson. According to Tatiana, Paula had dated MJ’s brother Jackie Jackson and if she only got to marry Michael, they would’ve been sisters-in-laws and Tati would have loved that. They both would be “Mrs.Jackson”. Tatiana also helped plugged Paula’s show, “Live to Dance’ in this book.
[Page 80 and 81] Facial Recoginition:
She expresses how began to be scared out of her mind out of the 24 hours a day of starting to she her face, likeness and image everywhere thanks to the video she did with MJ. She began to get followed by people and being recognized everywhere was went. She had her “taste” with fame when she was in Tokyo, Japan, but it was nothing like this! This was now worldwide across from one country to another. While in Hollywood people from all over the globe was now aware of her and now began to be weird and insane to her. She was now being asked for autographs and etc. and also had to deal with the press. She also explains who she got to be in contact or “associated” with Martin Bashire in 2004. She recalls how in 2004, one prominent media involvement tricked her on this one. What happened was it was from during the time MJ’s trial was about to start. This was about around the time she had been working on her ’05 book. She understood that people began to have an “interest” in her because of MJ’s case. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) contacted her for an interview. They flew her from Miami to New York, and had an female reporter to questioned her. After that was done, people began asking her why on earth did she agree to do an interview with Martin Bashir? She had no clue what they meant? She admitted she has never met Martin Bashir, that’s when she found out what had happened. BBC dubbed Martin Bashir’s voice over the female reporter, with made it look like she was being interview by him. This in truth never happened. BBC knew what they were doing, they had just “manipulated” the situation for what they wanted to present
[Page 82 and 85] Chapter 11: Making It Back to Michael:
Reunited!: Craig (MJ’s stand-in) explained to her that MJ was too shy to call her himself and ask her to visit him on the set of Leave Me Alone so, he asked him to do it for him. Also, she would have to clear this up with MJ’s secretary Joli (Levine). Craig also very much insisted that this “invitation” was 100% directly from Michael. Craig gave her the number to MJ’s office where Joli was, to call her. After she arrived between takes she now hints and wonders if the pictures taken by Sam Emerson (of her and Michael), MJ’s personal photographer-if they weren’t “scripted”. From her exact words, “It may have been “scripted”. Either way, Sam took a full role of film with between she and MJ.
Baby Bad: At a log adjacent to Leave Me Alone, there was Baby Bad set. During a break, she, Miko and Michael all 3 walked over to it. She was glad to be away from Karen Faye who gave her the creeps. Michael she recalls was in grins and seemed very happy. A moment she will never forget. As they reached to the Baby Bad set, MJ said, ‘This is the Baby Bad set, what do you think?’
TY: Oh my god, it’s so adorable, it’s so cute. It’s just like the other set, but smaller; for little people. It’s so cute.’
They all laughed about it. MJ ended up pointing out certain detail things about the set. On the wall the words read, ‘Baby Bad’ instead of ‘Bad’. When she got to see the actual video from Baby Bad, on tv she was able to realize what it was that MJ showed her. She also felt so honored that he had shared this with her even before it became made and shown world wide. She felt and thought it was so sweet that he wanted to share something so near and dear to his heart with her.
[Page 86-88] A Ride with Royalty:
Once she heard the words ‘It’s a wrap!” she knew it was time to go. She remembers that when she arrived to the set that spent $40.00 to get a cab and asked if Miko mind to take her home. Miko told her he would have to clear that up with Michael 1st. But before Miko had the chance to ask Michael, Michael actually approached her by making his way to say goodbye to her. She asked Michael herself, and his eyes lit up with excitement and said to her, ‘Sure, no problem.’ Miko came up to her with an armful of boxes of Super Soakers-large, powerful water guns-that he had just picked up from Michael’s request. Miko asked for her to help carrying them to the car. She carried about 2-3 light boxes into their trunk. As they made their way from the studio to back to the car, Michael was walking following back them. It was Miko who opened the door for her and she got in on the driver’s side of the back seat of the car.
Girl Interrupted: She at some point placed her hand on top of one of Michael’s hand and picked up the other one and put them both in hers and held them very gently. She felt his nervousness-but she was nervous as well. When the phone rang coming from Joli, she removed one of her hands from one of his so that he could grab the phone…When they made it to her door on Orchid Avenue, just up the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, she thanked Michael for being so kind of giving her a ride home. and she thanked Miko as well. (The rest was pretty much exactly the same from the ’05 verison.)
A Dark Tonight Show? It was April 11, 1988 and I came on the show. He kept on insisting and hinting around that there just must be something going on between me and Michael and I kept on repeating the same answer! He would say, ‘So, are you and Michael really dating?’ and I would say, ‘No, we’re not. Our relationship is strictly professional.’ and then he would go, ‘Oh come on!’ So after his “insistence” I just decided to say ‘No, we’re not. Not yet anyway.’-I didn’t know what else to do?! He refused to believe we weren’t dating-so I didn’t know any other way to deal with it. I thought what I said was ok and he made me feel so uncomfortable and nervous, what else could I say? Either way, I later was told that Michael wasn’t happy that I said, ‘Not yet anyway.’ I was so confused, I mean, why? Part of me felt that maybe this person who told me or “claimed” Michael didn’t like my answer was only jealous and saw me as a threat; because other than that I don’t get why he would felt what I said was a problem?
[Page 89] Distrusting Dileo?: On February 18, 1988, in his office in Ventura, around 40 miles Northwest of L.A. I was excited to see Michael and thought I was, but turns out he wasn’t going to be there that day. Frank wanted me to remove my feelings from Michael and I believe he possibly told Michael to remove his feelings from me? Frank also told me that I would be invited to see Neverland one day, but he said it in such a way that gave me an impression nor Michael or Dileo family would be there? Either way, at least he did say I still would be working with Michael and gave me the Bad Tour jacket as an gift. Then he brought up the invitation I got straight from Michael over the audition for his new video Dirty Diana. He disagreed with Michael’s idea of me doing another video with Michael. When the video came out, so many fans thought in fact it was me. To this day many of them still do! [Page 90]This Bad Is Good!: That following week on February 17, 1988, I finally got the confirmation that I was indeed going to work with Michael-just like both he and Frank said. I had been added to the Bad tour. By this time so many people including my agent Julie told there have been rumors everywhere that Michael had feelings for me. For not too long the tabloids would catch up with this story.
Chapter 12: A Taste of Touring: [Page 91] At the Hotel:
On February 22, 1988, I joined the tour in Kansas City. As soon as I got there the 1st person I saw was Miko. We picked up our luggage, and off to the hotel. The hotel staff all were impeccable. They personally escorted me to my room but to the bellman there was horror, my room wasn’t clean. He apologized completely and went to the manager. As I dropped my bags off, Karen Faye and her assistant, Anne Morgan were there viewing it all. I tried to chat with them ’til the bellman came back. The bellman told me that the management were honored to have me and I would be moved to another floor. I was truly honored to been in such a grand hotel and was grateful for how kind they were. He gave me a key that had an elevator access to this floor, with a beautiful corridor and led directly to my suite. This was a private floor and this suite was breathtaking. By the time I went by to L.A., I received news that Karen Faye was claiming I was the one who asked and demanded the suite. What I noticed was Michael’s camp were threatened by my presence. Rehearsal:
Once I was settled in my room, it was time for Kemper Arena and met with my director. This was the PM Magazine piece regarding the tour. The PM Magazine cameras were there when I came off stage, asking me all kinds of questions.
[Page 93] I used Miko’s shoulder, with my eyes crying for the next 5 minutes. Miko kept an watch over me, he kept me company. This all seemed to be his job because he was always there. The Bored Room: When I joined the Kansas City show it was the final night there. I spent most of the time in my hotel room watching movies and being bored. The only person I ever got to speak to or see was Miko. Band members and all of them told me Michael told them not to spend time with me. I took it as meaning on Michael’s part, ‘This is mine. Don’t mess with it!’
[Page 97] Star Gazed:
A woman just walked in front of me as I was watching rest of Michael’s performance. She was blocking my view, as I moved from behind her, she finally turned and said, ‘Oh! Excuse me!’ It turned out to be Diana Ross! I tried to tell her that I often get people telling me that I look just like her, she seemed surprised but said nothing. We just both returned to watch and look at Michael. Now You See Him, Now You Don’t: He was surrounded by a so many people. I just gave up trying to get near him. All I could do was watch the whole thing, but I managed to yell out something to him. 1st I was concerned that he wouldn’t hear me, with so many people surrounding him. Within a few seconds I got to see him look towards me and say thank you back to me. I was so surprised yet happy to hear him speak among the huge crowd of people and he was able to hear me?! [Page 98]
This was the next day and we were now at Madison Square Garden. This would be our 1st date in New York City. I wanted so much to speak with Michael one on one, I wanted an private moment with him. But yes, we did have verbal exchanges during our rehearsals, but that was brief and wasn’t enough for me. With him being the one to not allow anyone but Miko to be around me, it led me to believe he was going to spend time with me. This all played with my mind. and I was still going all these messages and little mentions and comments from him to me. I often tried to ask Miko about Michael and would ask what he was doing. Once a week passed and I still hadn’t got a reply from Joli on my request to speak with Michael, I tried again. She tried to tell me to be real patient and he was real busy. MY First Taste of Tabloids: It was March 4, 1988 and I spent part of my day with Miko in my room. The next day I wrote in my diary, there was this mystery guy who kept on calling me and calling me. He wanted to know what it was like working with Michael, after several attempts of me hanging up on the guy; I eventually did let him speak to me. I answered his question and told him I loved working with Michael and that its great! I found out later that he worked for National Enquirer; and he lied or mis-quoted me. He put in the Enquirer that I said I loved Michael. Yes this was privately true but I wouldn’t tell a stranger that! I in no way told him that. At the same time Michael privately told his mother that he was in love with me. I did the same with my mother and she was the only one who knew at this time.
[Page 99]Catty Chatty: While I was sitting in the make-up chair, I tried to still make nice with Karen Faye. I shared with how many people mention me and Michael looking alike and even the PM Magazine compared the 2 of us. I even asked her opinion of the matter? She had this disgusted look on her face and such negative attitude. and she said, ‘Oh no, you and Michael look absolutely nothing alike. You have completely different looks.’ After she said what she said and the way she said it, I decided to no longer speak with her. It was like she really didn’t want to talk to me? I just didn’t get her problem what so ever. I just got up from that chair and made my way to the bathroom, as I was trying to push the door that swung in, something was pushing the door out? It was Janet Jackson-Michael’s sister! I asked her for a quick picture to be taken together but she said nothing and just stared at me with those big brown eyes and did nothing. I actually admired her work as well but the only thing I can think of for the reason of her attitude was that she was real shy to meet me. I still don’t know?
The Garden Kiss: As I was making my way to the long hallway towards the entrance, I ran into Madonna and she was leaving the stage to take her seat.[Page 100] This time I decided on my own to kiss Michael on the cheek. When I did that, the dancers told me that I made Michael so happy and excited. They said I made his day! I thought it was a good thing. As I made it to the dressing room there were celebs everywhere! There was one reporter who put me and Brooke Shields together, we exchanged some words (pleasantries) and once I noticed LaToya, I went over to her. We talked to each other and then the press caught us and we took a photo of us together. The photo made it in Rolling Stone’s magazine. I saw it as one the coolest photo in my life. The following day with our day off, Miko again was with me and entertaining me and we had lunch and yes, I asked about Michael.
[Page 101-103] Contact with the King:
It was March 5, 1988, got to do another show in New York and afterwards there was an CBS party thrown in honor of Michael. Joli approached me and told me she knew that Michael had feelings for me because he speaks about me often. She was determined to make this talk with Michael to happen for me. As I was in the middle of a luxury bath (relaxing) at the Parker Meridian. The phone rang, it was Joli! She was really rushing I could tell from her voice. She told me immediately to call Michael, but to not take very long because he wasn’t feeling well-he was tired. So when I call him ask for Michael ‘cause Bill will answer it. Bill was Michael’s personal assistant. I was really excited, so excited and nervous my hands were shaking and heart beating so loud, I could hear it! I paced in my room for a little while, then I decided to just get over my nerves and call him. But when I called it wasn’t Bill who answered it-it was Michael! It was so obvious that Michael was waiting by the phone for me to call him. (He knew I was going to call him?.)
[Page 102] After I explained to him how the fans never understood why we never kissed, then I “reasoned” that kissing him would be “a good thing”. The Kiss Heard Around the World:
[Page 103] (This pg. has the complete play by play of what led to “the kiss”, from her grabbing a hold of him by the collar, to him looking into her eyes-biting his bottom lip, to him (or both) landing the kiss on each other lips and then him looking to the audience biting his bottom lip-looking all macho and proud that the 2 kissed and her looking at him “thinking” they did a “great thing” and the 2 maybe an “item” now. Her comment about these pix, ‘Our history-making kiss was Michael’s 1st ever public display of affection. I loved him more than life itself.’)
Tatiana’s 2011 book:
[Page 104] Her favorite article about her kiss with MJ onstage:
This one was from New of the World, Sun day, exclusive:
“Love Shock For Jackson, sexy sizzler drives Michael Wild”.Chapter 15: Leaving for La La Land [Page 110-113]
A Record with the Devil?: This is the way it went: Whenever I would hit a bad note when I was trying to sing on this record with Joshua Thompson (of group Surface); they would turn the lights off, in this claustrophobic booth and used the synthesizer to produce demonic, along with devil like noises and Josh would speak into the mike. Each time they would do that, I couldn’t help but to scream several times because I hated it! Regardless, they wouldn’t stop. They kept continuing with their cruel jokes and eventually they all laughed out loud. Then, I decided to ask them why are they doing this? They told me, ‘That’s what we’re going to do whenever you hit a bad note.’ They claimed this was suppose to help me but I didn’t see any proof in that. Here this was suppose to be an very promising opportunity with the signing record deal with CBS, but all of that crumbled like cake. They wanted to be my producers, however, they were not my idea of good producers-I would want others than them. They wrote the 3 songs I was suppose to do and we only got to one. I didn’t get to have any say in the matter and the song we did do had like an Latin salsa beat and it was called, 99 degrees. Joshua also had the nerve to try and exploit my friendship with Vanity. I asked him to please not to but he didn’t listen. What he did was send a message with her record company in my name and asked her to call me. She returned the message by calling me and I had no clue what was going on? Vanity: My record label said you called., Tati: What? I didn’t call you. Then I finally figured it out what just happened, I was so disgusted with Josh. I didn’t want any part with him and left the whole ordeal. [Page 113] This picture on this page of MJ having his leg upon Tatiana and with him looking right at her, as she looking into the camera and has her arm over his shoulder and his arm is on her side-this pic appeared in the 1988 Michael Jackson Calendar for the month of May. Her comment of this picture, ‘It was still another “close” moment and happy time between us.’
Chapter 17: The Aftermath: [Page 117-131]
My agent Julie finally “kind of” explained to me why I was no longer part of Michael’s tour. She told me I had been only “added”, I wasn’t necessarily “offically” part of the tour. There wasn’t any concrete 100% guarantee that I was always be in this tour. She said I was an “trial”, so therefore she did not need to request for any type of “contract”.
[Page 118] The MTV Travesty: At the VMAs on September 7, 1988. Michael happened to be nominated for an award, however, he wouldn’t be present to accept his award he won. This was because of his tour he was still on. Terri, my manager, told me that MTV’s producers had just received an okay for me to accept the award for Michael. This was from Michael’s camp, I found all of this so odd considering I no longer even work for/with Michael? Terri went with me and took me shopping and helped bought me this really nice white dress for this event. I really felt like I was in a fairytale. When this event arrived and it was time for Michael’s award to be accepted; as I was ready to come onstage…this happened, the announcer said, ‘Since he (Michael) couldn’t be here tonight, as he’s still on tour, we accept this on his behalf.’ Well, I spent money on this dress and spent all this time coming on here for Nothing! They had time to inform me and tell me that they had changed their initial idea-but however they did not tell me at all. Obviously, I was “someone’s” joke.
By September 14, 1988 there were tabloids running everywhere about me and Michael. There was the Globe with their stories. I must tell you I had never spoken to any European tabloids except for that reporter who had persistence when I was in New York briefly touring with Michael. But Michael, however, had spoken to at least one. My friend Marie Gabriel who had lived in London while all of this was going on, sent me the article that had spoken to Michael. From The Sun, ‘Love shock for Jackson sexy sizzler drives Michael wild.’ I realized that Michael did speak or shared stories with the National Enquirer and that’s how The Sun got their story, they copied what Enquirer originally had with Michael. This is what National Enquirer actually had, ‘Jackson stunned concert fans by locking himself his first public kiss with Thumbtzen. ‘I love her because she’s warm, caring and exciting,’ Michael said.’
[Page 121] Musing with “Mother”: David Banks was always trying to distance me from having any feelings for Michael; he finally presented to me what his “true” intentions were. He always had something negative to say about Michael and always tried to make him look like the bad guy-like Michael was this horrible person who only exploited me for his selfish gain. While I was at the Jacksons house David asked me out on a date. I said, ‘Are you kidding? I’m old enough to be your daughter.’
*I was at the time 27 and he was 45. So I added, ‘Well, how would you like it if an older man asked your daughter out?’
DB: I wouldn’t, TY: I didn’t think so., DB: Well, Peewee, you can’t knock a man for trying.
[Page 122-131] Chapter 18: Residual Ruination: A Really Different World: After thanks to Sinbad’s help and Terri’s (my manager) as well, I was suppose to appear as a guest on the show. This was a part of the deal they made with Terri. I’ll admit when I audition for it, I was totally unprepared and it was one of the worse thing I did to my career. Debbie Allen seemed to me more concern on wanting to know any “sexual” details between me and Michael Jackson. She just asked me one day how big was his “anatomy”, like I knew?! I would never discuss it anyway. I just laughed it off when she asked me. I would often run into the cast of Different World after I did the intro for the show. What got to me was even after my unprepared audition Debbie did promise me and Terri I would have at least an guest appearance-that never did happened? I could feel and sense the energy emanating from Debbie and her friends-something was up and not being said. They would “accidentally” whipped their hair in my face. (Now this happened months later at a nightclub) This happened that night after Debbie told me a producer was looking for me and wanted to work for me but she just couldn’t remember who it was. Hollywood calls this, ‘mind f***k.’ The cast members, you name it about everyone associated to this show pretty much treated me this way whenever I saw them. Eddie Murphy: He’s a very talented man and I met him at a club. One of his guards came to me at my table and introduced himself. He gave me Eddie’s card; we exchanged numbers. We eventually talked on the phone a few days later and then he invited me to a Beverly Hills restaurant. When we were on the phone, and I accidently said Pepsi-he some how sensed I must’ve been still thinking about Michael Jackson-cause he brought it up and he was right. At the restaurant, he was more serious, I kind of was hoping for the funny Eddie. During our date, we did end up talking about Michael again like we did on the phone. This time we talked more about the tour and how it was going seen my sudden absence. Eddie did share with me he personally knew the Jacksons and he and Jermaine have been talking about the things they didn’t like about Michael’s tour-especially the back-up singers doing J-5 material. I didn’t think it was right for me to share my sentiments of especially how I felt about Sheryl Crow replacing me. So I didn’t reply on the subject.
[Page 127] Concert Trauma: (On the last show Michael did in L.A., they all went to the show. Tatiana with the Jackson family and Corey Feldman went on this own and etc.) When it got to the end of the show we were all ready to leave-but not soon enough. What made us want to leave was when Sheryl Crow came strutting doing my part. I wasn’t prepared to see this. I had a hard time seeing her wearing my dress and doing the character I created. I tried to be respectful and realized she just was a performer following orders. Jermaine felt and knew my pain and he was looking right at me, he very kindly asked if I was ok. Then I said something in the effect, ‘No, I’m not.’ I just wanted to leave.
[Page 129] Complaints from the Clan:
Margaret, Jermaine’s girlfriend (at the time)-who became the mother 2 of his sons, said she thought that Frank Dileo was threatened by me and saw his paychecks going through the window. Katherine Jackson agreed with her.
[Page 131] Even though Milli Vanilli did become the brunt of Arsenio Hall’s jokes. He did allow them to sing live on his show. However, my own experience with Arsenio wasn’t such a good one. How can I forget my only one time I met him. As we all are aware of his big long hands and fingers, he squeezed my hands so hard and tightly that I couldn’t help but to muffled out a scream; once I did that he scurried away. A few people were around when this happened. A man even asked me what happened, and if I was ok. I just was so shocked, and tried not to call anymore attention to what just happened. I don’t even get what Arsenio was calling himself doing? I tried not to have any ill-will towards him. God only knows what that was all about.
Chapter 19: Managing Joe Jackson [Page 133 and 134] A Loser Lawyer: Through my ex-Angel, I got an female attorney to help me with the contract. She seemed her main desire or interest was to have her association with the Jacksons. Several years later, after our awkward experience with “working together” and both of us years ago decided to go our separate ways-we met again. It was September 3, 2010, 1st annual Never Can Say Goodbye Event honoring Michael. During that day I went on took photos and shared some kind words to this woman who I vaguely remembered. She went to Majestik and had an brief conversation to him and said, ‘Oh she (meaning me) hates me.’ I was like, I don’t hate anyone?! That’s not what I do, is hate anyone. I was wondering who is this woman? What she is getting at? Then I found out she was the lawyer that I had during that time I was working with Joe. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even recognize her. I say, her conscience was bothering her.
[Page 148] Prince’s Palace: (This was when Tati met Prince on her birthday-at a club with MJ’s stand-in Craig and some of her friends were with her. To make a long story short, she ended the evening with going to his hotel. She now does claim they “dated”.) We went into his living room then he asked if I was hungry. I told him I was. Next thing I know minutes later everything I asked for was ordered in doubles. Prince didn’t eat anything. I don’t get why he ordered tons of stuff then? Maybe he thought I was a pig. Then we eventually were ready for bed. He gave me his pjs to wear and he was wearing a black cat suit with half of the waist missing. With a chain attached to the cat suit that dangled from his waist on one side of him to the other. Then we both curled up like little kittens, and went straight to sleep. I know that’s hard to believe, but truly was as simple and as innocent as that. From what I gathered, Prince didn’t make much sexual overt moves on Madonna either. They dated like in 1985 and she had been quoted of saying, ‘He was just sipping tea, very daintily. I have this theory about people who don’t eat. They annoy me.’ This may have been meant to be a kind comment because in 2007, the two were caught on camera having a hug at an Oscar party. Either way, that night I really wasn’t able to fall asleep. I just couldn’t get over who I was curled in bed with-one of the greatest artist of all times. The public viewed Prince and Michael as musical rivals. To them, Michael was squeaky clean-Peter Pan and Prince being the sexually overt one. They were different as night and day, both geniuses who were interesting to observe. Prince in truth, actually admired and respected Michael. They were friends. Prince only spoke highly of Michael. Few days after I spent the night Prince invited me to a Teddy Riley concert.
[Page 151] Prince seemed to be concerned with the media and how they were going to put their twist on us. He really wanted to show respect for Michael. He even like many, believed there was something going on between me and Michael. In my heart, I wished it would be, but by this time I was hearing negative reports coming from his camp about me. At the same time, people were still reminding me that if Michael really cared why hasn’t he called. David Banks on several occasions when we would have long conversations about what happened to me. David would say, ‘I’m sure he (Michael) has your number. If he really cared, he would call.’ David wasn’t only the co-writer for TWYMMF, but he played the store owner in the video.
Now on to the show, it was incredible and Teddy Riley did an amazing job! Prince admired his work as well. After the show, Prince and I rode around Universal’s very large parking lot. Then he asked if I wanted to drive this limo for fun. I passed on this because I did not have my license at the time. I didn’t want to admit that to him, and I didn’t want to be responsible if the limo had crashed.
Chapter 21: Desperately Seeking DeNiro:[Page 163]
(She ended up having a total of 4 dates with DeNiro-which she claims were all due to thinking/ at least hoping he was going to help her with her now failing career. Does mention how much she wished she had followed her former mentor’s (Antonio Lopez) advice, about staying away from DeNiro-he’s Toukie’s man and he’s trouble. It seems she went on 4 dates with DeNiro that would expand to about 6 months since it began some time about May 1989 into 1990-since they end up going to see Pretty Woman-which was out in 1990.) So we went to see Pretty Woman (1990) and after the film was over, Bobby (Rob DeNiro) was to me unlike the character in the movie, I hadn’t found my prince charming him. I broke off everything with him. It was so obvious now with me that he was not going to help me with the contract was just an enticement to date me. You can call me crazy but I just couldn’t have any feelings with him. And I wasn’t about to just use him or any man that way to further my career. I value my self-confidence, self-esteem, and healthy does of self-respect-along with my virtues. With tons of pride, tempered with humility, I didn’t mind being determined to meet my success on my own. I got out of his Mercedes and didn’t look back.
[Page 168 and 169] Chapter 22: On Stage Again With Michael: Insincerely Yours: (On pg. 168 is the picture of her and MJ from the last time the 2 would ever see each other. Her comment regarding this picture and moment, ‘Michael and I reunited on stage at the BRE awards in 1989. This was when I had just presented him with the very heavy award statuette.’) When Michael’s speech was over, he abruptly walked off the stage-leaving me alone. This did not look good to the audience. I just stood there for a little while dumbfounded. With the audience’s disapproving sighs by Michael’s actions, broke my trance. They saw what he did as rudeness on his part. If this was on TV; perhaps he would not have left me on the stage alone. This was all odd to me, he acted like he wasn’t aware I was going to be there. He expressed how surprised and happy to see me. Ingrid Woodson, confirmed to me that he was aware and approved it. Once the curtains passed out of the view of the audience, his security surrounded him quickly, it was as if they were shielding him from anyone to try and approach him. He soon was completely out of view. Completely gone. Outside of the theatre I saw the large trailer that was for him, roped off by his team. I saw Mr.Browne and waited with him, I shared with him how bad I really wanted to talk to Michael. I expressed how he had been whisked away where I couldn’t talk to him. Ben encouraged me to go for it! So I tried to build up my courage and determination to speak to him and not let this opportunity slip through my hands. I wanted so badly to find out what happened, why I was “let go” from the tour-and been replaced. What I had done to have this happened? (If any of you have read the ’05 book, she pretty shares the same story. So I decided to stop there-but tomorrow I will post more on what Ingrid Woodson-the lady who invited Tati to the BRE awards explains in more detail why MJ acted the way he did.)
[Page 172-174]Demystifying Michael:
Ingrid Woodson spoke with me on the phone on why things went the way it did between Michael and me. She told me it had a lot to do with his publicist Bob Jones. Bob admitted to her that he had some concerns about me being involved with presenting Michael an award. Ingrid admitted she had to “reason” with Bob, saying it would be a nice thing if I showed up and presented Michael an award especially since we had worked together. From what I’ve been told, it would validate his masculinity to those who doubted it, trashing him as being weird. Many have said (especially fans) that we’re a perfect match. Bob eventually went along with the presentation as long as I wouldn’t speak to Michael. I didn’t get what Bob Jones was getting at. After all, I never met the man, he knew nothing about me and I knew nothing about him. But irony would set in years later, because by 2004 and during Michael trial Bob would turn on him and made a book criticizing Michael. Ingrid’s information helped me. Michael did know before I presented the award that I would be there. But oddly he would repeat at the show that he was surprised to see me and that he had no idea I would be there. I knew he wasn’t sincere by what he said. I hated to think of him in this light. But this was the reality of it. Not only did he know, he approved it as well-but as long as I had nothing to say to him. By the time I arrived to the show Ingrid gave me the missing pieces of what was said about me while I was there. ‘Michael doesn’t want to see or speak to Tatiana before the show.’ I was truly thankful for Ingrid.
[Page 173 and 174]The Rumor Mill: So many rumors were floating around. They were completely untrue. I supposedly stalked Michael, and that his security had to step in and pull me away from his limo. It was so bad that I couldn’t help but to think this person must have taken this storyline from Dirty Diana video. Rumors of me being a high class call girl. A nasty rumor and not true what so ever. That I written sexually vulgar letters to Michael. If I had, I don’t think his own mother would have encouraged me to send them. She read them herself. These rumors began after I was let go from his tour for the next two years and then they came back again after his passing. These rumors came from his fans all around the world. Some fans shared with me the correspondence of Ms.Karen Faye. She was exposed as the source of these such rumors. If those letters were authentic, then it would be consistent by Ms.Faye’s behavior with me all those years. Another who that’s recent allegedly told by Ms.Faye is that I slept with Lenoard Rowe a man who is a family friend of the Jacksons and concert promoter. I hadn’t met Rowe until the day of Michael’s funeral and burial. I never had such a romantic relationship with this man. I’ve been celibate for two years now I’m so happy to say-along with during this time I was writing this book. I still sent Michael a birthday gift right after the BRE event.
Chapter 23: Chasing the Wind: The Wild One:
About 3 months after the BRE event, I tried to get my mind off of it and stepped into the nightlife. This was the summer 1989, so I often went to the Roxbury club in L.A. I came across with Jaime Foxx and Bobby Brown on 2 different occasions. As I was walking through the club I felt a hand on my butt-it was Mr.Bobby Brown. I told him, ‘Excuse me.’
BB: Hey, it’s all bout da money.’ he mumbled in his Ghetto slang.
I asked, ‘Didn’t you just get married.’
BB: It’s all ’bout da money baby.
Then I just walked away. On another wild night at this club, men had been pulling and tugging me all night long it seemed. Then someone grabbed my arm, I turned around and it was Jaime Foxx. I just snapped my arm back and turned and walked away. Looking back I probably should have handled the way I tried them a bit better than I did. In August that was when I arranged with Katherine to send a gift to Michael. Jermaine’s girlfriend Margaret came over and picked it up and putted it in her jeep. (that was the gift she had of Marlon Brando life size portrait of him from film, The Wild One.) Facing the Ugly Facts: [Page 177]
As for all the changes Michael had went through surgically, I can only feel a bit of sadness that something or someone caused him to feel inadequate. In my eyes, he was always the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen! Painful Puberty: [Page 178]
In the last decade of Michael’s life there was a big change in not just his looks (with surgical enhancement) but his spirit as well. He seemed sad and losted to me. He changed to a point of being barely recognized. By this point in my life I had very few and fewer auditions. I was in a very odd position. It was like an catch-22 thing. People saw me as some celebrity but I wasn’t big enough and to my credit it was not building. Everywhere I went fans knew my name but with casting agents couldn’t seem to get pasted the ‘Michael Jackson Girl’ view.
Tatiana 2011 book: [Page 179, 181-182] From Miller to Thriller:
Since Michael had also worked with Ola Ray before me, in the Thriller video; I had for years wondered what it was like for her and if we shared similar experiences. I always imagine it would be amazing to personally meet her and share stories. I was so curious, but after Michael’s passing, I no longer feel that way. I feel my experiences with Michael-while I worked with him were unique.
Tatiana Goes to Jail-in South Korea!: I was part of this show that included Michael and Janet Jackson lookalikes. When we had flown to South Korea since we were scheduled to perform in this city of Pusan. This promoter of ours ran off with our money! We were stuck with the hotel bill, we barely had any money between us to buy some food to eat! The security followed us as we went to buy some food; as it turned out we became hostages! This was crazy. We tried to escape. By 5 am we tried to snuck through the lobby, got busted! The Michael Jackson impersonator threw down some real karate on the bellman. Anyhow, they motioned us to go ahead and leave. As we were on our way out, cops were pulling up, and we were all arrested! We were taken to the police precinct and we had 14 grueling and stressful hours to deal with. The investor eventually came and bailed us out. He paid the hotel bill and all other expenses. He eventually took us to a 5-star restaurant where we got to eat a wonderful meal. Since we already at least have her plane tickets, he didn’t have to pay for that. All I can say, Karma is a bitch!
The Wizard of Oz [Page 182]: Michael’s mother heard of my hard times and gave me $50 through Majestik. I felt that at least Michael’s mom really did care for me. I also sensed-perhaps, she felt frustrated that she couldn’t do anything to really help me-especially with her son Michael to talk with me. I guess, it was harder for her than I could realize. As his mother maybe she just didn’t want to push him. You’ll never know.
[Page 194 and 195] This is about when she appeared on Maury Povich show during MJ’s late 1993 into early 1994 scandal with the ugly Chandler family: The panels who had worked with Michael were security guards who worked with him when he still lived in the Jackson’s family home in Encino. In fact, they were involved in a lawsuit against the Jacksons-as well. They told these stories about Michael and young boys as his guest at the house. This proved I was out of my realm. I couldn’t add or say anything on this topic. The security guards didn’t mind saying I never visited the house when Michael still lived in the Jacksons’ family house. What can I say, they were right! I became a visitor after Michael just moved out of there. Then when I blurted out that Michael and I were dating and his mother at least confirmed he had feelings for me. This happened around the same time when Jermaine came on BET and answered, ‘Yes, yes, yes. There was Tatiana who he was very close to.’ In fact, their mother Katherine revealed to the world that Michael told her that he loved me angered the other panelist because they were on a mission to have Michael as an gay, pedophile, and asexual man.
[Page 195-198] MJ’s Not Gay!:
His own mom confirmed this fact (of him having feelings for me) not only to me-myself, but to the world. I tried to write to Oprah, in hopes that she would do a story on all other women that he worked with-which would include me. No response from Lady O. This surprised me. She seemed pretty distanced from Michael during this ugly time in his life?. But years later she had Lisa Marie (his ex-wife) and even his parents and children on her show-those were all positive lights on Michael. I could even relate to LMP.
It’s so obvious that the media never really treated Michael right-or even those associated to him. They wanted me to be against him and was using me for it. I was their scapegoat-that’s what they wanted from any female connected to Michael. It would help keep him in their “image” of Michael as gay, pedophile and asexual. Some people even asked me why even do that story with the Star? It helped me to feel guilty about it. Even Prince-the man I dated, was one of them.
Chapter 28: Just Married: Lisa Marie Presley, Leave It to the Lord:
[Page 201] Whatever reason, it wasn’t mean to be (between me and Michael) in this life. I do believe in destiny, and as much as I loved and adored him, something always pushed us a part. I’ve tried not to regret anything, there’s always something to learn in all things. One should never regret a lesson. Really mistakes are blessings. Everything has a reason and a rhyme in this life.
Chapter 29: Life and Learning, The Prostitute Panel: [Page 203]
The only author with a legitimate story besides mine on Once More With Feeling was Jennifer Young. The others just may’ve had legitimate stories also, but nothing like ours. This didn’t hit me until we had our book tour. I had to say to myself, ‘What the Hell am I doing?’ While sitting on this panel with openly admitting prostitutes. I’m not trying to have anything against them, however, I was in wrong company for certain. I was thinking, ‘Will I ever the right forum to tell my story?’ I was so mad at myself for just settling for my deal. So, that’s exactly what I did, settled! The reason why I did it because I thought any deal is better than no deal! Well, I found out that wouldn’t be true. I still had so much to learn. I had to sit back and wait for the right opportunity to come along-at the right time. Life’s Lessons: With me trying to be head strong all throughout my career all backfired on me. I was in wrong company, during the promotion of this “prostitute panel”. We were on camera for a high profile entertainment show. While the camera was focused on me they said, ‘former call girls’, giving an obvious title that I was a former call girl!
[Page 204 and 205] Here, I went to do this book deal with an headstrong belief to finally tell my story the way I wanted. Personally knowing Margaret (Jermaine’s ex-girlfriend) reassuring me that it was a great deal. I felt that I was in good hands with Allstate. But, now…I don’t blame her. I did sue that entertainment show for claiming I was a former prostitute. They settled out of court. With my attorney they had sent me a threat saying that I will never work in Hollywood town again. They didn’t realize, “someone” had “black-listed” me long time ago. However, it was never nice to have to hear that type of talk. They called me derogatory name and threatened to ruin my career, that has been done already-hasn’t it?
Principal Lessons: [Page 205] It was so hard to have to see articles and books I was affiliated with misrepresent me by completely misquoting me or quoting me out of context-mainly just lying.
Chapter 30: Home Sweet Home, Clearer Waters: All I could kept on thinking about to myself: if people only knew the confusion, turmoil, stress, pain, lies, rumors, and corruption that took place between Michael and me,or the slander against me. Would people still consider me “lucky”? I don’t see that.
[EXPAND Talking about the events relating to Michael’s passing and attending his funeral, Excerpt from Tatiana’s book “King of My Heart” ]
When I was told that Michael had passed (it seemed that Tatiana had been working at an restaurant as a waitress) I almost fell to the floor. It was until I was flipping from one channel to the next. Then, it finally hit me. I completely lost it. When I spoke to my friend Iris that next day, she said I should eat something. I told her I wanted vodka to calm me down. She bought me 2 small bottles of vodka, but suggested for me to eat some soup. I ate some soup, she also bought me my favorite candies, twizzlers. During the next 2 weeks I had sharp pains in my chest; I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I was having sharp pains in my chest. I ended up praying for God to take me. Then that next morning when I woke up and realized I was still here, I actually said, ‘Are you kidding me? Must I, another day?’
[Page 213] Around 2 weeks before the funeral I called Majestik, who was helping Mrs.Jackson pack to go to London. Aware we wanted to speak to each other he put her on the phone.
TY: Hi Mrs.Jackson. How are you doing?
KJ: Oh hi, how are you?
She went immediately to Michael-he was mainly in her thoughts.
KJ: They didn’t treat him right here.
TY: I know.
Then I got very emotional and began crying.
From Larry King to the King of Pop: After possibility for me to pay my respects, Mr. and Mrs.Jackson invited me to the funeral and family friend Majestik picked me up. Michael Joseph Jackson was finally laid to rest on September 3, 2009. Memories stirred with emotions came as I approached the house. It had been 20 years! I lost it at the gate. It hurt so badly.
Majestik: C’mon T, pull it together.
When we went inside I didn’t see Katherine, she was upstairs, so I was told. She didn’t come out til the service. Joe hugged me, after then family and friends sat together. There was silence, prompted Joe to say, ‘It’s too quiet here!’ He handed me the remote. I confessed, ‘Oh, you handed it to the wrong person. I don’t know how to work these things!’
Everybody laughed. Then the phone rang. Joe answered and turned it to Majestik. ‘You have to go and do that Larry King piece.’ Majestik turned to me. ‘Let’s go. You’re coming with us.’ Majestik said to me.
[Page 214] From CNN to the End: Angel Howansky, Joe’s publicist introduced me and Firpo Carr. After the Larry King piece with Leonard Rowe the group headed to Michael’s final resting place in Forrest Lawn.
Memorial Service: My mind drifted while sitting back to the Bad Tour days, with Corey Feldman, Alfonso Riberio, Margaret Maldonado, Rebbie, Michael’s bodyguards, and Mrs.Jackson all said that Michael loved me; talked about me regularly; even considered marrying me. As I found them and began to make my way through down the row I heard someone say ‘That’s the girl from one of his videos.’ I looked up and saw Chris Tucker sitting on the end of the row. Our eyes met as I made my way to my seat. When I sat down I tapped his shoulder. I began to choke up, ‘Hello, I always wanted to meet you…’ Chris, ‘Yes, I know, but under different circumstances.’ I really appreciated his consideration as I understood he was hurting too. I saw Kenny Ortega. Our eyes locked. I could see his pain welled up in his eyes. As if we said together, ‘What an awful day. What an awful 1st circumstance under which we meet. What an awful thing we have to share.’ I stumbled slightly but someone caught me. When I made it to the coffin, I reached out to touch it. I spoke to him with my mind. While I was doing this something interrupted it. Someone snapped a photograph. People immediately chewed him out. After things calm down I turned back to the coffin. After my thoughts I tried to pull out a flower, but couldn’t. A hand pulled it out and handed it to me.
[Page 216] Way out of the mausoleum I saw Katherine. She was standing by the balcony-like structure. Several women were hovering around her. One of them being Rebbie, I gave her a hug. Katherine was distraught to go into mausoleum. Frozen with grief. I came to her and hugged her and told her I loved her. When I released and pulled back, I brushed against her ear and knocked her earring off. I tried to pick it up and handed back to her and apologized for my grief-with my clumsiness. She kindly accepted it, while dealing with her own grief. Linking Up With Lisa: After the funeral the cars all went to a restaurant in Pasadena, several miles from Forest Lawn in Glendale, California, less than 10 miles from L.A. It was like everyone was there. This was where I met a brief introduction to Lisa Marie Presley. Rebbie introduced us. I was sitting down and Lisa and Rebbie were standing nearby. Rebbie: This is Tatiana.
Lisa gave me a pleasant nod of acknowledgement and bowed slightly as she reached down to shake my hand. We locked eyes, and then I said, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you.’ She responded with strong silent stare, after which she and Rebbie returned to their conversation as I floated in and out of the fact Michael was gone. I didn’t enjoy myself for one moment.
[Page 218-220] Back to Encino: I asked to be taken home. Leonard Rowe fully understood this request, & saw it that our driver took us back to the Encino house. There I met Paris, Michael’s little girl, for the very 1st time. She was told I ‘was the girl with the golden brown hair that danced with your father in the video, TWYMMF, her eyes lit up. She took a deep joyful sigh. Paris: Oh! Wow! Really?!
With her radiant smile brought unanticipated warmth to my heart.
TY: Come here Sweetie & give me a hug.
Paris caressed me around my waist & squeezed so gently. If felt like if Michael was hugging me through her. I was surrounded by Mrs.Jackson. She tried to be strong for everyone, she was still completely distraught. To soothe my pain, I drew portraits of Michael & presented it in a fame to Mr.& Mrs.Jackson. They appreciated it & placed them in the Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 museum. Leonard took me home.
Loose Ends & Letting Go: A woman named Lorraine said she knew Michael just before his passing. She was now working with an artist who was doing a tribute to Michael, & was inviting me to be a part of this event. She wanted to meet me before that, so she invited me to see This Is It at the Archlight Hollywood at the Cinerama Dome. This was the final week of the film in theaters. We met at a restaurant inside the complex & had drinks prior to the movie. She told me he had just spoken about me on June 19, 2009, a week before he passed. My mouth dropped open. She wanted me to know that I was one of the 4 main women he really loved. The other 3 were Tatum O’Neal, Brooke Shields, & Lisa Marie Presley. Then dropped a bombshell: She told me I was still in Michael’s heart & he still loved me! She felt I should know that. She shared that when he heard I was dating DeNiro-& heard there were pictures of us dating-it crushed & broke Michael’s heart. I told her, ‘No, I never took pictures with DeNiro!’ I just lost it. She also told me that he left Jehovah’s Witnesses just before he met me, & loved that I said-& still do say ‘God bless you.’ While the movie was about to began thinking of all she just told me, I cried during entire film. I was truly hurt to hear about DeNiro when nothing ever really happened with me & him. I just couldn’t wait to get out of there. I was literally sick for the next couple of days & had to leave work. She told me, ‘I can tell you that whenever he sang Liberian Girl he thought of you.’ I couldn’t tell how much pain I could endure. Fans had pointed out to me about the Glenda Tapes. Glenda was a good friend of Michael’s, & taped loads of conversations between them. Michael was unaware of this. One tape was heard of him saying, ‘Sam says Frank [Dileo] is trying to get Tati[Tatiana] in trouble…’ It was so clear to me now that Frank truly was trying to get between Michael & me. Hearing those words were reliving that nightmare. Throughout the years I heard lots of people saying Michael was depressed after I was “let go” from the tour. Ingrid Goodsend was one of those. Even Firpo Carr told me recently he heard the same thing.
[Page 220] Around August 2010 a certain Cindy J. who also worked with Michael said when she would bring up my name, there was regret in his voice. None of this helped me. I received unanticipated comfort when Majestik & I were together just shortly after the funeral. Stevie Wonder called Majestik; when Stevie heard I was with Majestik, he asked to speak to me. It was very consoling; he offered some kind words of encouragement.
[EXPAND Tatiana and Frank Dileo had breakfast together a few months after Michael’s passing where he talked about why she was fired, Excerpt from Tatiana’s book “King of My Heart”
[Page 211-213] A Frank Encounter: It was a weird coincidence that I ran into Frank Dileo in L.A. about a month or 2 after Michael’s passing. I never understood how I was “fired” from the tour, I thought this was a good chance to find out how this happened. I wanted some clarification, closure on how everything ended. We arranged to have breakfast together and just ask: I heard Karen Faye put out a rumor that I was “fired” from the tour. Why was I “fired”?
Frank Dileo: “You were never “fired”? You were never fired. We were negotiating. You wanted $5,000 a show, and Michael wasn’t going to pay that. Michael was cheap.”
TY: “What! Are you kidding me! I wasn’t asking $5,000 a show. I was happy with the $1,000; happy to be part of the show. I knew nothing about the negations. That was my agent.”
FD: “Well, Michael was cheap, and he wasn’t going to pay that.”
TY: “Why would Karen Faye say such a thing? What was wrong with her? What’s her problem? Why is she attacking me?”
FD: “Ah, she’s crazy. She thought she was married to Michael. She’s getting ready to write a book.”
So, that was it. I got some of my answers. I still don’t hold any hatred towards Julie my former agent, Frank, Karen Faye or anyone who played a part in separating Michael and me.
A Final Thought: ‘With Michael my love it was ever so nice; now begins a new chapter in life.’
The Complete End.