Everywhere that Rob Dyrdek goes everyone seems to be watching. With the success of his hit show “Rob & Big” on MTV, it was no surprise when his new show “Fantasy Factory” became an instant hit. One of the first things that fans noticed about the show was the small blonde girl with a huge personality that was always rapping to celebrities that would walk through the factory doors. Throughout the first season and onto the second fans became familiar with Chanel and now she is one of the stars of the show.
I talked to Chanel this week about a tragedy that was a wake up call in her life, her upcoming mixtape, and even her wanting to be a UFC Octagon Girl. Upon reading this interview prepare to come to the conclusion that this rapping receptionist is more than just a cute face.
KALIN: I'm here right now with the one and only rapping receptionist from MTV's Rob Drydek's Fantasy Factory. It's the girl that you all know and love, I'm talking about Chanel a.k.a. C.C. How are you Chanel?CHANEL: I'm doing great, how are you?
KALIN: I'm fantastic. Now I have to say, I'm very picky with my music, and for the longest time I had never really tried listening to anything you put out. One day I was downloading some music and came across your remix of Ice Cream Paint Job and was like “Wow, this girl actually has some flow.” Then I went and listened to your remix of I Made It and I'm thinking “She can sing too? Are you kidding me?” How did you get started in music?CHANEL: I've been doing music my whole life. Growing up my mom put me in dance classes and singing lessons. In school I was always in orchestra, choir, dance, and cheer leading. I've always been into performing arts. As far as rapping coming along, I had always loved to write poetry. I don't really know how it happened, but I turned a poem into a rap and put it with a beat. I rapped for a friend one time and he was like blown away. I thought he was joking, but he told me to stick with it. I started rapping for more and more people and a lot of them were telling me that I was really good. I've been doing it ever since I started.
KALIN: With you starting out rapping back in the day then you were rapping during the golden days of rap. Who were your influences back then?CHANEL: My biggest influence is TuPac. I started listening to rap when I was in middle school. I grew up listening to all rock music because my mom is like a hardcore heavy metal chick. My dad was a DJ on the other hand so every time I went to live with him I would get a little more into hip hop. In middle school is when all of my friends got into it and I was around it a lot more. I started listening to TuPac and really he is what inspired me. I feel like his type of rapping is real poetry. It's not a rap song, it's a poem, you know what I mean? I'm really into the poetical aspect and putting together a story instead of just using a million metaphors that don't make sense. I really liked how TuPac told stories in rap and I want to start doing the same thing by telling my stories through my raps. I want people to feel like they know me when they listen to my music.
KALIN: I have to ask...TuPac...alive or dead?
CHANEL: (laughs) It's funny you say that because my friends are always like “Man he's still alive, he's still alive!” I'm like “No, he's not alive, you're trippin.” I mean I just don't think it's possible for someone like TuPac to still be alive to this day and nobody see him. There has been so many people taking pictures of people that look exactly like him, but that's all it is, someone that looks exactly like him. I truly believe that he died that night. As much as I joke around and want to believe that he is alive somewhere and will come back to make another album, I have to face reality, I think he really did die that night.
KALIN: Back in 2007 there was a tragedy involving your two best friends who you made music with and started in all this with. If you don't mind talking about it, what happened in that situation?
CHANEL: I don't mind talking about it because actually it was a really good part of my life and it's why I am what I am today. Basically they were my two best friends and one of them was my ex-boyfriend. He was the very first producer that I ever worked with. When I met him is when I really started pursuing my music because before him I didn't really know where to start. When I met him he told me he makes beats so I told him I rap and we started making music together. We became great friends and went on to be in a relationship. He was really young and was not faithful so I broke up with him and I got with a new boyfriend who was a complete psycho, completely crazy, and controlled my life. He tried to stop me from doing music, stopped me from hanging out with a lot of my friends, and basically I was trapped in a prison of a relationship.
I didn't realize it until my ex-boyfriend and his best friend were fatally shot and killed. When that happened it was kind of like my wake up call. I realized how much I loved my ex-boyfriend and I lost so much time being able to be his friend and hang out with him because I was with some psycho that was controlling me. Most importantly I knew that both of them had spend every day of their lives up until they were killed making music and I was in a relationship with someone who wouldn't let me do it. To know that my friends lost their chance at making music really woke me up and made me realize that I needed to get my music out there and not only make it for myself, but for my friends that don't have that chance anymore. Literally within a couple of weeks after they passed away and I went to the funeral, which was one of the hardest things of my life, I took all of my songs that I had recorded up until then and I put them on my Myspace. I uploaded a bunch of cute pictures of myself and I just sat on Myspace for hours a day adding people. That is what led me to meeting Rob Dyrdek and Drama.KALIN: Do we have a date yet on when your mixtape will be dropping?
CHANEL: No, I wish I knew, but it's been so crazy because I'm also pursuing acting and modeling. I have all kinds of other stuff going on so I have been really, really busy. Honestly I don't have a record deal yet, so music is not what pays my bills at the moment. I have to stick to my work and what does pay me because I'm not rich. I don't come from money. I'm working on it in every bit of spare time that I have. Tonight I'm going to be in the studio. Pretty much every other day and every chance that I get I'm in the studio working on it. It should be done by the end of this month actually.KALIN: You spoke on yourself pursuing modeling and you were actually just in Maxim Magazine, which is a magazine that some models work for years trying to get into. What did that opportunity mean to you?
CHANEL: Oh my gosh it meant a lot to me. That was probably the coolest photo shoot I've ever done in my life and the most significant. It was really cool because there has been a lot of girl on Maxim Magazine that I look up to. I feel like it's really cool. It was a great opportunity and I'm very, very happy about it. I can't really describe how cool it was, but it was probably one of the coolest moments of my life so far (laughs).KALIN: You mentioned earlier that you met Rob and Drama through Myspace. What actually happen to lead to you hooking up with them?
CHANEL: Basically I had just been adding people non-stop and I eventually met Big Cat which is Drama's brother. He introduced me to Drama and I became friends with them and we all started hanging out a lot. Especially because they're from Ohio and my whole family is from Ohio. It kind of felt like I was hanging out with family because in LA you don't find a lot of cool, down to earth guys like them. Eventually Drama mentioned me to Rob. When I met Rob he told me that he really liked my music and thinks it's cool that I'm a little white girl that raps. I became friends with him and one day he asked me if I wanted to be on an episode of his show. He said he didn't have a receptionist at the factory and needed one for the show and that he wanted me to do little raps for a viral video. Since he really did need a receptionist at the factory to greet people he asked me to come back and be there permanently.KALIN: Are you his receptionist as a job or is it only on camera?
CHANEL: It's more of an on camera thing I guess you could say. Not that many people come in and out of the factory on a daily basis except for when we're filming. When we're filming we always have these celebrities and famous athletes coming in and Rob wants me to be there to greet them with a rap. I'm part of the family now so I'm able to do a lot more than just sit at the desk. I get to hang out with them and they're my friends.KALIN: Have you ever had a celebrity come in and when you seen them you froze up and couldn't get out a freestyle?
CHANEL: I think I probably do that the most with Ludacris. They gave me a little bit of a warning...well not really, they told me 10 minutes before that he would be coming. I was so nervous because Ludacris is a huge rapper and one of the rappers I look up to. I thought maybe I should write something extra good for him. I wrote up a dope 16 bars real quick and tried to memorize it. I literally had 10 minutes to do this (laughs). That was the most nerve racking greeting that I've had to do.KALIN: What did he think about it? Was he pretty impressed?
CHANEL: He seemed like he was. At first a lot of people don't really get and understand that I'm a real rapper. They think that I'm just a receptionist and that Rob asks me to rap as a joke. I think he thought I was good though. He was like “You really rap?” I was like “Yeah I really rap!” He seemed really impressed. He started asking me about my music career and when I started rapping. He seemed like he thought I was really cool, but he didn't offer me a record deal (laughs).KALIN: Big Black has told me before that his reality show didn't make him a whole lot of money, but that it gave him the exposure needed to go out there and make money off of his name. How are you doing this yourself?
CHANEL: I plan on using it to get my music career going. Being on the show has been great in helping me network with people from the music industry. I think in the long run I'm going to end up having a real music career and maybe get my own spin-off show in the future which is another thing that I would like to do. Being on this show, building a fan base, and getting my face out there is really helping me to be able to launch other things in the future. I also want to start a clothing line. I know that being on Fantasy Factory is going to lead to a lot of money, but I have to work hard and it's going to take time.KALIN: You mentioned before this interview that you are interested in being a guest UFC Octagon Girl. I know that Rob and Dana are boys so I say you talk to Dana and make this happen.
CHANEL: I know! I told them that already. Actually when Dana was at the factory one day I saw on Twitter that he was there. I text Rob and was like “Hey! Tell him I want to be a guest Octagon Girl!” Rob said that it was actually a really good idea. I'm sure they've mentioned it to Dana, and who knows, maybe I'll be able to do it in the near future.KALIN: It's been great talking to you Chanel. Go ahead and talk to your fans before I let you go.
CHANEL: I definitely want to tell me fans to make sure they watch Fantasy Factory on Mondays. Make sure you guys check out my new website which is ChanelWestCoast.com. It just got up so it's not done yet, but it looks pretty good so far. Obviously follow me on Twitter. Twitter.com/ChanelWestCoast. Look forward to my Maxim issue which is coming out in October. Also be looking for my mixtape realese which should be towards the end of September.