Erika Jayne Reveals Her Most Intimate Self Yet

Erika Jayne Reveals Her Most Intimate Self Yet

The chart-topping performer, fashion aficionado, and Real Housewife can now add bestselling author to her repertoire.

The chart-topping performer, fashion aficionado, and Real Housewife can now add bestselling author to her repertoire.

Photography: Robin Harper

Styling: Rima Vaidila

Text: Danielle Combs

Uninhibited, fearless, and always glamorous, Erika Girardi, better known by her stage name Erika Jayne, is poised to make an impact on multiple stages. Since joining Bravo’s reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in 2015, Giradi has made a splash on the scene with her daring fashion choices and fiery display of on-screen honesty.

Beyond her role on Housewives, Girardi, who performs as Jayne, is becoming known for her sultry yet bombastic sound, high-octane fashion sense, and entrancing music videos. Life as her larger-than-life persona has proven to be fruitful for the bonafide hitmaker and fashion aficionado, who now has a spot on The New York Times bestsellers list for her deeply personal memoir Pretty Mess, and a flashy new track, Cars," released today. In an exclusive interview with V, Erika Girardi reveals details about her humble upbringing in Atlanta, the making of her first memoir, and her definitive take on style.

Where did you grow up and did you find that your upbringing influenced you in any way to pursue a career in music and entertainment?

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and I honestly started performing for my family when I was around three. I would jump up on the coffee table and I would get in the closet and ask that they introduce me to come out, and from that point on, my mother stuck me in dance class and children’s theater. I went to a performing arts high school, and I just really never stopped. I’ve always loved performing.

At what point was your Erika Jayne persona created and how did that all come together?

I started the Erika Jayne project when I was 35 years old, so 10 years now. Erika Jayne was kind of born out of rebellion, and I’ve always enjoyed over-the-top glamour. It’s who I am at my core. So, I really try to bring that on stage and continue to build.

What do you enjoy most about being Erika Girardi and what do you enjoy most about being Erika Jayne?

Well, I think I have a great lifestyle either way. I have a great family, and I have a great home, husband, and son. So I think that’s probably all anyone ever needs anyway. Everything else is the icing on top of the cake to be quite honest.

Your music is undeniably infectious, and I love the fact that you never hold back. What is your message behind some of your tracks like “How Many Fucks?”?

Well, “How Many Fucks?” was really about embracing your individuality and rejecting what others think of you and them trying to label you. It’s kind of like, 'I am who I am, and I’m proud of what I’ve done.' I really reject everyone else’s judgment. That’s really what it’s about.

Going into your process with Mikey, what is it like collaborating with him whether it’s a new track, music video, or selecting the right look?

Well, the great part about Mikey and my working relationship is that we’re also very close on the personal side. He completely understands Erika Jayne and what the project is all about and the messages we’re getting across, so there is no conflict there. It’s two brains working with the same vision and the same goal.

I definitely admire your deep affinity for all things fashion. How would you describe your style and what are some designers you find yourself wearing time and time again?

I like to describe my style as chic with a little hoodrat. I’ve collected designer clothes for almost 20 years now, so I have anybody you can come up with in this closet, and then other closets that haven’t been touched in years or things that I’ve sold, things I’ve given away, stuff like that. A lot of Gucci.

Anything from Gianni Versace during his time?

Yeah, I do. I actually have an incredible gown, never been seen. I don’t think I’ve ever even worn it. It hangs in my closet. I’ve got a lot of stuff from Versace, some really pretty stuff. I’ve given away some incredible pieces as well.

Going into the current season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, how did it feel coming back to join the rest of the cast?

I think that I’ve enjoyed my time on Real Housewives. It’s been a great opportunity, and I’ve had a lot of fun and have been able to see a lot of great things and meet some really cool people. I enjoy the people I work with for the most part, and it’s a great show.

Your book Pretty Mess is out now, what inspired you to launch your first-ever memoir?

I believe in saying yes to everything, so when the offer came through I couldn’t say no. I'm at a moment in my life where I feel very comfortable in my skin and I can share some funny stories, sad stories, and everything in between.

The book charts your steady rise to fame and takes an intimate look at your life. What was the process like compiling your book? And how did it feel to be so open about various aspects of your life?

Fortunately for me, I had a great co-author, Brian Moylan. He and I spent six months shaping this memoir. I shared with him more memories and stories than I have with anyone else besides my closest family members, and together we came up with the final product.

Was there anything you learned about yourself while working on this project? Or anything you felt particularly strong about that you wanted to share?

The most surprising thing I discovered was how rich of a life I’ve led. It’s easy to forget all the things we experience throughout our human journey.

What do you hope fans will take away when they read your book?

It is my hope that the reader enjoys my story and if I made one person smile, my job is complete.

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