A new bad girl is rightfully asserting herself in the entertainment world, and trust me, you’re going to want to pay her attention. Mila J has been working hard in the studio and is even now extending to the acting world. One of her most noticeable characteristics is her care-free attitude and overall confidence. She’s been releasing hits such as, “No Fux” and recently released her newest EP, Dopamine. And trust me, you’ll feel like you’re able to take on anyone when you listen to it. When I asked her about her confident attitude, she said, “My dad just never cared so I don’t know if I can take credit or if it’s just in my DNA. I’ve been in the industry for a minute so I have definitely had a lot of ups and downs. I went through the training of just being a kid dancer in videos and going to different auditions. I think I was lucky being a kid in the industry because I learned at a young age. You’re a kid getting rejected.”
Not only is she a total baddie, she’s a role model for young women. It can be a tough industry for a woman. When asked about asserting herself in a sometimes sexist world, she replied with, “I don’t let it tear me down knowing it is a male-dominated industry. You kind of think about it, but if you know you have what it takes, regardless of your sex, you have that confidence that no one can take from you. As a woman, you know that you aren’t just in there because you’re beautiful or whatever they put on you. You’re here because you’re equally as good as them. When you know that and it comes across, people know not to mess with you. It is readable.” Her feminine confidence can be clearly seen in her recent shoot and interview with PLAYBOY. Outlets such as PLAYBOY tend to be controversial. Many women have claimed it resorts women to pieces of meat, but many other women have claimed tapping into a more sensual side can be quite liberating. I was curious as to what Mila had to say about it, and I couldn’t agree more with her answer. She said, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with expressing your sexuality. It’s this taboo even though we are supposed to be a free country. Everyone is trying to say what you should or shouldn’t show. I’ve always been free in that aspect. Just like you show your spiritual side or your intellectual side or your physicality’s, your sexual side is in there too. It’s not the most important, but it is an aspect of you. Why not show it when you’re going to show everything else? As long as you’re comfortable, I think it’s liberating.”
Focusing back in on her music, she’s serving fresh R&B intertwined with a 90s hip-hop feel. In the mix of featured artists she’s worked with, we have Ty Dolla $ign, Kirko Bangz, and Problem. Her silky vocals and midtempo beats will put you at ease, and her raw honesty will have you nodding in agreeance. In her big single, “Smoke, Drink, Break-Up,” she opened up about her addiction to a hurtful relationship. I, for one, can completely understand the lure of toxic relationships. I asked her about the relationship she wrote about. She did open up and admit, “[For that relationship], I started recognizing I was doing things that were out of character for me. I was seeing I was doing things I said I would never do, and for me, that was my ‘a-ha’ moment. If I am doing things out of character, it’s wrong. They shouldn’t have been pulling these types of characteristics out of me so it was a red-flag. For me, it was a good warning. I had to pull back because I found myself becoming someone I wasn’t. I think you just should know yourself. We are going to make errors and go through them but we learn from them.”
Truth be told, Mila J’s music isn’t normally what I would choose to listen to, but after speaking to her and giving her singles a try, I find myself coming back again and again. She’s a force not to be reckoned with, and I commend her vulnerability and positive spirit. In the near future, you can be expecting a full album, a tour, and a movie. A release date isn’t set for the movie but be expecting other familiar faces such as T.I. on the screen.
Some people stay early or late, but if you stay you, your season will eventually come.
Mila J has proven herself apart from the others but to give her a chance on her own distinction, I asked her how she thinks she sets herself apart. She confidently replied with, “For me, I always try to remain me no matter what changes are going on in the industry. Even when it comes to my sound, I try not to be in the trendiness. Some people stay early or late, but if you stay you, your season will eventually come. You’ll go to a label and they will look at what’s hot and want to do that, but you think, ‘That’s not me.’ Whoever attaches to it is who listens.”
Q&A with Mila J
Obviously in any sort of entertainment industry, it’s important to feel confident. When do you feel the most confident?
I think we all have our days, but I think for me, it’s my foundation. I have friends and family, and for this industry, it’s super important who is around you. There’s days where you don’t feel up to par, and you just have to pray a lot. I also feel confident when I am working out. It puts me in a better mental place. But really it is who you have around you and who is giving you that energy. For me, I am such a feeling person so I can feel your energy.
How has your past dysfunctional relationships helped grow you as a woman?
In each relationship, you learn what you want and don’t want. You don’t really know what you want, but it taught me to listen to my intuition and trust myself. People tell you something may sound good but you find it’s different once you do it. I found once I started trusting myself, it was right. So, I guess I learned to trust myself before anyone else.
With all your amazing projects, how do you keep yourself balanced and energized?
Like I mentioned before, working out really helps me. I’m not going to lie. Sometimes the hardest part is getting up to go work out. Once I am there, I feel so good. For me, I surround myself with family and friends when I need to recharge. You remember who you are and where you’re from. You have your career, but it’s not who you are. I keep things separate, and I think that’s why I have clarity. Being from LA, it is very easy for people to get caught up in the lifestyle.
What do you find yourself doing when you need to detach a bit from work? Any hobbies?
I’m a secret photographer. I love taking pictures. People hate going anywhere with me, but I’ve been like that since I was a kid. I got a camera for Christmas and I was “that kid”. I love to take pictures. And shop.
What artists have you been listening to recently?
I actually just came across Daniel Caesar. He’s really good. Lately I have been wanting to hear music I am not familiar with, ya know? I listen to a lot of country actually. I put on a station out here called 105.1. I don’t know the songs, but I like it. Kendrick’s album too. A lot of 90s playlist, and I love turn-up stuff too.
How do you describe your fashion style?
I have to be comfortable, first and foremost. I am a tomboy at heart. Overall, I am sporty but sexy. I will show a lot of leg or a lot of cleavage. Just comfortable and sporty and sexy. I love vintage and finding things that nobody else has.
Were there ever times you weren’t comfortable in your own skin? How did you work through those times?
It was more so when I was a teenager which is when I think it was for most people. I started developing, and I was a later bloomer. Once I did, my sister and I had my mom tape us flat. At the time, we were dancing for a tour behind a group and the outfit was a bodysuit with baggy jeans. We didn’t want to poke through the bodysuit. I was such a tomboy too and used to get sent home from school because my clothes were too baggy. I like big clothes. So, yeah, we would literally have my mom tape us flat. You go from having nothing to something being there. Eventually, I got over it. I don’t know what happened.
What was your favorite single off Dopamine to work on and why?
For me, it might have to be “No Fux”. It kinda has a country-er feel. Most of my songs are midtempo so it’s fun to have a different feel. And “Transform U” only because everything had to be turned in, but I literally recorded it in 20 minutes. I had a flight, but I had to record this song. It was a race against the clock. It ended up being everyone’s favorite. It’s interesting because I think, “If only you all knew.” I literally had a timer set on my phone so I just think it’s a cool story.
If there is anything you could go back and say to yourself 10 years ago, what would it be?
I would have told myself to trust myself earlier. But everything happens for a reason.
You get to choose one word to say to our readers. What word do you choose?
PHOTOS ELeVeN Studios
WORDS ELIZABETH STAFFORD