Love hurts, and no one is feeling its bitter sting these days more than Daisy De La Hoya. After weeks of sex, tears, and cat-fighting on VH1’s hit show, Rock of Love 2 (think Flavor of Love gone from hip-hop to hair metal), the rocker chick-turned-stripper-turned-reality-TV-star (who’s real name is Vanessa) didn’t get to ride into the sunset with Poison rocker Bret Michaels, even though it seemed that he’d gone ga-ga for her from the very beginning. Instead, the final VIP pass went to 37-year old Ambre Lake, a TV reporter and B-movie actress from Chicago who Michaels recently admitted he’s not in love with after all: “I found someone who is really nice and cool and gets rock 'n' roll,” he told the Associated Press after the season finale aired. “We can see where it goes from here.”
Through all the forced drama, we couldn’t take our eyes off of De La Hoya, who, in a sea of wannabe groupies and ex-Playboy models, stood out as someone who could genuinely love Michaels. Yes, she still lived with her ex-boyfriend. Yes, she’s clearly spent some time under the knife. And yes, she’s got a freakin’ attic full of skeletons. But damaged or not, De La Hoya actually came off as sincere in her intentions, and in the current reality TV landscape, that’s an all too rare phenomenon.
Since her time on the show, Oscar De La Hoya’s niece—yes, you read that right—has kept herself busy making club appearances and writing songs like “Pretty Messed Up” based on her experience on the show (visit her MySpace page to check them out). Latina.com talked to De La Hoya about reconnecting with her family, how she’s parlaying her TV stint into a new career and what it’s like to get brutally rejected for the enjoyment of millions. We feel her pain.
What kind of feedback have you been getting since Rock of Love 2 wrapped?
It’s been crazy. When I make my club appearances there are tons of people there, and it’s like, picture-picture-picture-picture-picture! You know, they all love me, they're all upset that I didn’t win and they're supportive. I’m very grateful for it.
What about when you’re not making club appearances—do people recognize you on the street?
They do, and it’s so funny because I really try to play it low key when I’m not working to support the show. I’m usually in sweats and a baseball cap. I was just at the airport in Baltimore and people noticed me. I was like, “Hi!” but in my head I’m like, “Oh my God, I look like crap right now!”
Right after the final elimination, you said that if you’d known how hard it would be, you never would have participated in the show. Do you still feel that way?
At the time, I totally felt that way because I’d gone through so much on the show. I felt more like I was running for President than trying to date someone! But now I feel that I would much rather have done it than never have done it. I didn’t win Bret Michaels’ heart, but I won a lot of fans and that means something.
What was going through your mind when Bret called your name first?
I already knew that I wasn’t gonna be the girl. I wanted to believe that I was wrong, but I knew deep down inside that he wasn’t going to pick me. So, I was very upset the whole day…I drank half a bottle of Grey Goose by myself [laughs]. When he finally called my name, it was sort of shocking because he started out by saying all these really awesome things: That he loved me, that he cared about me, and that he wanted to be around me. When he eliminated me after saying all that, I was just heartbroken.
Since picking Ambre over you, Brett’s implied in interviews that he’s not in love with the person he chose...
I keep hearing that a lot, and it sort of makes me upset! I guess he figured that if he chose me, he’d be picking someone who expressed interest in a real relationship, and if he chose Ambre, then she’d be a lot easier to not have a relationship with. That just makes me sad, but at the same time, Bret and I have an awesome friendship now.
So you’re saying that maybe it was all planned?
Yeah, I feel like maybe everyone else knew it was a game, so they sort of played it and I didn’t know that. I was like, ‘Damn, was I missing something? I thought I was on this show to really try to be in a relationship. Woops, didn’t get the memo!’
In an interview with VH1, you sort of implied that Bret may have tried to hook up with you after the show. Is that true?
[Sighs]…I can’t really get into that. I’m gonna say no comment, just because I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus. But he’s a guy, and at the end of the day, he’s a rock star. We all know how rock stars are. [laughs]
Fair enough. Are you dating anyone now?
No, I’m currently single, and enjoying the fact that I don’t have to worry about all the junk that comes with a relationship. I’m more focused on myself. Honestly, with the way things are going right now, I don’t have time to do anything except be on an airplane. Brad Pitt could probably hit on me at this point and I’d be like, ‘Wait, what? Did Brad Pitt just hit on me?’
You revealed so much of your family and relationship history on camera. In retrospect, do you feel like you were too honest?
Probably, but I felt like I was getting sucked into opening up. Because they were like, ‘Damn this girl is a goldmine…jackpot ratings!’ But now I’m hearing from people who watched the show and say, ‘You inspire me, you’re so awesome, I went through this too.’ The fact that I’ve made a connection with people and given them strength is cool.
The reunion episode just aired, and of course it brought more drama for you. You and Heather [the 2nd runner up from Rock of Love 1] got into a huge physical fight and were escorted offstage by security. [Click here to watch the altercation.] What happened?
I felt like that was planned too, and I felt a tiny bit betrayed by Bret because of it. Heather just kept running her mouth, and I couldn’t even get a word in about what I thought I was entitled to share. Right after the fight, I just fixed my hair, pulled my skirt back in order and walked off the stage. I was really mad and hurt by the fact that they’d allowed that to happen. I didn’t press charges against Heather, but I very well could have, and should have! But that’s the type of person I am—I’m so nice.
Were you able to get closure with some of the other women at the reunion?
Well because of the fight, I missed the reunion between Bret and Ambre. That really pissed me off because I wanted to clear everything up, and I didn’t get to do that. Destiney and I did make amends, which is cool because I really did like her the best. We’re both crazy, wild, rock and roll party girls, and the drama that happened between us on the show just sucked.
I’m still tight with Jessica and Megan, I talk to Peyton and Catherine, and even Christy Jo’s texted me a couple times. I think she identified with some of the stuff I went through. All of us will always have a bond from the show, because it wasn’t just a big party—we all threw some serious emotions out there for the world to see.
Are you still working on your music?
Yeah, especially with all the traveling I’m doing—it’s inspiring me to write new material. I wrote two songs, “Pretty Messed Up” and “Save Me,” right after the show, and they’re based on what I went through in the house with Bret. I’m coming out with a three-song EP, and I’ve got a digital distribution deal in the works.
Plus, I have another TV project in the works…I can’t discuss that yet, but it’s gonna be really cool.
How long have you been singing and playing guitar?
I’ve always loved music since my early years—everything from Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses and, ironically enough, Poison, to Madonna and Pat Benatar. And I don’t know why, but I really do like Britney Spears—she makes me feel sexy!
But I had a crazy childhood, so didn’t really get serious about being a musician until I was 18. I was in a gothic industrial band called Seraphim Shock for three years, and I toured with them all over the country. I brought a whole new sound and element to them because I was the only girl in a really tough, freaky boy band, and people really dug that. Eventually, I decided to part ways with them and focus on my own identity.
Charles, your ex-boyfriend who shows up on Rock of Love 2, was also in that band, right?
Yeah he was the lead singer, and he was also my boyfriend when I was in the band. It was really difficult to have a relationship with someone while doing business together. We both have strong personalities and were getting a lot of attention, so it just didn’t work. But now we’re absolutely the greatest, bestest of friends ever.
While we’re setting the record straight, let’s talk about your family. Is Oscar De La Hoya really your uncle?
Yes, he’s my father’s brother. A lot of people didn’t believe me at first, but if I was going to say I was related to someone, why would I say Oscar De La Hoya, of all people? I didn’t know my father until I was 12, so I didn’t even know I was related to him until then. Because of the show, Oscar’s sister Cecilia—she’s my age, 26—contacted me through MySpace. So we’ve started talking, and I’m sort of talking to my father now too, which is a little awkward and weird, but I still do want to have that relationship.
I’ll be attending Oscar’s fight on May 3, and I’m really excited to get reacquainted with my family and be like, ‘Hey, look at me—I was on TV!’
What’s the most important thing you want people to know about you?
Since the show, a lot of people have said that I was just looking for a way out of being a dancer. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Would I really put myself through all this just for a way out? I don’t think so. I was looking truly to make a connection with Bret, and I don’t need a way out of anything—my life’s crazy because I’m crazy, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like my life.
It’s not like I could have planned all this and said, “Oh, I’m gonna be on this show—I better make sure I have a perfect life.’ I’m a real person with real issues, and that’s never going to change.