Eve / Barbershop 2 Interview by Paul Fischer in Los Angeles.
Eve, one of rap music's beautiful discoveries of recent years, laughs when asked about how she is able to maintain a semblance of normality with her current boyfriend. "Honestly it's all good scheduling and thankfully I do have - especially with my TV show - hiatus weeks, but in those weeks or on some weekends, I'm able to go away or hook up." Yes, Eve, at 24, raps and records, stars in a new TV show, All About Eve, has time for a movie career, has started a fashion label and yes, even finds time to spend with a new boyfriend, literally scheduling a private life. "We do actually live like that, unfortunately, because he has his own thing going on, with his own businesses, so we kinda look at the calendar and figure out which week is good. But it works for us." Clearly, scheduling is Eve's bitter enemy. Even for this round of interviews promoting her sequel to the box office hit Barbershop, Back in Business, Eve was almost an hour late, unapologetic perhaps, but willing to give a little of her time. While she was more gregarious the first time on the movie PR trail, this time around, the Eve this time around is more introspective, unwilling to give too much away.
Barbershop 2: Back in Action, reunites the entire gang from the first film, this time focusing on urban redevelopment, as Calvin's Barbershop is under threat from a local chain of bland, glossy hair salons. Eve's feisty Terri manages to find love time around, and says she has no problem being the only girl in this company of guys. "I'm fine being around a bunch of guys," she says smilingly.
Raised by her mother and grandmother in Philadelphia, Eve [born Eve Jihan Jeffers] has always said that she was born with the gift to entertain. She was a member of rap group EDGP (pronounced Egypt) and was tagged the name "Gansta." After that Philadelphia-based group split, Eve began working on a solo career under the name "Eve of Destruction." She spent the better part of her days perfecting her craft, much to the detriment of her education. She stopped attending class and barely graduated high school. After her mother remarried, Eve felt the need to escape and began working as a stripper dancer in a New York strip club, a past she has had no problems ever discussing. "I stripped for like a month and a half, because it was rebellious for me to do it. I'm from the projects--that's where I was born. Then my mother got married when I was 14 years old, and we moved to a middle-class area. I started stripping when I was 17, as a way for me to find my independence, to make some quick money so that I could move out of my mother's house." It was as a stripper that Eve met, rapper Ma$e. Ma$e encouraged her stop disrobing and start rapping on a professional level.
Eve's big break came when she used her street smarts to trick producer Dr Dre into an audition. Dr Dre immediately liked what he heard and signed her to a one-year contract with Aftermath. Unfortunately, Eve's contract expired before she was able to release an album. She then returned back to Philadelphia and met artists from the Ruff Ryder label. After an impressive audition, Eve became the first female artist to sign with Ruff Ryder Records. In 1999, she released her first album "Eve: Ruff Ryders First Lady," which hit number one on Billboards Top 200 the moment it was released. Her second release, "Scorpion," provided the raw emotion that Eve experienced in her past and exactly one year later, she released her third album "Eve-olution," which was widely received as her best work to date.
After solidifying her place in the music circuit, Eve took her skills out of the studio and onto the big screen. In 2002 she made her feature debut in the action drama "xXx", before landing the role of Terri in the smash summer comedy "Barbershop".
With the sequel, following by a smaller dramatic part in the eerie Kevin Bacon drama The Woodsman, one would imagine that the singer/actress is ready to forsake music for on-screen Thespianism. "Music is still number one but I love acting, which is just different. I love them both, so not one is exceeding the other," she insists. And Eve proves that rappers can make good actors, maybe because they have that fire. "Do you know what? I think there are some people who do it because they can but they really want to do it and really love it, and I'm one of those people. I really love acting, because it's a different artistic outlet from my music. It's fun to be able to become someone else, really believe that I'm saying words that you normally wouldn't say, being in situations that you normally wouldn't be in as a person and just putting on a character."
These days, Eve also adds fashion guru to her list of accomplishments, having recently unveiled her Fetish By Eve fashion label, which she says is going really well. "It began about 2 or 3 years ago when I was approached by investors who thought I should have a clothing line, before I thought I should have a clothes line," Eve recalls. "I was like "Whoa" so we started talking about it and then it started becoming something like Everybody else has started, so why not have something with my name on it, or something with my input' and it took a long time to get here."
As for her acting, although she knows she has a long way to go as an actress, Eve has some good role models. "[Barbershop 2 co-stars] Queen Latifah and Ice Cube are definite inspirations for me,' says Eve. 'I've talked to Cube a couple of times, and he's actually told me some really good things about the business and just motivating things, and Latifah's the same way. She's very supportive and just a cool person, and whenever I have a question, she'll answer me, and if she has some advice, she definitely tells me. I take heed.' And that heed is paying off for the rapper/actress and former stripper.