19 September 2008

Rally of the Dolls


Nicole Scherzinger steers the Pussycat Dolls to total gaydom domination

By Brandon Voss

Don’t cha wish your fag hag was hot like Nicole Scherzinger? Careful what you wish for, ’cause you just might get it! As Pussycat Dolls prepare to release Doll Domination, their long-awaited follow-up to 2005’s PCD, the 30-year-old lead vocalist loosened up her buttons to discuss her longtime gay bestie, plus fond Pier Dance memories and the real truth about her delayed solo release.

HX: There’s a lyric missing from the Dolls’ latest hit, “When I Grow Up.” When you grew up, didn’t you also want to be a gay icon?
Nicole Scherzinger:
I wanted to be whatever icon to anybody. Whoever I could inspire, I wanted to inspire them. But I grew up in the performing arts, so most of my best friends were gay.

But you grew up Catholic in Kentucky of all places…
My family’s extremely loving. The religion I grew up with is love.

What are Kentucky gay guys like?
They’re extremely talented and gorgeous, and they make me sick! I wished all the Kentucky gay guys were straight. All the good ones were gay.

Who’s your best gay friend?
The same one I’ve always had since I was young. He lives here in New York, but we grew up together and went to performing arts high school together. He’s like my brother. My mother took him in as her son. He’s the most talented, beautiful person I know. I’m so proud of him.

Are gay men responsible for your look?
Oh, yeah. All my stylists and everything. Without a doubt. I trust them way more than me.

How do you explain the connection that the Dolls have always had with gay men?
Gay guys can relate to us because they love the glitz, glamour and beauty of what we do, because they are beautiful as well. They love their divas, and we’re all little divas and fashionistas in our own right. It’s also about our music; when I wrote “I Don’t Need a Man,” I definitely wrote it for the gay boys as well, keeping them in mind. And it’s about our messages of empowerment and loving yourself for who you are.

In 2005, you performed at the Pier Dance during New York’s Gay Pride. What do you recall about that experience?
Oh, that was amazing. I feel like you’ve truly made it as a diva if the boys want you to perform. It’s an honor. They love J.Lo, Cher—all the women that I grew up wanting to be like—so it was so amazing to think that they’d want us to perform there. It was huge, and it was so much fun. I totally remember it like it was yesterday.

On the cover of the new album, you’re all pictured sitting on motorcycles. Can you really ride?
I’ve never ridden a motorcycle, but if I really wanted to, I could probably hold it down like the best of ‘em. I’m a pretty tough chick.

Tell me about the new Dolls single, “Whatcha Think About That.”
It was produced by our good friend, Polow Da Don, who did “Buttons.” I love the song. It’s kind of about switching roles with your partner for a day to say, like, “If you’re going to treat me like that, you’ll see what it’s like to get a taste of your own medicine.” It’s a great hooky pop song, easy to sing along with, but it’s got a lot of soul. It definitely comes from a strong, sassy point of view with a lot of attitude and confidence.

What does guest Missy Elliott bring to the track?
She brings so much fire to it. She takes the Pussycat Dolls to a whole new level just being on the album. She’s the ultimate Pussycat Doll.

I was looking forward to playing with your Hasbro Pussycat Dolls dolls. Is it unfair that they were scrapped due to pressure from parents’ groups?
Well, it’s understandable, but it’s crazy, because look at all these other dolls—like the Brats and stuff. Those dolls are crazier than our dolls! But it’s about timing, and when the time’s right, we’ll get it right and our dolls will come out.

Do the Dolls have any rivalry with Danity Kane?
I don’t really think so, because we’re two completely different groups. It’s about the love, keeping it positive, and there’s room for everybody. I don’t really look at any other group as competition.

But could y’all kick their asses?
Probably, because we work out a lot and lift a lot of weights. And, as you can see, we ride motorcycles on our album cover.

The release of your solo album, Her Name Is Nicole, has been getting pushed back since 2007. What’s the deal?
Despite what other people might write, it was my decision, ultimately. I actually put some of my solo songs on this Pussycat Dolls album. Everything is all about timing. I believe it will come out next year, and it will be able to coexist wonderfully with the Dolls album. It’s completely separate from what you’ve heard with “Baby Love” and “Whatever U Like,” and I’m still working on it—that’s what happens when you’re a perfectionist. But I’m excited because you do only get one chance to put out your first solo album, and it will only come out when I feel like it’s ready.

Speaking of solos, I loved your remake of Duran Duran’s “Rio” for that Caress commercial. Did you get a lifetime supply of body wash?
[Laughs] You know, you would think I did, but I didn’t. But it’s really great body wash, so I’m going to ask for some more.

Have you ever met a drag queen version of yourself?
No, but I saw one on YouTube and he was genius! I fell in love with him. I was like, You’re better than I am!

What advice would you give an aspiring drag queen who wanted to do you?
Just work it out. Just live! And I’d tell him, “Don’t forget those high notes, honey!” But I’d probably be getting advice from him.

Doll Domination (A&M) is out Sep. 23.

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