Season 5 of Black Ink Crew Is right around the corner, so we had to catch up with our girl Dutchess about the show, her success and much more! The drama surrounding her very public relationship with Caesar has definitely had a negative effect on the star, however, through pain, often times passion and purpose are found. Dutchess has been keeping busy with giving back to the community through her ‘Latimore Foundation’ and gearing up for the release of her first Coffee Table Book, ‘Pretty In Ink!‘ Did we mention that she will be Rolling Out Magazine’s Red Carpet Correspondent for this year’s NAACP Awards?!
She held nothing back as we discussed managing her first Shop in another state and the difference between working in Charlotte and filming in New York!
” The biggest difference is, I had to take full control of my situation and ‘Pretty In Ink’. So that was all of my decisions. My mom is my shop manager, she runs the shop when I’m not there, she makes sure everything goes as planned when I’m not there, but as far as the decisions I make, it’s pretty much everything on my back. Being in a relationship with someone who owns a business, it was me being helpful to him, but not having to be responsible for it. It changes things when it’s yours. When you have to be accountable, you have to make sure those bills are paid, you have to make sure your employees want to come to work, its just a different experience to me because I was on the other side of it.”
Some may be surprised to find out that Dutchess has not only been focused on running her own Tattoo shop in Charlotte North Carolina and media ventures, but she has also been trying to accomplish life long goals, such as becoming a mortician!
“Yes! I start back school next week, I’m finishing up to get my degree in Mortuary Science. I have about two and a half semesters to go, I should be done by December. I actually close on my property for the Funeral Home here in Charlotte, hopefully within the next month or so that’s been a big part of what I’ve been trying to engulf myself in.”
Why this lane?
“When I graduated high school, that was my dream. I thought I was going to have a funeral home. So, that’s what I wanted to do but when I went to college, things just changed, everything changed. I graduated with a marketing degree, and getting into the business is what kept me away from the funeral service industry…..”
As all successful businesswomen know, the art of balancing is essential. It is also a skill that Dutchess learned how to master as more responsibilities called between her time in New York and Charlotte:
“Yea. Honestly for the first 8 months of my business, I hate to admit it, but I didn’t spend as much time in there as I would have liked to because of my demand, having to be in New York, trying to keep my relationship and still be apart of filming to a large capacity. So it just kept me away from the things that I needed to be responsible for at my shop. It was really hard, every 2 to 3 days I’m at the airport trying to get back and forth between Charlotte and New York. It was a lot, it wasn’t something that I expected, it wasn’t the initial plan. “
Giving a little insight into the upcoming season of VH1’s popular show, Dutchess says she is way past the drama:
“I’m a lot less reactionary this season, like, you don’t see a reaction every time somebody talks junk, every time somebody does something, I have so many other things going on in my life, that I just don’t have time to feed the negativity. Like, in previous seasons, yea, I would sit there and be emotionally attached to situations, emotionally driven. This season, you’ll see me a lot more focused, more detached, I feel like I’ve grown up a little bit, so I don’t see the purpose of that stuff anymore. Going back and forth with somebody is not going to be priority for me.”
As she reveals the real reason behind their painful split, the show might actually add more to their current relationship than what it really is. Meaning, there’s a good chance fans wont see much play out between the two:
“In my opinion, I would say no, me and Caes have barely spoken. since we broke up. I can count on my hand the amount of times we’ve communicated. Which is not a good thing, but it is what it is. On the show, I’m sure they’re going to try and drag it out to make it look like a million other things than what it really was, which has kind of been my hardship with having a public relationship. With Caes, I was very happy with HIM. Like , me and him, us doing stuff together, were some of the happiest moments of my life, but in the same token, having to be with him and be surrounded by nothing but negativity, it kind of drowns out how you feel, and loving yourself. That was what was really hard for me.”
So, the burning question, would the relationship survive if the cameras were not present? …..
“Yea, we would still be together. Everything would probably be greater than it’ s ever been. When you have so many people, feeling like they have the grounds to have an opinion on your relationship or who you are as a person, that for me was emotionally draining. Everybody is like “you cant pay attention to that”, but when you have over a ridiculous amount of people being cyber bullies or feel like they have the right to have an opinion on things, you have no choice than to feel a little closed in. You don’t even know how to be yourself, because being yourself, people see what they see and accept it at face value, as opposed to looking deeper into how things are created, especially with reality TV. So its just hard dealing with public perception when you are trying to love yourself and focus the things that are important to you when everybody else is focused on the things that have no value”.
Dutchess’s journey to self love and success nothing short of inspiring. Listen as she dishes more about her relationship with Caesar, her future and much more!