Tiffany “New York” Pollard is fully embracing her villain era. The reality TV star sat down with ET to look back at her iconic career on the small screen as she gears up for the premiere of her new upcoming series, House of Villains.
E!’s new competition series features Pollard alongside reality television’s most infamous villains under one roof as they outsmart, out-manipulate and out-scheme each other through a series of challenges in order to win a $200,000 cash prize and the title of America’s Ultimate Supervillain. Hosted by Joel McHale, the series unites 10 notorious reality “villains” from some of the most popular reality television franchises, including Anfisa Arkhipchenko (90 Day Finacé), The Challenge‘s Johnny Bananas, Shake Chatterjee from Love Is Blind, Survivor‘s Jonny Fairplay, Bobby Lytes and Corinne Olympios of Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise fame, Omarosa Manigault Newman from The Apprentice, Vanderpump Rules alum Jax Taylor and Bad Girls Club‘s Tanisha Thomas.
Each week, contestants compete in a battle-royale challenge that tests their physical, mental and emotional strength. The winner of the challenge is safe from elimination and at the end of the week, one villain is sent home. It’s the battle of the century as alliances are made, trusts are broken and the villains scheme their way to the top.
While some might find the idea of being labeled a villain upsetting, Pollard revels at making her salacious mark on reality TV history. “It’s as sexy and as sleek as Corinne described it,” she tells ET’s Brice Sander, referring to her co-star’s declaration that villains are “hot.”
“You can play with it, do what you will with it, you can rub a dub dub it, make it more moist or you can be hard and stand in it solidly. But, like Corinne said, she embraced it, and we all have to because these are the biggest [reality TV] villains in America if not the world,” the 41-year-old media personality added.
Pollard made her entry into the medium as a contestant on two seasons of VH1’s Flavor of Love. She instantly became a breakout star thanks to her vivacious nature, undeniable charisma, snappy one-liners and unforgettable interactions with other contestants. (The most infamous being her altercation with the contestant named Pumkin, who hawked a loogie at Pollard that cemented her place in reality TV villainy forever.)
To no one’s surprise, her stint on Flavor of Love led to her very own spinoff series, I Love New York, which was only the beginning of her long-standing career.
“I’m still asked about the spit heard around the world, 15 years later,” Pollard quips. “I would say that’s the moment for me [that’s] still defining till this day.”
Her fiery personality has culminated in Pollard becoming the face of a thousand emotions as online fans have turned her TV moments into memes. “It takes my breath away as a 41-year-old gorgeous woman, and I love the fact that a 19-year-old can recognize me because of the memes,” she tells ET.
“The memes have been a godsend for me because it keeps me relevant, it keeps me active, and I love the fact that someone can have a conversation with their parent or significant other just by sending [a photo or gif of] me,” she continues. “They send my Black a**, they don’t even talk anymore. They don’t text, they just send a picture of me doing something extreme from back in the day! I love them, and yes, I am the Queen of Memes, and I wanna keep that going.”
The tradition is bound to continue once House of Villains begins airing. While Pollard teases a lot of onscreen shenanigans between the villains, she also shares the hope that viewers will learn more about the people beneath the villainy fame.
“I hope that people can see how much we have in common as villains. One of the things that I really loved [was] just walking about the mansion, seeing personal objects from the other villains, whether it be a picture of a loved one or hearing about dogs or things like that,” she confesses. “We’re not so bad — there’s a heart there. We can all bring that [villainy] and dish it when it needs to be, but at the same time, if you needed a hug, you can go and get a hug from this one or that one.”
House of Villains will premiere with a 75-minute supersized episode on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on E!. The episode will also air simultaneously across Bravo, SYFY and USA.