Most of us were first introduced to Somaya Reece as the firecracker rapper on Love & Hip Hop: New York a few years ago, but there’s so much more to this woman. First, she’s gone through a dramatic weight-loss, new music, and a brand new and healthy outlook on life –one look at her and you’ll see she practices what she preaches. Whether you are a busy mommy, a student, have two or three jobs or you’re on a tight budget, Somaya believes she can help you can achieve your fitness goals. She even launched a great new site ThisFitsMe.com to inspire us all! “Let’s not forget, I was once a size 18 and am now a size eight, fitting a medium,” Somaya notes. “Eat delicious foods that can help you lose weight and improve your overall health. I went from being the “girl that got fat” to the girl that got FAB.”
We sat down with her recently to catch up with where she’s been and where she’s headed. Get inspired with us!
Tell us about your journey before Love & Hip Hop New York? Who was she as an artist? What were her passions?
Prior to Love and Hip Hop I was already making music, I was already on TV, films and over 45 national commercials. I was the number-one independent artist on MySpace with over 33 million REAL plays, one-and-a-half million fans (that grew to two million) and one of the first artists to be brought into MySpace Records to be offered a deal. My records were always charting in their top 10 charts next to all the major label artists, I was the only indie one on the charts pushing numbers. I grew up in a traditional Latin household. That is reflected in my music today. I love mixing Latin and hip hop. I am driven by passion. Everything I do I have to deeply believe in. As a child, I wanted to be an actress, musician, an artist in general. At three-years-old I would sing happy birthday to my whole family and charge them for tickets. I was an independent little boss even back then!
Hailing from LA, how did you get on Love & Hip Hop: New York?
I couldn’t find any producers n L.A that did Latin hip hop. We have many hip hop producers here but not in the Latin hip hop style I was trying to create. Prior to Pitbull blowing up, that is the sound I kept trying to get producers to do for me out here in L.A but they didn’t think it was something that would sell. Fast forward, look at Pitbull now! I was advised by many people to move to Miami or New York…but I didn’t know any producers there. As the risk taker I am, I sold almost everything I had here in L.A, my car, jewelry, clothes, packed my bags and moved blindly to New York.
You were determined, a woman on a mission…
Yes. I came with one bag, fierce ambition and the drive to make it happen. I knew exactly what my vision was and no one was going to stop me…as you saw on LNHH!! I was already interviewing with all the television networks back in L.A for other shows, so when the New York offices found out I was here they tried to contact me, found me and the rest is history. I had a meeting with Mona [Scott Young] at VH1 I kept it real with her, I kept it transparent and she casted me as the star of the show.
Why did you depart from the hit reality show?
I still work with the Love & Hip Hop brand now…you never know if I’ll return or not [winks].
Did that departure inspire you to focus on yourself and your rebranding?
I was always focused on me even while filming in New York, but moving back to L.A. definitely made me focus harder on everything, specifically on re-branding. My main focus was to bring forth a new me, new music, new look, new everything. It was a pretty intense process that no one but me made happen. I researched everything in regards to building a successful brand. I took my time.
Let’s talk about your passion for fitness and healthy eating – what was the driving force behind your weight loss? Did you always battle with the highs and lows of weight gain and weight loss?
I’ve had eating disorders my entire life. They began in my teenage years and went into adulthood. I suffered from bulimia nervosa, body dysmorphia, anorexia and I was addicted to laxatives. At one point, I would take over 20 a night, and I wouldn’t eat. It has been the most difficult battle I have fought and continue to fight in my life. Due to this, I decided to document my weight loss journey publicly and it developed an intensely large interest with my fans. That was the beginning and of the birth of my fitness brand. It developed organically.
How much weight have you lost since leaving Love & Hip Hop New York, and what were some of the challenges that you faced to get to your current size?
I honestly am not sure how much weight I lost because I stopped counting. Having eating disorders makes the scale become an addiction, so it’s best I stay off of it. Last I checked I was 60 pounds down. I am a size 8/10, medium. The challenges I now face is I get people that say I’m getting too skinny, but in reality, I am back to my normal size. I haven’t lost my womanly curves, they just got tighter and more muscular.
Are you at your goal weight? And most importantly, how do you keep the weight off?
I never wanted to lose a particular amount of weight. My visual test, as weird as this sounds, was to wear white. White is not forgiving at all. So, I was really happy the day I was able to wear a plain fitted white t-shirt and jeans comfortably. One thing I want people to know is that keeping it off is something that is much easier than putting it on when you think of it as a “lifestyle” change. I changed my entire mind set on fitness, weight loss, and turning this into a life-long health journey. I work out and I eat the things I like but I make healthier versions of them, and I keep my goals in order.
Do you ever cheat with fast food? If so, what kinds of tempting foods do you eat?
I have never been a fan of fast food. I can count on one hand how many times I have had fast food in my life. I have certain cheat things I like: I love Mexican food, Italian food, foods from my country, El Salvador, and little goodies here and there. Cheating is a great thing to do when you are on your fitness and health journey. If you restrict everything and never enjoy a cheat meal, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You should never deprive yourself to that extreme. Just learn moderation.
Are you still totally vested in being a recording artist? What fitness projects are you working on?
Music never stopped for me. My current Tropical Hip-Hop single “Descontrol” is doing well, it’s on MTV Latin America–all the Latin channels–and radio. Music isn’t a game to me, this is my passion. I’m working on my first EP to add to my workouts with Fitness with Friends, a DVD, and my book “30 Day to Fabulous” due out this summer. I own two booming fitness companies, This Fits Me and Fitness with Friends. I have six paid employees, with growing numbers of readers and followers on the brands. I am happy to announce that my fitness website, This FitsMe.com, has become the number-one source for health and fitness for a “realistic approach to fitness” and I’m very blessed to have done this all by myself. I am getting ready to launch a new fashion company that I haven’t announced yet. I am very focused and what I love most is that my music is involved in my businesses.
What can readers expect from ThisFitsMe.com?
They can always expect the REAL! My entire approach to health and fitness is keeping it real with the people and being gimmick-free. That is why I call it a realistic approach to fitness, because we don’t give you BS–you get real answers and real information. This Fits Me is currently being developed to be a large company brand with corporate structure. The posts are realistic and easy to understand. I make a huge effort to make the posts relatable as well. Nobody wants to read unrealistic information. Due to that alone, the fans have helped it organically grow. My brand has to continue to have high integrity and it must be honest for the people.
Originally posted on Madamenoire