New look, new show, new moves. After packing her bags and uprooting from Houston to New York and now Los Angeles, Miss Mykie has turned into a media figure overnight, let someone else tell it.
In our latest feature the AKA leading lady and host of “The Drop” on All Def Digital speaks on growing up, what exactly happened with her spot on ‘106 & Park’ and why teaming with Uncle Rush might be the best family business decision she’s made yet.
Behind the perfectly coiffed hair and dazzling smile, there are few who really know the woman behind the machine that is now the Miss Mykie brand. While many can easily recite her growing resume of accomplishments; artist, TV personality, former BET 106 & Park host, there are others who have no clue of the sacrifice, effort, and determination that was put forth in order to rise to the ranks that she now resides in. In an age where anyone remotely near the limelight is scrutinized, the woman born Mykel Antoinea Gray has soldiered on.
Always ready with a smile, despite any hardship that she has encountered behind the scenes, when that light shines her way she makes it all look so effortless. And perhaps that’s the way it should be.
Even when she’s supposed to be calm such as this night where she’s set to reveal the news about her Instagram only vehicle “The Tea” switching platforms, she cracks a wise smile, “I actually like people wondering, ‘Damn, how did she get there?’ than to know my every move. Something has to be left to the imagination.”
When you retrace Mykie’s steps through the game however, one thing remains consistent; her dedication to succeed. A product of Missouri City, an oblong sized suburb of Houston that hosts its own rich history, it became evident early on that she had a natural knack for performing; her budding skills slowly revealed during talent shows staged within the family basement.
“I always had a passion for music. In my spare time we used to do our own talent shows. My parents really invested in me as a child. I was in the young ensemble and also danced. I learned everything from ballet and jazz to Hip Hop."
Every teenage dream sounds like an initial hobby. Mykie rather found the dream more sustainable in reality than anything else. Thus, she would hit the pavement hard, opening up for a number of local and national artists before landing in a trio called “Golden Rose.” Although the young ladies were talented, like most forgotten girl groups eventual discord and petty arguments would lead to its demise. The breaking point being when she was given an ultimatum; become dedicated to the group on a consistent basis or move away for college.
For Mykie the choice was easy … and Howard University gained another student.
THAT PINK. THAT GREEN.
A change of scenery proved to be beneficial for the southern belle, she would flourish at Howard. Though is always the case, things always go wrong when the world is going right. The songstress would become personally acquainted with grief after her brother, a talented producer and also one of her biggest supporters, was killed just days before his 23rd birthday.
“It’s still not something that I can easily talk about without crying,” she explained in a much more demur tone. Though the bravery needed to even indulge the question should be noted.
Losing someone that you love is a nearly unbearable experience in itself, but suffering that same loss combined with losing a primary motivator of your dream is almost indescribable. As an artist one can either succumb to grief or battle through it. Keep moving, keep sacrificing, keep pushing. Her time inside of the nation’s capitol, long before RGIII stepped foot on the soil molded her even more. She became a woman of the esteemed Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, a proud flag bearer and also a graduate – skeeweeing her way across the stage with a Fine Arts degree in tow.
Though for all of the strides made, Mykie would not be spared the harsh reality of life after graduation; bills must be paid and Sallie Mae is not the one to play around with. Faced with this realization, she would take a more traditional approach to her aspirations by becoming a teacher by day in order to finance her dreams, and vowed to not lose sight of the finish line. By 2011 that finish line was almost in sight, prompting her to make the difficult decision to cut her financial safety net and pursue a career in entertainment full time.
“I was still fighting it but I went ahead and did it. Leaving teaching was a hard decision for me, it was like ‘Damn this is really it, now I have to hustle even harder. So I did. But people really don’t understand how hard it is behind the scenes; especially once you get on the road. I dealt with bad hotels, poorly booked venues … but I dealt with it,” says Mykie.
Shortly after formally ending her teaching career, she negotiated an independent 15-city tour. Tapping into her large sorority fan base, her That Pink That Green mixtape became the catalyst for the tour. The series would spawn four separate entities, her Mohawk and look becoming damn near more of a hallmark than the music itself. Her style was built on “Me-Mixes”, sometimes rapped; other times sung reworked vocals of popular tracks. If Miss Mykie the image and brand were already in place, why wouldn’t a random e-mail completely alter her situation and lifestyle even further?
Read the full story at Dayandadream.com, December 2013 or Part II here.