By Charreah Jackson
TLC's Chilli ain't too proud to find love on television. The top-selling singer has teamed up with VH1 for a new dating show this fall. We caught up with the southern beauty to see how her series is different from other reality shows, why she's open to men of all backgrounds and whether there's any chance for a reconciliation with Usher.
ESSENCE.COM: Miss Chilli, you are on the prowl! How did you end up with a dating reality show?
CHILLI: Our producer from TLC's show "R U the Girl?" was fascinated by my outlook on men and thought I was too picky. Years later we developed a show to help me find someone. I was very clear it couldn't be your typical dating show. I'm very picky and all women should be. I want to encourage women to fight for what it is you really want, and stand by that. Otherwise you will have a lot of heartbreak or will be left unfulfilled. When you bring a lot to the table, you can't be with someone who is half-stepping.
ESSENCE.COM: That's right! How will your show be different from other dating reality shows and do you think you will truly find love?
CHILLI: Anything is possible and I do hope to meet someone fabulous. One thing is for sure, there will be no kissing on the mouth with these guys. That is so gross. That's not a part of getting to know someone. They won't all live in the same house either. It will definitely be a lot of fun. I'm not limiting myself to Black guys. I'm open to all men and all Black women should be. You may miss out on the man of your dreams because you are trying to stick with a brother.
ESSENCE.COM: Now, many of your fans already have the perfect guy picked for you, your ex Usher. Any chance for a reconciliation?
CHILLI: (Laughs.) I don't know. You never know. Only the good Lord knows that. If it's meant for us to stay apart, we will, and if it's meant to be the other way, somehow in the future it may happen.
ESSENCE.COM: You also have a son. How has being a mom impacted your dating life?
CHILLI: I would never get serious with anyone who had a problem with kids. I don't like when women are dating and they present every guy they are dating as a boyfriend around the kids. When you are a great mom, it's hard to not bring someone you are dating around your kid, but you don't display affection in front of them. "This is mommy's friend," and that's so your kids aren't confused and develop bad habits.
ESSENCE.COM: Definitely. And how did you know you were ready to look for love?
CHILLI: I'm hard on guys, that's why I said maybe I do need a little help from VH1. I also know I have avoided many werewolves being tough. As a celebrity and just a woman who takes care of herself, you have to be very careful. Guys talk more than we do. I can go on a lunch date, and the guy spins it to something else, and that includes celebrities. All of that turned me off from dating. Now I am at the point to open up again. It's also important to be able to enjoy your own company and I love my space. I do hope to get married one day, and when I do I still hope to enjoy being alone. Hopefully I will connect with somebody on this show. We already know ultimately who everyone wants me with (laughs).