Being in the public eye is never easy. Some move through the spotlight with grace and ease, other are scrutinized with every step they take. If you are a reality television star then most likely you deal with the latter. Enter the world of Black Ink Crew’s Dutchess Lattimore, an amazing tattoo artist, businesswoman, and reality star who has shared many of her ups and downs in front of millions for five crazy seasons! “It’s been wild, a lot has happened over the years, but I’m still here, still standing. That’s what matters to me…people gonna hate but at the end of the day I’m Dutchess so I know I’m winning. Period.”
As you already know Dutchess is one of the main stars of VH-1’s Black Ink Crew, and has quickly become a fan favorite despite her clashes with her cast mates and coworkers.
What makes Dutchess stand out, however, is her desire to have it all. This is a woman who will not settle for anything less than what she deserves and desires. Although we are glad to see her back for another season of the show, Dutchess admits she is not so excited with this season. “I’m never really excited about these things…It’s like a gift and a curse, because we’ve already lived it, and how we lived it is different from how ya’ll [the viewers] get to see it. It brings up all those pent up emotions, things you were thinking about, and it’s just hard to relive stuff twice you know.” Her apprehension does bring up a real point shared by some other reality stars, (Toya Wright, being one) who admit they hate watching their shows, because it only drudges up the past. Thankfully, Dutchess’s skills are only outmatched by her resilience. “I’m just a strong woman, I’m gonna do what I gotta do. A lot of women want to be trophy wives you know…I want a different lifestyle. I wanna do the things that I wanna do, I wanna go the places I wanna go…” She goes onto elaborate on the kind of ideal life she she wants. “The ideal life of Dutchess is building a bigger brand, being able to decide when I wanna travel. I love to travel–it’s my favorite thing to do–If I decide tomorrow I wanna be able to go to India, I wanna be able to up and do that. That’s living the life that has no boundaries or limits…” She admits being on the show does help her have a platform, but unlike a number of other reality stars, wants to use it to make the best business decisions. “TV does help but you have to be in control of your business and brand yourself.”
Dutchess has proven herself to be a capable businesswoman and partner time and again, but thanks to Black Ink Crew we can tell her life has not been easy. When discussing the gossip and scandals that have marred her life and relationships she simply states, “You have to take the good with the bad…” As you may recall her relationship with Ceaser Emanuel ended after allegations that he fathered a child with another woman. The couple are still separated, and Dutchess does not believe they can ever reconcile. “I’m gonna be honest with you, I’m at a different place in my life, and Ceaser is at a different place in his life. He’s having fun, he’s being single, he’s around all types of females all the time. Like he’s doing what he’s been wanting to do. So I don’t know if i can ever allow myself to ever forgive him for that. So I think he’s where he needs to be, and doing what he needs to be doing…He never wanted to be in a relationship, he never wanted to be married anyway; and I feel like being a part of this show and this lifestyle kinda pushed him in that direction…”
We personally loved seeing Ceaser and Dutchess together, feeling as though they were on the cusp of becoming a true power couple. Ceaser has vehemently denied he fathered a child with another woman and even questions the woman’s existence. Dutchess states she has never seen this mystery woman or her child either. “It’s so much drama that goes around being in the spotlight that you know you gotta have good discernment and judgment…that wasn’t even a problem for me. My thing was that I couldn’t be in a relationship where everyone you have around your significant other hates them or don’t like them…How can you expect the, to constantly deal with that? It’s just everyone feels like they were entitled to be a part of our relationship…” Despite the issues with her cast mates, she admits she wants nothing but peace for everyone.
Although Dutchess and Ceaser are no longer an item, that has not stopped her from making moves. As you may know, she has opened her own shop, Pretty In Ink, in Charlotte, North Carolina, which has just finished its first year. “I’m really happy about our first year, but it has been an up and downhill battle. Like I haven’t had all great moments in that shop; there’ve been some things that been major roadblocks…but you realize how worth it, it is is to have your own shop and business…when you dream and get it for yourself, it just really makes you appreciate it more…” There are rumors buzzing that Pretty In Ink may be getting its own spin off series. Dutchess does not wish to speak on it at the moment, but states if those rumors are true then she can understand why as there really are not any reality shows set in or focused on Charlotte. Let’s hope Pretty In Ink can change that.
We love Dutchess and definitely wish nothing, but the best for her. There is a lot to be said for a woman, who despite her own personal challenges, still manages to make something amazing of herself. “ShePersisted” and so will we with our love and support! You be sure to keep up with Dutchess every Wednesday on VH-1’s Black Ink Crew at 9 PM EST!
Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning