What Amber Rose Was Like Before The Fame

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Before becoming an author, talk show host, rapper, and the fiercely outspoken social media force known as "Muva," Amber Rose had to work and hustle her way to the top while being raised by a single mother, working as a stripper, and being tossed aside by Kanye West, which almost ended her fame as quickly as it began. But Rose wasn't going down without a fight. This is her story.

She came from an unusual heritage

Rose's father was Irish/Italian and her mom was of Cape Verdean descent, which led to some confusing moments about her race while growing up.

"With me, I was never black enough, I was never white enough," she told Loveline (via Oxygen). "I would be around white friends in Philly and they would say black jokes or be like 'Yo, we're going to f— them n-words up around the corner' and I'm like 'What?' They didn't know because I'm so light [-skinned] like my dad. It's crazy and I've seen it from both sides actually growing up although I always felt like black people were more accepting to everyone even though America's history probably taught them not to be."

It also didn't help that Rose's parents divorced when she was young, which left her family struggling to make ends meet.

She was raised by a single mom

As if dealing with racial issues on the streets of Philly weren't enough, Rose's parents had split up and money was tight. However, Rose still looks back fondly on her childhood. In fact, you might even say she sees things through rose-colored glasses. (Sorry. Sorry!)

"I grew up with a single mom," Rose said in an interview with Curve. "She was a waitress. We were really, really, really, really poor. I've always been different. My friends' parents used to call me the weird girl from around the corner. I've just always been unique and I had good times when I was young but I got made fun of a lot because I couldn't really afford nice clothes. I would wear my cousins' hand me downs. But all in all I had a good childhood."

But while Rose has an appreciation for the life her mom struggled to provide, she doesn't have the best memories of her teen years.

She was cruelly shamed in school

During an emotional speech for her 2015 SlutWalk, an event designed to "speak out against slut-shaming and provide a safe space for women," the HuffPost reports that Rose revealed a traumatizing event that occurred at a party when she was just 14.

"I was in [the closet] with some boy," she said. "We were kissing and he was like 'Hey, you know, you should get down on your knees.' And I said, 'Why, why would I do that?' I'm 14 I don't know what the hell get down on your knees means. He asked me again, and I said 'OK,' and I got down on my knees. And he opened the door."

According to Rose, she had no idea what lurid act the boy was trying to insinuate to the other partygoers who "gasped" when they saw her in the compromising position. "I was extremely slut-shamed by the entire school," Rose said. "I wanted to change schools. I felt like my life was over. It was very difficult for me."

A year later, Rose embarked on a career that caused her to be judged for the rest of her adult life.

She lied about her age to become a stripper

When Rose turned 15, she started secretly stripping under the name "Paris" to help support her family. Stripping also provided Rose a chance to survive on her own, which she feels she's been unfairly shamed for.

"Because I was a stripper at 15 years old, I think a lot of people look at that and they think I was a prostitute and I was a whore and I did dirty things for money," she told Curve. "When really, I was very young and I did what I had to, to survive at that time. It's not like I was a little girl thinking like, Oh when I grow up I want to be a stripper! And I want everyone to treat me like s**t. It definitely wasn't like that for me. It was a survival tactic."

But Rose was especially taken back after seeing Dita Von Teese perform, and how well she was treated despite performing nude.

"I'm literally around multi-millionaires and billionaires at this dinner and Dita Von Teese gets on stage and she gets buck naked and she spins around in a big martini glass and everyone clapped for her," Rose said. "It's not fair that it's OK for her to do it because she doing it for rich white people but you know I was in like, the hood, and I did what I had to do to survive... and I constantly get ridiculed."

She shaved her head because of Sinead O'Connor

While growing up, Rose fell in love with the Sinead O'Connor video for "Nothing Compares To You" and often dreamed about shaving her head like the famous singer. At age 19, Rose finally pulled the trigger, and it's been her signature look ever since. But it wasn't an easy transition.

"When the time finally came and I was ready to do it, I asked all my friends and they were like, you're going to look so stupid, Amber, don't you dare do that." she told Curve. "I was like, No, I really, really want to do it, you guys don't understand. So I did it. I went to the barbershop... I cut it off and I went home and I cried my eyes out for like a week. My hair's naturally really dark, so I thought maybe if I dye it blonde it'll soften it up."

Eventually Rose found her strength. "I realized it looked dope," she told the New York Post. "Sinead O'Connor was a bald-headed bad-ass, and I loved her."

She mostly dated women

While Rose's claim to fame is dating Kanye, she told Jamie Foxx (via Fox News) that until she met the rapper, she had been dating women for almost a decade. "I had two three-year relationships with women. So, I was with women for six years before I met Kanye," Rose said.

Despite having a rough time in school, Rose's mother was supportive of her daughter's bisexuality, according to Curve.

"It was a weird moment in my life when I didn't know how to like explain to myself I wasn't gay, but I wasn't straight and I just wasn't like some freak—that you know was just having threesomes all day." she said. "For me, if I was in a relationship with a woman then I was just with her and vice versa. ... When I had my first girlfriend—me and my mom are best friends— I just told her and my mom was like, 'Whatever makes you happy girl. Whatever you like, that's your business, I don't care.' It was really easy for me."

Thanks to her mom helping Rose have the confidence to be comfortable with her sexuality, it wasn't long before the curvaceous dancer startied turning industry heads.

She was signed by Def Jam

Before meeting Kanye, Rose had already caught her first big break when Def Jam asked her to appear in music videos, which sounded way too good to be true after years on the pole.

"I got discovered in New York by this lady that worked for Def Jam." Rose told Curve. "She approached me and said I was really beautiful and she asked me if I wanted to do music videos. She was like, 'There's a music video tomorrow. You fly to Miami and they'll pay you and you don't have to worry about anything.' I was like, 'Look, I can't afford to just jump on an airplane and just leave, I have to go to work.' She was like, 'No, it's all expenses paid, you don't have to worry about anything, and you get a check on top of it.' So I was like, 'Wow, that's kind of cool, OK!' So I started doing music videos."

As Rose began to appear in more and more rap videos, she had no idea that she'd soon catch the eye of one of the biggest rappers on the planet. But she did, and it was pop culture history in the making.

Kanye spotted her in a Ludacris video

In 2008, Kanye reportedly became "obsessed" with Rose after spotting in her the Ludacris video for "What Them Girls Like," according to the New York Post. And just like the time Rose was approached by Def Jam, she didn't believe what was happening when the rapper reached out.

"I was home in The Bronx, and he called me on my cellphone," she said. "I'd never met him before. He was like, 'Hey, it's Kanye.'" Thinking it was a prank call, Rose hung up on him.

Yeezy called Rose back and somehow managed to convince her that it was really him. Eventually, he flew her out to LA to star in a video for "Robocop" that never saw the light of day. But the two were getting close, and West took things to the next level by inviting Rose to the Grammys and swept her off her feet.

"I had never had Chanel before," she told the Post about her bodysuit for the Grammys. "I'd never had anyone go out and buy me a really expensive outfit. When I told him I was an [exotic] dancer, he was like, 'I don't care if you're a crackhead. I don't care if you're a prostitute. I just want to be with you.' That's what made me love him."

Rose was head over heels, but the fairy tale wouldn't last.

Kanye cheated on her with Kim Kardashian

After two years together, Kanye and Rose broke up in 2010 after she grew tired of the rapper's alleged cheating.

"He is your typical rapper in the industry," Rose told the New York Post. "He can't be faithful, and it's not just with one person. He's just unfaithful with a lot of different women. I got to the point where I thought, my heart can't take it anymore. I don't deserve this. I don't care when people say that I owe him my life because I'm famous now. I don't owe him nothing."

But Rose didn't just call out Kanye for cheating. She also hurled accusations at a certain reality star who has the only derriere that can go toe-to-toe with Rose's. "Kim [Kardashian] is one of the main reasons why me and Kanye are not together," Rose told Star (via Radar). "She's a homewrecker!"

According to Rose, while Kanye was allegedly cheating on her, Kim was allegedly cheating on her then-boyfriend Reggie Bush. "She was sending pictures, and I was like, 'Kim, just stop. Don't be that person,'" Rose said. "I thought at least she'd be woman enough to respond to me. She never responded. ... It's very important that us women stick together and we don't f**k each other over like that."

Things went from bad to worse, and the break-up cost Rose more than just a relationship.

Her modeling career took a hit

Not long after breaking up with Kanye, Page Six and other media outlets started reporting that Rose had been dropped by Ford Models, which prompted her to issue a denial.

"I did NOT get dropped from FORD Models my contract was up now I'm with CAA." she tweeted. "Don't believe everything u read babe."

However, Rose's tenure with CAA didn't last long, and she revealed on Twitter that she was dropped by the agency because of tabloid reports that she had sent nude photos to Nicki Minaj's boyfriend. However, the reports were false and the photos were actually stolen from her computer. Minaj even came to Rose's defense over the scandal, but the damage was already done.

"The company that I was working with no longer wants to work with me because of these pics and that prevents me from getting money to take care of my family," Rose tweeted. "Its a messed up situation when someone so evil comes into ur life and tries to destroy it. I know I'm not the only girl in the world that has taken pics like that but they were very private. I'm sorry for letting my young Rosebuds down. Pls understand this was a result of trusting a person that didn't deserve my trust. I have cried for the past 2 days but I know this to shall pass. Thank u for all of ur support."

It was a low point for the bald beauty, but she quickly picked herself back up.

She learned how to be an entrepreneur

Despite being constantly referred to as Kanye's ex-girlfriend, Rose was determined to make it on her own two feet and wasn't about to let a few setbacks stop her.

"I can't go back to Philly, I'm not going to be a dancer again, you know I met a lot of great people during this time when I was with homeboy [West] years ago." she told Complex (via Hello Giggles). "I'm just gonna take the steps and find out how to be an entrepreneur and start my own businesses and companies, and that's what I did."

But not only was Rose dedicated to making a name for herself, she was going to do it without capitalizing on her famous ex-boyfriend.

"I could've got a reality show just off the fact that I was his girlfriend," she said. "I could've wrote a book just off the fact that I was his girlfriend... But I'm a real ass b*tch, I'm gonna take the high road, I'm gon' work my ass off, and I'm gonna get everything that I'm gonna get on my own, so nobody can be like, 'Yo I gave her that.'"

With a book, talk show career, and a non-profit organization that empowers women under her belt, there's no denying that Rose built a brand that's entirely independent from Kanye. Although, she did set social media on fire by tweeting him the greatest hashtag of all time, but c'mon. She earned it.