Tila Tequila (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Tila Nguyen (born October 24, 1981), better known by her stage names Tila Tequila and Miss Tila, is a Singaporean-born American model and television personality. She is known for her appearances in the men's magazines Stuff, Maxim, Penthouse, her role as host of the Fuse TV show featuring performance striptease, Pants-Off Dance-Off and her position as the most popular artist on MySpace (according to page views) circa April 2006. She was raised in Houston, Texas, and now lives in Los Angeles, California. Her MTV reality show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila aired for two seasons.
Early life and education
Nguyen was born in Singapore, where her family emigrated from Vietnam after the Vietnam War. She is the youngest of three children born to a half French mother and full Vietnamese father. Nguyen has an older brother, Daniel and older sister, Terri. When she was one year old, the family relocated to a neighborhood in Houston, Texas and were eventually admitted to a gated community run by a strict Buddhist temple. The family left the community when Nguyen was eight.
While in middle school, Nguyen became a tomboy and was eventually sent to a boarding school for six months for her combative behavior before transferring to another school. While in high school, she used her sister's identification card to enter nightclubs, where she began taking drugs and joined a gang. She was given the nickname "Tila Tequila" by friends due to her apparent allergy to alcohol. In her memoir, she would later explain that she felt "confused" and "lost" from various personal family and environmental issues and lost her virginity at 15. She turned to writing poems in an attempt to release powerful emotions, and friends outside the gang briefly helped turn her life around. At age 16, Nguyen ran to Queens, New York for several months. While still 16, she experienced a drive-by shooting in Houston. She reports having become pregnant and suffering a miscarriage the following year.
Nguyen graduated from Alief Hastings High School in 2000. She has cited the violent adolescence she had in Texas as her reason for becoming a model and moving to California in 2001. In a March 2003 interview, she revealed that she has taken some college classes but does not have a degree, stating, "I didn't want to go to college for an actual degree because there's nothing out there I like besides doing something that involves the entertainment industry."
Modeling and acting
Nguyen's career began at the age of 19 when she was discovered at the Sharpstown Mall by a Playboy scout and was offered a chance to model nude for the magazine. She did a test shoot, then eventually moved to Southern California and was featured as Playboy's Cyber Girl of the week on April 22, 2002, and soon thereafter she became the first Asian Cyber Girl of the Month. A few more pictorials for the magazine followed.
Nguyen gained further popularity through the import racing scene. She has been featured on the cover of Import Tuner magazine, at car shows such as Hot Import Nights, and in the video game Street Racing Syndicate. She was also the most frequent host on the first season of Fuse TV's dance show, Pants-Off Dance-Off, on which a group of contestants strip to music videos.
Nguyen was featured on the cover of the April 2006 issue of Stuff magazine; in the interview, she claimed that her nickname "Tila Tequila" came about when she experimented with alcohol at the age of thirteen. She appeared on the August 2006 Maxim UK cover, was named #88 in their Hot 100 List, and also appeared in the December 2007 issue. She was ranked #100 on the Maxim Hot 100 list in 2008.
Nguyen made an appearance as one of the 12 strangers in the first game on the April 6, 2007 episode of NBC's game show Identity. On March 4, 2007 she made a cameo appearance on the show "War At Home." She also appeared as a Hooters Girl in the 2007 film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
Nguyen has been featured on the front page of magazines such as Penthouse, King, Blender, and most recently Steppin' Out
See A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila for more information
In May 2007, Nguyen began filming for a reality show which first aired on MTV on October 9, 2007, as A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. The program was a bisexual-themed dating show where 16 straight men and 16 lesbian women competed for Nguyen's affections, the twist being that the contestants were not aware of her bisexuality until the end of the first episode. The ten-episode series was produced by SallyAnn Salsano and MTV.
The show led to a heated online debate between Nguyen and conservative Christians after an article appeared on The Christian Post on September 13, 2007. After seeing the article, Nguyen wrote an impassioned response in her blog on September 28, 2007, criticizing churches for "bashing" the gay community while thanking God for saving her life.
The show premiered for a second season in April 2008 and became a popular gossip subject in Asian media, such as AsianWeek. The season finale premiered July 8, 2008, the winner being Kristy Morgan who declined her "shot at love".
Before A Shot at Love, Nguyen was a contestant on VH1's Surviving Nugent, a reality TV show where participants performed compromising tasks and stunts for rock star Ted Nugent.
Online business ventures
In July 2001, Nguyen started the website TilasHotSpot.com, which later began redirecting to MissTila.com. Originally the site featured information, quotes, blog, and pictorials requiring adult verification and a monthly fee. Later, the site was revamped to feature all-ages content and information to promote her career, business ventures, personal information, and a premium membership section including videos, non-nude picture galleries, blogs, and chat sessions. In 2008 the site was transformed into a social network.
During 2005, Nguyen launched TilaFashion.com, a site featuring her custom line of clothing for men and women. In 2006, Nguyen created a website entitled "Tila Zone," which features content to use on Myspace and other social networking websites including layouts, widgets, and clipart.
In December 2009, Nguyen partnered with Joe Francis to launch the now-defunct dating site TilasHotSpotDating.com, aimed at people ages 18 and up. The site included a free membership with basic access, and paid membership for other areas of the site. Nguyen took in webcam chats on the site.
In 2010, Nguyen launched a celebrity blog site, MissTilaOMG.com, which was transformed into her personal blog in 2012.
At age 20, Nguyen acted on her interest in rock music and started looking for bands willing to let her join. She eventually assembled a band called Beyond Betty Jean, for which she was singer and songwriter. Beyond Betty Jean eventually broke up and Nguyen started working in recording studios to sharpen her vocal skills and wrote music. Later, she became the lead singer of a band called Jealousy, which released a few songs online before breaking up.
In April 2006, during the taping of an interview with MTV's Total Request Live VJs, will.i.am announced that Nguyen had been signed to the Will.I.Am music group, a record label under A&M Records. Despite this major-label signing, Nguyen independently released her first single "I Love U" through iTunes on February 27, 2007, justifying the independent release through her desire to become famous by herself. She also shot a music video for the song.
In March 2007, Washington-based record label The Saturday Team released an EP called Sex, by Tila Tequila. On July 27, 2007, Italian website MusicBlob reported that The Saturday Team and distributor Icon Music Entertainment Services sued Nguyen over breaching her contract related to the album. However, Nguyen claimed in a MySpace bulletin that the EP was not authorized for release by her, and was removed from most retailers. The Saturday Team won a legal case, making Sex available for digital purchase.
On October 9, 2007, Nguyen released her second official single, "Stripper Friends". A video premiered via Yahoo! Music on February 26, 2008 and was released to iTunes on March 4, 2008. The single failed to chart. In April 2008, the single "Paralyze" and its accompanying music video were released via Yahoo! Music and iTunes.
The "I Love U Remixes" EP was released to digital music retailers on April 7, 2009.
In April 2010, Nguyen officially released "I Fucked The DJ", along with an edited version entitled "I Love My DJ", through iTunes. The songs were released under the name "Miss Tila". In May 2010, Nguyen released an EP to iTunes entitled "Welcome to the Darkside". The EP includes a cover of Depeche Mode's song "Blue Dress" and Yoko Ono's song "Walking on Thin Ice".
Tila began a tour supporting the new EP in 2010, and at one of her tour stops in August 2010, Nguyen appeared at the Gathering of the Juggalos, a music festival founded by hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse. She was repeatedly pelted with rocks and bottles among other objects, and she vowed to take legal action against the organizers and promoters for the event.
On December 2, 2008, Nguyen released a self-help book, Hooking Up with Tila Tequila: A Guide to Love, Fame, Happiness, Success, and Being the Life of the Party (ISBN 9781439101537).
Record label and management firm
Nguyen has started her own record label called "Tila Tequila Records", and signed Raz-B of B2K. Apart from her record label, Nguyen has also started a management firm called "Little Miss Trendsetter Management LLC".
On September 6, 2009, Nguyen was allegedly choked and restrained by former boyfriend Shawne Merriman, who was later arrested. San Diego district attorney Bonnie Dumanis decided not to charge Merriman after her office spent three days reviewing reports from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. On November 17, 2009, Nguyen sued Merriman for $1.5 million. Several weeks later, Merriman countersued, alleging intentional interference with contract, unfair competition, and trademark infringement. She declined to respond to his more recent actions, and a default judgment was entered in his favor for $2 million.
On December 9, 2009, Nguyen stated she was engaged to heiress Casey Johnson and was photographed with a diamond ring. On January 4, 2010, Johnson, who had long suffered from Type I Diabetes, was found dead. On February 4, 2010, the Los Angeles Coroner's Office announced that Johnson "died from diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition caused by a lack of insulin and high blood sugar". She was reported to have neglected to take her medication, and died naturally.
In 2011 Vivid Entertainment released a video of Nguyen engaging in sexual acts with pornographic actresses Kristina Rose and Charlie Laine. Nguyen has stated that the video was made for personal use and she did not consent to its release.
On March 7, 2012, it was reported that Nguyen has agreed to check into rehab after having reportedly "almost died" from an attempted suicide by overdosing on pills. The incident caused her to be hospitalized from a brain aneurysm. Nguyen completed her rehab treatment on April 5, 2012. Upon completing her treatment, Nguyen opened up about her near-death experience to US Weekly stating "I can remember feeling like the bones were popping out the side of my head [because] the pain was so bad. I took some medications and tried to go for a nap, but when I woke up I was vomiting. I really thought I was going to die."
Tila Tequila with Sarah Tomlinson, Hooking Up With Tila Tequila: A Guide to Love, Fame, Happiness, Success, and Being the Life of the Party, Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, December 2008 (ISBN 9781439101537)
Awards and nominations
The Soup Awards for Entertainer of the Year
Spike Annual Guy's Awards for So Hot They're Famous