The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills rookie Erika Girardi has left quite an impression on the Housewives of both coasts in just a matter of weeks. But dance music fans have long been familiar with the her alter ego, Erika Jayne. Having already amassed eight No. 1 singles on the U.S. Dance chart, Erika is definitely not a newcomer to the music world. Her sexy and sultry pop persona has won over fans across the globe, and her creative director, Mikey Minden, thinks this movement will only get bigger. "I have seen every city of Housewives ever," Mikey told The Daily Dish. "This was a dream come true, that my best friend and creative partner was going to be on my favorite show."
Like Erika, Mikey (who has appeared on RHOBH and Real Housewives of Orange County) is a music industry vet himself, having worked with everyone from Usher to the Pussycat Dolls and P!nk. Given the amount of sexy he's been around over the years, it's no surprise he enjoys working with Erika. Below, he speaks exclusively about their creative partnership.
Let's talk a little bit about how you guys ended up working together.
Mikey Minden: We met about six or seven years ago. I was actually in London directing and choreographing the Pussycat Dolls last world tour, Doll Domination, and I got a call from my agency saying that this new hot dance pop diva is interested in taking a meeting, so I was like, "100 percent." When I got back from London we met at the Beverly Hills Hotel for lunch and we clicked right away. She's a Cancer. I'm a Pisces. We share a lot of the same values and also are inspired by a lot of the same creative things like Bob Fosse, Vegas, super sexy images, fashion, hair, makeup.
When you sat down six years ago to map out how she was going to build on the Erika Jayne brand, what kind of conversations did you have?
Well we always look through photography books, European fashion magazines, watch old clips of Fosse and Cyd Charisse, and these old school divas that really paved the way for performers like Erika. [We're] thinking how can we push it? How can we make it theatrical? It's a constant building process when you're working closely with an artist. It's always changing. It's always evolving, but you want it to feel organic to the artist you're working with. Everything I've done with Erika is always really true to who she is and what she's trying to express, which is fantasy, love, escape, glitz, glamour, fun — those are her words.
Where is she as an artist right now?
Erika and I talk every morning at about 7 AM on the dot — that's when we really have our creative calls. As of right now everyone should stay tuned for her new video that's coming out in about a month [for] "How Many." And it is so over-the-top fabulous — again, in her words. And I think that her music fans and the Bravo fans are gonna really have a good time watching this video.
What can we expect from the video?
It's inspired by the '90s, when there were big-budget music videos. When people shot really glam, glossy in-your-face, wow-wow-wow music videos. And that's kind of what we shot. It's very Hype Williams-inspired — another director that I look up to. It kind of has a rap video vibe. It's super sexy and glamorous. There's always one extra little surprise that I think we should wait and see until the premiere.
Erika's known for some of her signature dance moves. Talk a little bit about how you guys crafted these moves.
Creating "pat the puss" and "drop it down low on the d***" was years and years and years of rehearsal and vibing with each other and having fun. And we just created this very specific dance style that is the "pretty mess" vibe. It's the signature for Erika Jayne. It's super sexy, it's confident and I think that's the ultimate message: You should live your life to the fullest and be strong, sexy, confident, and work it.
You've worked with so many different kinds of artists. Where does Erika fit in with the Pussycat Dolls and the P!nks of the world?
Well Erika is a performance artist, as were the Pussycat Dolls. It was a performance-based music group and she is a performance-based music artist. I see her in that genre. She is going to be taking over stages for years to come. She's been doing it and killing it. She has eight No. 1s. She's performed all around the world. Being friends with Yolanda Foster, and meeting this group of women, and doing this situation — this platform is really great for her. And the world is really kind of [noticing] now, "Wow, this girl is really f***ing cool." So I think that I see her blossoming and evolving. I don't think there's an end in sight. I think this is just the beginning of the Pretty Mess takeover.
Below, Erika takes you inside her ultra-glam closet (in case you're looking for a little more Pretty Mess inspo).