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PRETTY VEE | UNAPOLOGETIC, GOD-FEARING COMEDIAN, ACTOR & ENTREPRENEUR

July 3, 2020

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Pretty Vee is one of the funniest individuals to ever grace the internet. One scroll down her Instagram will leave you going down a rabbit hole of hilarious, comedic videos, including her outlandish skits as Peanut’s mama — directly inspired by her own upbringing with her mom yelling at her to do whatever needed to be done in the household.

Having recently hit the 4 million followers mark, real name Vena Excell is a comedian, host, actress, model, entertainer, and most importantly, a businesswoman. Beyond the endless creativity and humor from her original content, which includes a recurring role on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out, the Miami native recently launched her own electronic and beauty collection partnered with Citi Trends. Fans can purchase affordable wireless headphones, shower speakers, and earbuds from Pretty Vee Electronics, or makeup brushes, beauty blenders, and lashes from Pretty Vee Beauty.

When it comes to her biggest inspiration, it’s actor Jim Carrey that fueled her to become the success story she is today. Vee describes herself as “a very unapologetic, God-fearing woman. I love to entertain people.”

Flaunt caught up with Pretty Vee via Instagram Live, who was posted at Cheesecake Factory in Miami celebrating her grandma’s birthday.

How have you been holding up with everything in the world?

Even with the things with George Floyd and the pandemic, it’s still crazy. I’ve been donating, posting what needed to be posted. I’m blessed to use my voice and platform, my whole thing is praying. We’re holding up, we’re staying prayed up. We’re staying covered and safe, we’re good.

You’re absolutely hilarious, how did you get your start in all this?

My whole life, I’ve been a character. I knew I was destined for greatness from a young age. I was always animated, always watching Jim Carrey who’s my favorite comedian and doing things like him. He’s the best, I wanted to do what he did. How he get his start? In Living Color was his breakthrough. Being Canadian, his father being a boxer, living in his car, he has a whole story! For him to do it, I could do it. Let’s get it.

I started in radio first. I was on air, had my own radio show called Lounge 22. I graduated and started interning, getting experience in my field. I went to school in Raleigh, then I moved to Charlotte. Had a radio job there, had my own podcast show, I was hustling. I stopped all that because I was really trying to make money. I thought “I get it, I’m doing what I have to do, but money has to be made.” I got a job at the Marriott working at the hotel, then got fired.

Why’d you get fired?

I was always late. Every job, I’d never stick to it. Yes, I got fired. I was working at the label, then “I gotta do what I gotta do. I want more for myself, I want to be great. I have to find an outlet.” So I started to find myself in the street. Doing the funniest shit on Instagram, using my platform. Now, I turned funny into money. I wanted to not be behind the mic anymore, I wanted to be in front.

Pretty Vee FLAUNT

How does it feel to be in the front? You just celebrated 4 million followers, congrats! 

Thank you so much! It’s not easy, people think it’s easy. I’m so blessed to have my audience really see my story. Everything I do, I do it graciously. I do it unapologetically. I do it because this is my calling. I want people to know to not give up and be determined. If you want it, go out and get it. Don’t wait for others to give it to you. Yes, I’m not perfect. I’ve asked for help, people have shied me away. People wanted to help me, they wanted more from me. I had to really stick to me. I’m not doing another thing just to get in this industry, I’m going to wait. Patience is key.

Did you always want to be the comedian you are, or what’s your end goal?

My end goal is definitely to be an actress. Definitely movies is my thing, having my own show. Right beside Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Steve Martin, all those dope people. Educated blackness! Even Jim Carrey, he’s Canadian but we still like that. [chuckles] To have brothers put you on, the Wayans Brothers are everything to me. It feels amazing, it feels really good. I thank God.

This pandemic was really an eye-opener for a lot of people, for a lot of business owners, for a lot of comedians. You have to truly find work to do. Make sure when you get into this industry, you’ll see the blessings that come out and know you have to save your money. It’s so hard to figure things out, to know what I wanted and needed to do. I was financially good, but what about my friends who have a 9 to 5? Who don’t have the income we see everyday as influencers, where we can post something and get money. Even for myself, my job consists of outside. I need to be outside of my house. My job’s on the road, not in the crib. “Wow, all my show money is postponed? What?”

Your friendship with B. Simone, how do you get through a video without laughing?

Oh my gosh, when I tell you we have to do that video 10 million times. We have to be like “girl, let’s do it again. Seriously, let’s do it again!” We’re always cutting up.

How do you stay creative and come up with all these outlandish ideas that are so fucking funny?

I think about my upbringing from young, my mama used to yell at me. My parents are Jamaican so I’m over here like “Sheryl!!!” Everything I take from my upbringing, that’s why I try to stay creative. I take everything from what I’ve been through.

Being from Miami, what was the household like growing up?

It was good! I’m jealous I have to go back home! Growing up here, the diversity. The weather, the breeze, the people. There’s nothing like being from Miami. Being raw, a lot of raw girls come from Miami. You’ve got City Girls, Trick Daddy, Trina, all them.

You also released your own single “Booty Squeeze.”

Aye! Now move ya body, now bend ya knees, Booty Squeeze! That’s out on all major platforms. My producer Ron Browz, we’re in the studio coming up with some shit. He said “what the hell could we talk about?” I said “bro I don’t know, but I’ma just say move ya body. Bend ya knees, now Booty Squeeze!”

I want a preview of the “Booty Squeeze!” 

Oh dang, I can’t even show you because I’m Cheesecake Factory. They’ll be like “girl, what you doing?” It’s my grandma’s birthday so we out here celebrating her birthday.

How’s it feel to be a business owner?

We got the Citi Trends merch in the stores, all my products and electronics at your local Citi Trends. We have shopprettyvee.com that’s sold out right now, but we’re restocking. If you guys are rocking with me go to shopprettyvee.com and subscribe, get the updated email. Check that so you can see when your order’s coming.

Moving into this entrepreneur space, did you know what you were doing? How was that whole process?

Every day there’s something new with me that I’m learning. I was a brand ambassador for Citi Trends, supporting and promoting their brands. We’re like “you know what, let’s move it up a notch.” I need to be the face of something, let’s go. Me and my manager sat down and thought “what if you have your merchandise in the store?” We got the idea to go that route. Last year July, I dropped it and it’s been going crazy.

The shower speakers are so clutch.

It’s so dope, that’s my favorite!

Pretty Vee FLAUNT

Who are you bumping in the shower?

I’m an R&B girl, I’m a soulful soul. I love anything from the 90’s or early 2000’s. Today’s music are vibes too, but there’s nothing wrong with a little 90’s. I love SWV, I love 112, I love Brian McKnight. I love good vibes.

Highlight in shooting Wild ‘N Out with Nick Cannon?

It’s so entertaining. When I auditioned for Wild ‘N Out, I didn’t make it Season 9. Girl, my jokes did not hit. I’m over here like [spits gibberish]. They’re like “ahhh, not this time.” I was so discouraged, but I was excited I didn’t make it because I knew I needed to grow. I needed to grow within my crowd. When they called me back 2 seasons later, Season 11, they said “we see your growth. We see you do this, do that. We’d love to have you on the show.” I took my handbags and went off right to New York honey.

What’s your biggest highlight from Wild ‘N Out?

The people, that’s my memory. They’re lit, they’re organic. They’re like brothers to me, the girls are like sisters. We vibe. Justina, Jay Cole, B Simone, Teresa, we all vibe. Everybody’s in their own lane, that’s what I like about it. Everybody’s trying to get it. I love Nick Cannon. I thank Nick Cannon everyday for giving me that outlet, for giving that my platform to show my talent.

You graduated from an HBCU, how important is education to you?

I did! Saint Augustine’s University, Mass Communications and Broadcasting. Education is definitely key. A lot of people think school can’t take you where you want to go, but it’s good to have something. So you can be like “what? Boom, what’s good!” That was mandatory for me and my sister to go to college, it’s a must for us. Going to an HBCU, we learned from the real world. We learn, we get out. That was very helpful for my university to help me in those areas, really knowing the television screenings, the coloring, down to being on set. Different things I learned that I wouldn’t have learned somewhere else. Shout out to my HBCU, I learned so much even about my culture. Even about myself.

How did the concept of Peanut’s Momma come about?

Girl, my momma would yell at me. I’m really Peanuts, Peanuts’ Momma is my momma! I used to get yelled at about the littlest things.

What does momma think about your career now? 

She’s so happy. I put her on my Story, we were toasting for my magazine cover and for my grandmother’s birthday. The look on her face, she’s so proud of me. I’m so proud to be her daughter. I’m really working at my own pace and my own season, it feels amazing. It feels good. I can’t ask for another journey, I love my journey.

What’s your friendship with Desi Banks?

I love him. He’s so hilarious, he’s dope. He’s raw. He’s crazy.

Your skin is smooth and clear, is this Pretty Vee beauty?

It’s drinking so much water now. Also I got a filter on! [laughs]

Any goals for yourself at this point?

Pray, write, and create. I want to have my own sitcom show. Being in movies is my ultimate goal. Having longevity, that’s my goal. When I walk down Hollywood, I need to see a star with my name. I want to represent for the women that was told no.

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