‘Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s’ Ariane Davis: Uncut

Written by Stereo Williams

Images by DeWayne Rogers

Makeup by Tierra Burrell

Ariane Davis may not have the notorious reputation of some other “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” cast members, but the saucy singer and bartender has just as strong a personality. She’s allowed her time in the reality TV spotlight to be a steppingstone to other things, but she’s not addicted to the fame and notoriety that come with appearing weekly on “bad girl TV.” And she’s very clear-eyed about the life cycle of reality stardom. Davis admits that she sees a decline in the reality show fan base — despite the fact that the criticism and scrutiny remain high.

“I think that it has a lot to do with people’s storylines and it not seeming as real as it was before. Things just don’t seem authentic to people anymore. And I can see why people would feel that way,” Davis says. “I absolutely feel like oversaturation [also] has a lot to do with why people are losing attention. Nobody wants to continuously see the same thing. It’s cool at first, but you get tired and you don’t give people anything to look forward to.

“This is why I am taking my time with really letting people get to know who Ariane is. I’m not pushing myself on people or forcing anything on people,” she continues. “Everything that I’m doing and how I’m marking my territory in this reality world, I’m doing it strategically and how I wanna do it. That’s what people really love about me. There’s still a mysteriousness to me and a lot of people don’t have that mystery anymore.”

One “LAHHATL” cast mate who’s displayed a significant amount of her “mystery” is Ariane’s best friend, Mimi Faust. Faust and her boyfriend, Nikko Smith, appeared in a highly publicized sex tape that was released online last month. While Davis is no less supportive of her old friend, she’s made it clear that she was not pleased with the idea of Faust appearing in an explicit video.

“No judgment toward my friend, everybody knows I really don’t care for Nikko [but] I’ve accepted her happiness. She says she’s happy,” she says. “As far as the tape goes, I still have my reservations about it. But it’s here now. It’s out there. She has to live with it. I support her as a friend. I don’t condone what happened. I don’t know if it was a mistake or if it was purposely done. My thoughts stay the same. I feel like it was definitely given to Vivid and I’m sticking to that. That’s just how I feel. But as far as Mimi goes, I feel like we all make lousy decisions sometimes and I feel like this is her one. One huge one. I hope she can make the best out of a not-so-positive situation, so to speak. I hope she can come out on top of this.”

The glare of reality TV cameras can change people. And stardom is addictive. But Davis believes that she and Mimi have maintained their strong bond because their sisterhood goes back to long before there was a “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta.” And she says that’s why her support for her friend never wavers.

“My relationship with Mimi is not new and it’s been over 10 years that we’ve been friends,” says Davis. “I wholeheartedly know her outside of TV and outside of the aggression that everybody else sees. I know Oluremi Faust. And she’s really like my sister. I don’t think a situation like this or anything else can change how I feel about her. Of course, I have some say in how I feel about something. That doesn’t mean I’m going to turn my back on her. Never that. It can be extremely hard to maintain friendships and relationships if you don’t have that control and balance. That’s something I try to keep: control, balance, patience and no judgment. I think that helps me a lot.”

In the previous season of “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta,” Davis publicly acknowledged her bisexuality. Since then, she’s reportedly been involved with DJ Toni K, a famed deejay out of New York City. But despite the obvious attention from fans and media, Davis says she and Toni’s relationship won’t become fodder for ratings.

“My personal relationship won’t be happening on ‘Love & Hip Hop,’ ” she declares. “My personal drama with my significant other, if I have any, is mine. It’s not for anybody to see. If I have any personal drama, that’s my s—. It’s not to be shared with the world like that. I maintain my healthy relationships with privacy, control patience, balance and love.”

Davis is also quick to point out that her bisexuality may have been news to viewers, but everyone around her has always known about her sexuality.

“Everything I do, I do in my time,” she says. “Of course, Mimi knew. And a lot of people in the community knew. But nobody ever mentioned it because I guess I have a respectable reputation and people really admire me for who I am. It was just my choice to expose my sexuality because I wanted to. I was meeting people and, of course, it was definitely going to come out. I just chose to do it on my time. That’s all.”

“I get all the love in the world,” she says in regards to the public reaction. “I don’t get a lot of negative feedback at all. … People admire me even more now. Because I am so open with who I am. I don’t hide behind anything and I’m not running from myself or trying to please this person. I’m a real person. I’m not a robot. I live my life for me and not for what others think. But it feels really good to know that people recognize real people and embrace it. Girls look up to me — even if they’re not in the LGBT community. They still admire who I am. I’m still a lady and I carry myself like a lady. My sexuality doesn’t define me. I still am Ariane — I just have a girlfriend.”

With so many LGBT people making headlines over the past year — from recent St. Louis Rams draftee Michael Sam to “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts — some have been critical of what they feel is a “fad” or “trend” toward homosexuality in general. And bisexuality is often dismissed as a “phase.”

“I can see why people would say that. I see it in the media and in our world and it can come across that people are just doing it because everybody’s doing it. I can see both sides. At the same time, I think it’s kind of ignorant. But I think a lot of people are possibly doing it because they see it happening. … It’s weird — I have mixed feelings about that,” says Davis.

“The homophobia is real,” Davis is quick to add. “When I meet people who seem to be homophobic, they’re usually the ones who are into same sex, undercover.”

Davis has made a name for herself as a popular bartender, on reality television, and as she pursues her singing career. With so much scrutiny on her, her lifestyle and her friendships, she would be forgiven for being a bit bitter. But she’s not jaded at all — and there is little-to-no cynicism in her perspective regarding her time in the spotlight.

“No regrets. I don’t have any regrets when it comes to looking back on ‘Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta,’” says Davis. “I think about my moves before I make them. There are little moments where I say ‘I should’ve done something differently.’ But those are just my little life moments. But no regrets at all. Not one.”