Rocsi Diaz may have moved on to new opportunities after spending six years as host of BET's 106 & Park, but our girl will never forget her roots. The correspondent, actress and spokeswoman has a new campaign with PETA, an endorsement deal with Marciano and she co-stars in the thriller Last Letter with Sharon Leal and Omari Hardwick. The busy lady made time to chat about her exciting life, which includes traveling the world with celebrities and being on a first name basis with the Obamas. Plus, what she misses most about her BET family.
Catch us up on your life after 106 & Park. How has it been?
Busy! I have not been able to stop. I’ve traveled the world, I can’t even count how many countries I have been to this year. The opportunity that I’ve had, being on stage with the Jackson 5 and interviewing the cast of Transformers in Hong Kong…it’s just been amazing. If it wasn’t for 106 I wouldn’t have been able to have this experience.
What do you miss the most about 106?
The audience. I miss the kids. I miss that live 106 audience. It’s just the vibe and being there — I miss my old producers and my crew there. Every time I go to New York, I try to stop by and say hi to them.
You’ve got a new film out called Last Letter. You star opposite a lot of heavy hitters, including Omari Hardwick and Lynn Whitfield. Any nerves?
[Lynn Whitfield] is awesome! She was like mama on set. She had so many encouraging words, like, 'Keep doing it, you have something Rocsi and don’t shelter this talent.' She was really amazing on set.
You had a pretty intense make-out scene with Omari Hardwick. How was that to shoot?
There was nervousness…I didn’t know how to approach it. Omari talked me through it. It was totally professional and he really helped me through that. It’s not a love scene the way you think, it is sinister and dark. The movie is really sinister, twisted, dark secrets that the main character is hiding and we’re helping her hide — but her mentality is kind of warped.
The story is about a woman whose nightmares literally turned her life into a nightmare. So professionally or personally, what is your worst nightmare?
A wardrobe malfunction is always my worst nightmare! I’m always worried about that, I think. That, and falling down.
You’ve probably interviewed thousands of stars in your career. Is there somebody you were particularly nervous to talk to?
I was always nervous when it came to going to the White House and anything to do with First Lady Michelle Obama or President Barack Obama. Even as welcoming as they are — every time they see me, they say "Hey Rocsi, what’s going on!" I mean, it’s the Obamas!
I can’t imagine what it feels like to have the Obamas knowing you by first name.
It’s all because of 106 & Park! I’ll never forget the first time I met the first lady. She walked up to me and gave me a big hug. She said, "I know who you are, I have to tell Sasha and Malia to turn off 106 & Park and do their homework every day!" I was floored. It was a cool moment.
What is your strategy to get celebrities to open up to you?
I always try to respect people’s space. At the end of the day, we all have jobs to do. But, respect a publicist who says no personal questions, or an artist that doesn’t want to talk about a situation. You don’t want to burn that bridge.
Can you recall any situation that you had to bring up something that you felt really uncomfortable with?
Yeah, recently, with Paul Walker’s death. I knew Paul from doing the movie junkets and hanging out in London. I saw Michelle [Rodriguez] after Paul’s death and was going up to talk to her, just to give her a hug and be there for her because she is my friend. But she looked at me liked I was press. She thought I wanted to talk to her about Paul Walker, but I just wanted to give her a hug. It's moments like that you have to remember your job, and as a friend, I just backed away.
You recently did a PETA campaign in which you had to wear a Brussels sprouts bikini. We know you can live without meat, but what is one indulgence that you can’t live without?
Shopping. I am a shoe girl! The last pair I bought was the Chanel chain obsession boot that I posted on Twitter. I got a call that the shoe was in stock in my size, literally, the day before my birthday. I was like it was meant to be. It’s my birthday shoe!
Last Letter is currently on DVD and digital download.
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(Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for BAFTA LA)