While promoting her new movie “Fuhgeddabout Christmas,” the 35-year-old “Wild ‘N Out” star gushed about the 42-year-old comedian and how he’s always showed up and showed out for her despite juggling his brood of soon-to-be 12 children and busy career.
Her praises for Cannon didn’t stop there, Valentine also reflected on his impact on her life and expressed her “eternal gratitude” and labeled him as not only her mentor but also claimed he was her “family for life.”
Justina makes her directorial debut with holiday-themed film “Fuhgeddabout Christmas” which takes fans on a wild ride as she relearns the true meaning of Christmas and putting her family first.
“Fuhgeddabout Christmas” tells the story of Valentine’s hectic work schedule filled with press interviews and filming engagements. When she discovers her big Italian family is fed up with her workaholic lifestyle, she enlists the help of her celebrity friends and magical elves to deliver a Christmas no one will soon forget.
“Fuhgeddabout Christmas” premieres on December 21 at 8 p.m. on VH1.
Check out the full Q&A with the freestyling queen, below:
Do you and your family have any traditions you like to do every year?
Yes, so one of the main central storylines in the movie is the “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” which all Italians know. That’s what we do on Christmas Eve, and it’s something I did my entire life and that is one of the themes in the movie is that I am hosting the big traditional Seven fish Italian feast. And you know, I’ve been so “work mode, work mode, grind, grind grind” that I have nothing prepared. I wake up the day before and house is in shambles. Everything is a mess, and it’s a mad dash to try to get everything ready in time for the network to come film. And while I’m out there in this mad dash trying to get it all together … I bump into all my celebrity friends like DC Young Fly, Teresa Giudice, Renee Graziano… Darren Brand, Antonio Skits. Vinny G. Vinnie Pastore, the list goes on and on and on. People [will] have to tune in to see if I ever got together or if I fell flat on my face.
In “Fuhgeddabout Christmas” you impressively wrote, directed and starred in the movie. What was the most challenging part of putting on so many hats?
Girl, everything was difficult about that. I was getting no sleep. I think some days, I was just like, floating through…you know the little elf character I played? I think some days I was me in real life, my feet weren’t even touching the ground. I mean… core central crew, we were like, every hat. I was booking flights for my celebrity friends, I was booking hotels, Ubers, you name it, I was doing it. You know, it was definitely some nights when we were shooting where I was getting like 45 minutes to an hour of sleep [then] waking up [for] hair and makeup.
You know, we were all wearing many, many hats and it was a lot of sleepless nights. And I would say that was one of the hardest parts about it. Getting up every day, [and] giving it 100% [with] your tank is on empty, not getting good sleep. But it was just like this high of us [thinking] “we’re really doing this.”
No one disappointed me, every single celebrity friend that I asked to come through, came through for me, believed in me — believed in the vision. It was really just a project that we were also passionate about, so that’s what … got me through the long days and the sleepless nights. That’s what I would say was one of the biggest challenges just not really being able to get good sleep. But we did it. It was a huge accomplishment, and I’m so excited for the world to just see this. I feel like it’s a different side of me. I’m peeling back a layer that people may not have seen from me before. I do a skit sometimes on my Instagram where I play different characters, but in this movie, I’m playing like six different characters. So what people know me for: rapping and freestyling –calling me the “wild-style queen” this and that — this is going to show you a different side. And I’m very excited to see where that takes me and my acting career.
You mentioned the different characters you play in the movie, what was it like to take on so many different personas? Which was your favorite?
Playing the characters was amazing because I am — for real — really wacky and goofy. And again, I think that’s a side that people see a little of from me, but not as much as like other stuff that’s at the forefront of what I’m known for. So to be able to bring it to the big screen and play these characters in the movie was just an amazing experience. My number one favorite character is Nono. To me, he’s the star of the show. It’s not even close. That’s including me! I just think he upstages everyone, so he’s definitely my favorite. Really the way I look at it, it’s Nono [who’s] starring — Nono featuring [Justina Valentine.] So Nono is my absolute favorite, and I’m really, really excited and anxious for the world to meet Nono he’s so lovable.
You were also joined by so many of your “Wild N’ Out” castmates, what was it like having them on set?
I mean, honestly, my “Wild N’ Out” castmates are some of the funniest and most talented people in the entire world. So, to have them on set and just have that energy and that camaraderie that we all have was an incredible experience. Some of the best and funniest moments in the movie are improved […].
So I think a lot of magic was made because of the castmates and how gifted they are just with comedic timing and improv. Even outside of the freestyling and the rap … some of the best and funniest moments were [created] in the moment [and] none of us planned for. Like the relationship, for instance, with Nono and the butler, that wasn’t planned, that was just something we started doing. Everyone on set was laughing so we kept running with it. […]
I really feel like it’s something that’s never been done before between like all the rapping throughout [the film] and all of the “Wild ‘N Out characters. [There’s] a little bit of “Jersey Shore,” a little bit “Housewives,” a little bit of “Mob Wives,” and just bringing all those people together and doing Christmas, in this “Wild ‘N Out” of Italian crazy way, I think is something that people will really gravitate towards.
It sounds like all of your castmates have a lot of love for you and showed up in a big way. You mentioned that you played a hand in booking flights and calling Ubers, what were some of the lengths you had to go through bringing celebrities like Teresa Giudice and Fetty Wap on board?
Everyone was down to do it, which I love and appreciate them so much for because — let’s be honest — all these people in the movie, they are super celebrities, booked and busy. The hardest part was getting everyone’s schedule to work. That was like a Rubik’s Cube, trying to figure out who could do what day. We started the shoot I think like a day or two before we were supposed to because I caught Vinny [Guadagnino] a day before he was leaving for his Chippendales residency. I was like, “Vinny before you get naked and make these girls go crazy, I need you to do this scene really quick.” And he was like, “I got you.”
So the hardest part was just finding a way to make everyone’s schedule work. Like you mentioned, Teresa, I love her. She’s amazing. Like she came filmed and then I think left … right to film [Real Housewives of New Jersey.] So … everyone really found time to make it work, and I just appreciate that so much. Because everyone who was in the movie, they are busy people that are [working 24/7], booked, have gigs [and] filming. So the way that we were able to make that schedule work was a godsend because it was not easy.
Your friend Nick Cannon made an quick cameo towards the end of the movie! He’s recently welcomed his 11th child and has a 12th on the way, how do you feel about the news?
Like I always say about Nick: He is the hardest working man on the planet and so is his penis! They never rest, they do not rest! They do not take a break. They do not vacation. But you said it: Nick has so many jobs, so many kids, so many television shows, so many businesses and so many projects he’s always working on. The fact that he showed up and showed out for me… I’m already eternally grateful to Nick. He changed my life — he literally changed my life, put me on, gave me a platform. So that’s my big bro, my mentor, my boss — he’s family for life. But the fact that he came and made time for this movie amongst, like you said, all his kids, all his jobs, all his hosting [engagements] I mean, there was one point I think he was hosting like, four different TV shows a day.
So the fact that he came out for me was just a testament to his character and just how dope he is and how he really makes time for everyone that he believes in, so I can’t say a bad thing about Nick — I never will. I love him and him coming through for the movie was everything because Nick is an iconic actor. I mean, he’s a mogul. He’s a legend. So for him to come out for my very first movie, and show me that support. You know, I’ll appreciate that forever.
Yeah, you can really see throughout your interactions on “Wild ‘N Out” and your career that you guys have a very close bond.
Yes, that’s my guy forever. He’s always supported me, always believed in me and we got a lot of stuff going down for the new year. I got a brand new single [which] he executive produced that super fire. [It’s] coming out in the new year called “Mouth Go Crazy.” Also something I should mention, speaking of music, I also did the soundtrack for the movie. So all the original music in the movie is by me, other than of course, “Trap Queen” by my brother Fetty Wap. Other than “Trap Queen,” all the original music is by me, and the soundtrack drops the same day that the movie premieres December 21. Couple of the songs of the album are already out, like “Fuhgeddabout Christmas,” “Only on Christmas” and “Never on Christmas,” and the rest of the soundtrack drops the same day as the premiere.