[FEATURES][REALITY] Cyrene Tankard: In a World of Her Own

Gracing the cover of this new issue of UG Digital Mag is none other the beautiful and talented reality star, Cyrene Tankard. Having the opportunity of speaking with Cyrene is definitely a blessing for us, and has resulted in a great story. 

Through this piece, the world will gain a first-hand glimpse at her newfound independence. Watching the first two seasons of the hit BravoTV reality show, Thicker Than Water, we watch Cyrene maneuver through her final years of high school, and we've seen her mature into a responsible adult. 

Now, with the airing of Season 3, she's all grown up and on her own, attending Howard University. She talks openly with us about that transition into adulthood, how the show and her newfound celebrity status has affected her, the many things she has going on, and the very thing that makes her the most proud in her life right now. Given the overall focus of positivity here at UG Digital, Cyrene is perfect for this issue, and we're excited to present this exclusive to you!


UG Digital Mag: Thank you so much for this opportunity. It’s awesome to be able to connect, and get things out there in terms of what you have going on. 


Cyrene Tankard: Thank you. I appreciate it. 


UG Digital Mag: There’s so many people who can appreciate how you were portrayed with the show. Moreso, the relationships you have with family, and the that it’s not about money, and riches, but more about the love, and the lengths you all go through to show your love for each other. How important was it for you to be a part of this show and the movement that it represents?


Cyrene Tankard: The importance has grown for me. I was in high school when season one started, and I just wanted to get through high school. Once season two came along, and then having just wrapped up season three, I feel like I have a really amazing opportunity to influence young girls and guys, and older women and men, about the importance of family, and the roles they play within their own families. 


UG Digital Mag: There was so much shown, and it all really revolved around family. I know that’s what people really appreciate about the show. 


Cyrene Tankard: One thing that gets me excited and lets me know I’m on the right path is when people of all races and backgrounds come and say this helped me, or that changed my life, or I can really rate to this. I was never going to talk to this family member again, but because you addressed this, it gives me a reason and a positive example. That’s what warms my heart. 


UG Digital Mag: So talk about the new season of Thicker Than Water!


Cyrene Tankard: There’s a lot to look forward to. We have a new addition to the Tankard family. We get to look at my life at Howard University, and my roll as I grow into a young woman, and how I’m maturing. You'll see how Marcus and Tish are with living in the house with their sub-family. You have Brooklyn with her newfound music career, and Britney is still figuring life out. There’s many different dynamics and angles, and there will be no moments of boredom. I can promise you that. 


UG Digital Mag: Reality television has truly taken over, and obviously there’s many options, but more people are looking for that positivity that your family offers. I believe you all brought something to the table that isn’t found in many places. 


Cyrene Tankard: That’s one of the things we take pride in, and we really pray about it as a family. Usually before and after our work days we pray as a family, and make sure everyone is level-headed and good. We want to continue to put that out there, and encourage positivity and love through whatever challenges that come up. 


UG Digital Mag: Bringing the focus back to you, how have you been able to maintain and balance the newfound celebrity that has come as a result of the show, and now being out of the house and on your own?


Cyrene Tankard: Funny thing about it is that it's just now hitting me, and it continues daily. It’s just a change of mentality. I feel like that change of mentality came with maturity, and it came with the exposure that the television show has given me. Before, I may not have viewed things a certain way, or may not have viewed it as an opportunity. Now I feel like I have to seize every moment, or keep moving, progressing, and getting better. I take this whole opportunity as a way to get better and grow. It’s a platform. It’s like having a super-power, and it can be used for good or evil. I think this is God’s gift to me, and I can give it back to the world as I see it, and can matriculate and grow from “celebrity”, or influence. I have a responsibility to positively influence others. I look at it like I have their lives in my hands, and this is an important and critical time for me to hone in, and get right emotionally so that anything I give off can help them. I don’t want to demean others and influence anyone in a negative way. 


UG Digital Mag: In what ways have you been able to use your celebrity to give back to other girls coming up, or people in general?


Cyrene Tankard: It takes my by surprise every time I go out, or I may be speaking on a panel or at an event. People may come up to me, or even on social media, they’ll say I’ve influenced them, or they look up to me. I’m able to speak life into their lives, speak positive things to them and let them know; I’m not the only one who can be a go-getter and make a difference. For me, it’s about spreading the love, and lifting others. That’s what matters most to me. I want people to know that because many times, people feel out of touch with celebrities. I’m literally a normal person who happens to be in television, that’s it (laughing). That’s really it. I tell people I love them the same way they love me. They give me motivation the same way I give them motivation. They are the reason I am what I am. 


UG Digital Mag: A lot of celebrities lose that sense of reality though. It’s cool to speak to someone like yourself. Anytime I’ve seen you involved with things, you seem to have that sense of reality. 


Cyrene Tankard: I’ve even had people on campus come up for pictures, or ask for advice. This is really me. I love you just as much as you love me. As far as others who lose touch, or looking at those celebrities I’ve formed a relationship with, my favorite would have to be Big Sean. He was super nice, laid back, and super chill. He made me feel super included, and it was all love. When I reach that level, that’s what I want to be. I want to leave people with a feeling. I would love to give money, but it’s nothing better than leaving people with that feeling, or an experience. They’ll remember that for a long time. 


UG Digital Mag: What other goals and aspirations do you have outside of television?


Cyrene Tankard: I have a lot, and am in the process of doing a few things now. I’ve been dabbling in the modeling scene. I’m starting a blog soon, and we have some things going on with beauty and health. I actually have Ulcerative Colitis, so I’m really big about the whole health initiative and taking care of your body. We also have some things with fashion…


UG Digital Mag: I’m glad you mention fashion because I know you recently did some things with Women in Fashion...


Cyrene Tankard: Yea, I went out to New York and did a red carpet and soiree for Women in Fashion & Film. There were awesome people there. There were actresses, designers, and models. It was a great networking opportunity, and a great place to be around great people. No one was too good to talk to anyone. The industry is so small, and you start seeing the same faces everywhere you go. I think it’s another opportunity to strengthen relationships. My thing is how can we all win? What can I do for you? What connections do I have that you need, or vice versa? How are you innovative in a way that I’m not? I just look forward to learning from people, and it doesn’t matter where they are in life. I feel like you can learn something from everyone. 


UG Digital Mag: What can we look out for in the near future aside from the show?


Cyrene Tankard: Definitely my blog, and I’ll make a lot of announcements via Instagram. I don’t want to give away too much right now, but I will be announcing things there. Look forward to a lot. 


UG Digital Mag: As I said, I think it’s great what you’re doing, and people are looking forward to seeing what you have going on. Obviously, you were one of the youngest in the family, and you were like the baby. Now that you’ve come into your own, it’s good to see you’re going to school. I’m so huge on school, so I give kudos for that alone. A lot of people your age come into this type of success, and they opt not to go because they feel like they’ve made it. 


Cyrene Tankard: Let me not lie to you. My parents were definitely big influences when it comes to going to school. There was definitely a time when I was like maybe not, but now I’m know I have to stay on track.


UG Digital Mag: But in the end, you still could have chosen not to go. There was clearly as piece of you that wanted to go. 


Cyrene Tankard: Definitely! The college experience has been awesome for me. I’ve learned so much. I’ve actually learned how to learn (laughing). Some people just don’t know how, but you have to know how to educate yourself. I’ve become a really big reader; my intellect and vocabulary has grown. That’s something I would push kids to do. That’s an initiative I want to get on as well. You have to find something you connect with and read about it. It improves your mind, vocabulary, and it gives you more to talk about. It makes you a person of variety. 


UG Digital Mag: That’s so true, and obviously, you want a degree, but it’s so much bigger than a degree. It’s about learning how to network, and building relationships. People aspire to get to the level you’re at, but things may bot jump off as quickly. They need to be in a position where they can meet others and network and build relationships, and the reality is college gives you that. You meet so many different types of people. 


Cyrene Tankard: Right, so that has been my take away. Learning how to deal with people from different backgrounds, with different personalities, and if different origins. That’s beautiful to me. 


UG Digital Mag: What are you most proud of about your path, or where you are now, versus where you started?


Cyrene Tankard: My confidence has grown tremendously. My mentality has grown and matured like I never would have expected, especially at this age. Between having more confidence, and the experiences I’ve had, and landing my job at the production company that produces our show, that has been a dope experience. Learning how to connect with people and network, I’m proud of myself for that. I can be closed off at times. Opening up has been big for me. That’s not a tangible trophy, but it has gotten me a lot further in life. 


UG Digital Mag: In reality that is huge. I was the same way, and at times can still be that way, so I can relate. Even as much as I run my mouth now, there’s still times where I don’t want to be bothered with certain things. So I get it. 


Cyrene Tankard: Having other people see my progression, I love it. That, to me, is so big, and it makes me happy. 


UG Digital Mag: As I said, I see the growth, and there’s so many who are proud of your direction. There’s so much you’ve been able to do, and people you’ve been able to help. What final comments do you have?


Cyrene Tankard: I just want to encourage everyone to keep pushing. These are trying times, and with so many things going on, I just want to encourage everyone. Maximize on the good things happening. Instead of asking people what’s wrong, as what’s right. It’s so easy to get down and stay down, so let’s change the motion. Let’s change society, and it starts with just one of us talking about it. Word of mouth is powerful, and I believe in the power of the mouth. I say what’s right today. Life can be great. Customize your experience. 

Features, RealityJames Johnson