She’s a doll ready to dominate. She sings, she dances, she’s a mom, she’s a friend and she’s also one of the most multifaceted talents of the POP world. We had the honor to chat with Carmit Bachar, the ultimate Pussycat Doll. You’re welcome.
She’s danced with the strongest names in the music industry – such as Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani and Ricky Martin -, before becoming part of the worldwide sensation that was (and still is) The Pussycat Dolls.
A bit away from the spotlight, Carmit Bachar is focusing on reinventing herself as an artist and on raising her baby girl – daughter she loves to talk about. Bachar discussed artistry, career, PCD (the infamous arguments between the group members), philanthropy and, of course, she gives us a few tips on how to find your inner doll. Loosen up!
What have you been up to lately?
Lately, I’ve been working on my brand, Doll 2 Dame, which is about female empowerment. I’ve been doing a lot of vlogs and updates to that. I’m studying my hosting and I’ve got a couple of exciting things in the pipes, so, hopefully, I’ll be able to share those with you soon.
I’ve also been working with artist development and creative directing some artists, guiding them in this world we call the music industry, and that’s been really great for me, sort of a mentorship, so I’m enjoying that. I’ve been able to put my creativity and use all my experience and knowledge to help new artists navigate through this industry. And also, of course, the most important job of all is that I’ve been a mommy (laughs), and I’m really, really enjoying that, so…
About the Pussycat Dolls, how was the transition from burlesque dancers to pop sensations and how long did it take to get to the worldwide phenomenon that you girls were at some point?
Well, I started at the Pussycat Dolls as a burlesque – when we were a burlesque group performing around town in Los Angeles, before we found our home at The Viper Room, which is on the Sunset Strip -, that was in 1995. We did it for fun; we did it with our friends. We were friends that just wanted to have a good time and we were inspired by Bob Fosse and old movies, like Sweet Charity; just sort of a more stylized way of performance – specially, of course, the costumes – which were super fun! So we got to make our own costumes and create our own choreography, and it started out as something for fun, but we always had guest performers in the show.
Celebrities came in and, you know, for a night, and did something fun with us. One time, I actually did Gwen Stefani’s – with No Doubt at the time – Bathwater’s video; the first one she had dancers in. When I met her, instantly we just became friends. We just kind of identified with each other, just clicked, and I always told her about The Pussycat Dolls. I told her “We’d love to have you as a guest one day!” and, finally, one day she came. She loved it! She was like: “I’m jealous, I wanna be in the show!”.
So, when she came to do the show, it was sort of the quintessential moment. That was when the CEO of Interscope Records, where she was signed to, saw us as the group and thought how he could create it into a real pop group, you know, a musical pop group, a recording group. So that was sort of the transition, I think. I say we owe it all to Gwen. She was our link, our connection into that world. How long did it take? I mean, the transformation kind of was seamless. A lot of people thought that we came out of nowhere, like that we just were overnight sensation, and that’s far from the truth.
We were a burlesque group for 8 years prior to becoming the recording group Pussycat Dolls. But, I think, when we signed the record contract, it was probably about a year and a half before we came out with our record and kind of found our voice. From then on, we just took off like a rocket ship, so, you know, the overall transition into where we skyrocketed into that global phenomenon was definitely – I would say – 10 years.
Does every woman (or even some boys) have the inner doll? How to get in touch with it? How important it is to get in touch with it?
I do believe so! I do believe that and, I think, as a dancer, we’re just sort of more in touch with our bodies and in tune with moving our bodies. I always say that expression is such a gift, especially via dance.
Now our daughter is three and a half and I always take her to dance classes. She dances with me, every day we have a dance party and a singing party, and it’s just so beautiful to encourage that, because it just releases all your inhibitions and, I think, as we get older, we just build those walls and close ourselves in. So, I believe, especially for women, that we definitely have an inner doll.
How to get in touch with it? Dancing. For me is movement, dancing. You know when you go to a club and, sometimes, a glass of wine helps you inspire it? Hahaha! You just kind of loosen up – loosen up your buttons, right? It’s very important to get in touch with it. I think self-expression is a huge part of who we are and how we show up in this life, so part of our life goals is trying to find that.
Does artistry run in the family? When was the first time you got in touch with music? When did you decide you’d take the creative path?
Yes, it does! My father and my mother had a dance company that they toured all over the world. They were in movies and commercials together for seven years primer to me being born and seven years after. So I kinda – I laugh when I say it – grew up on tour, literally.
I always saw my parents onstage and that was awesome, so they were very, very supportive of me getting into the arts industry. Everything was based around that. Music was always part of my world and part of my life, I think. Music and dance go hand in hand. Music makes you move, or – at least – it should.
I started playing piano when I was 7 and I started playing viola in Jr. High School – I believe I was 12. I studied orchestra in high school. I was playing music through out of my whole childhood. Definitely singing… I went to coral festivals with some groups I was in, a performance group called Rock Theater, that I was doing productions like Annie since the age of 7, so I was definitely involved in all of these things.
As a mom, did your take on artistry change after some point?
Yes! Absolutely, it did. I think I’m still finding new ways to have my creative outlets. Do I miss performing? Yes. Do I miss making music the way I did? Yes, but when you’re in that lifestyle, you really don’t have a lot of time for yourself, so (for me), now that I have a child, she’s my number one priority. She’s so much fun! We have dance parties; we make music all the time, so, as far as my artistry, I think – you know – my desire to go out and tour has changed. I don’t wanna go far away from my family; I want to stay in town. So, I’m definitely rebranding myself to find things that I can stay in town and do. So, if I do music, it’s definitely not for the purpose of going out touring all over. I’m not opposed to doing things here and there, but the life of touring – especially when we were in the Pussycat Dolls – was very, very strenuous and exhausting. I would never wanna have a child and do that at the same time, hahaha!
In your opinion, what’s the influence reality TV has on pop culture? How does it shape the entertainment world?
It’s a great question! I think TV has a lot of influence on pop culture recently, in a way that most of the people that are sort at the top of the music – and now have some sort of TV presence, where they come from the Disney world or something – have a connection with TV now. Reality TV, on the other hand, is a different thing. I think reality TV has some interesting people that are maybe a little more dramatic – haha -, you know, drama driven, than real reality. So, it has definitely shaped the entertainment world, because a lot of people are more consumed with what people are doing, their relationships, how they dress, how they look, they have no makeup, they’re fat, they’re skinny… To me, it’s such a negative connotation, because it’s not what that person is. What they wear, who they date is not who that person is and what their gift is. I’ve been sort of a little put off by the reality TV effect lately, so that’s just my personal opinion on it, of course.
Is there any artist you’d love to collaborate with? Which one?
Yes, absolutely! Gwen Stefani. She’s been a friend, I respect her immensely. She has created a lane for herself that is unlike any other. She has had a huge career with her band, for 15 years they have hit records, and then she went solo and then she became a mother, she had a clothing line, her Harajuku mini clothing line for kids, which is such a hit – my daughter wears all Harajuku mini, hahaha! -, and then, she has L.A.M.B with her beautiful couture seasonal clothes, handbags, shoes… I mean, she is on the top of her game. To me, she’s an icon, and I’m so fortunate and lucky to call her a friend, because she’s beautiful, she’s humble, she’s generous and I really look up to her, so I’d always love to collaborate. The reason we connected and clicked in the first place is because we’re kinda similar with our styles, sort of a mixture of a lot of styles, but she’s from Orange County and I’m from L.A, so it’s kind of that vibe, haha!
Tell us about your work as a Smile Ambassador for Operation Smile: how and why did you get involved with this cause? What exactly do you guys do?
Well, yes, I’m a Smile Ambassador for Operation Smile and that’s because I, myself, was born with a birth defect called cleft lip and cleft palate, so that’s how I connected with them. I always wanted to do something and when, I was younger, I spoke at conferences to empower young girls that were going through it, and it was a part of my life that I felt like I needed to give back to, especially once I got some new notoriety with the Pussycat Dolls. I was able to have a voice and stand for something that meant something to me, which was important to me, like bringing awareness for cleft lip and cleft palate. So, then I started my project, the project Smile With Me, which basically inspires self-esteem for kids born with cleft lip and cleft palate through the arts, dance and anything creative. I would basically embellish on my ambassadorship and take my project Smile With Me to a mission. The last mission we went to was in Bolivia, and it was a huge success, you know, the reward was much more than I could have ever imagined. So, yeah! It’s definitely a cause very near and dear to my heart.
As a powerful woman and as a public person who has an active voice in the society, how important it is for women to stick together and support each other? Why don’t we all do it already, in your opinion?
That is an extremely wonderful question (the editor-in-chief says “thank you”)! Why don’t we do it all? Hahaha! As much as we do, I think there are definitely women that are raising their voice and finding their power and, for a long time, you know, women have felt suppressed and it’s time for us to step into our power. And, as a matter of fact, I’ve created something called “#PUSSYPOWER” and its meaning is because I was a Pussycat Doll, that’s the reason I called it “pussy power”. It’s not in a negative connotation or anything feminist, but – in order to raise awareness and create this network of women to inspire female empowerment and to have a voice – it’s very important for us to stick together and support each other, just like Martin Luther King said, “[…]the appalling silence and indifference of the good people is just as bad as the negative”, so I feel like in this day and age we have so much to say, we have so much depth, gravity, substance and women are capable of taking on anything and everything, so, yeah, I’m all about that right now and that’s why I started my video blog called “#PUSSYPOWER”, which you can check out on my YouTube site – which is Doll 2 Dame.
We asked our fans on Facebook to send us some questions, so we could pick a couple of them to ask you. They want to know:
Do you still intend to release your solo album? When?
You know, I have never done a full album. I’ve done a lot of demos and, I think, at the end of the day, making music and the process of it is part of the journey, not just to release something. And now, I’ve also gone through such a transformation! Now I’m a mother, I’m in a different place and I feel like I have so many different things to say! Recently, I went back in the studio, I did a song and it came out completely different from what I expected – and I absolutely loved it! Now I’m getting the bug back to get in the studio and make another album. I might also get together with my partner, Sammy Jay – for Lady Station, and release a couple of EPs of the stuff we did almost – Jesus! – 4 years ago or so, and kind of revisit those. A lot of artists do music that never sees the light of day, and I know fans wanna hear it, but – sometimes – we get very selective or labels get selective about what they put out, but, nowadays, everything is digital with social media and people just wanna hear what you’re up to, what you’re doing, so, I’m interested on releasing a solo album, but “when” is the question though, haha! I’ve got a lot of things on my plate, but I promise that I will – and I’m excited to!
Was there any sort of fight between you and one of the girls from the Pussycat Dolls?
Okay. Every single one of us, at one point or another, were in a fight with each other, let’s just put it like that. I mean, being in a group is just like being in a relationship. It’s like a brother, a sister or a best friend, and you are going to fight, it’s inevitable. Everybody has disagreements and fights, and – also – we were on tour 24/7, so, you know, occasionally we need a little break and there were no breaks when we were on tour, so we did the best we can and, you know, the reality of it is that we love each other. We still support each other and some of us are still in touch, so that’s the best part.
Is there a possibility for a reunion? Would you be a part of PCD again?
Absolutely. I think there’s always been a possibility for a reunion and I think it’s important for people to grow and, sort of, come back around refreshed and renewed, ready for anything. I’ve always been that person, so: would I be a part of PCD again? Absolutely!
Publication: March 2015
Role: Interviewer, Writer & Editor
Vehicle: The Edgytor Magazine