What You Never Knew About Amber Rose

Say what you will about Amber Rose, you've got to respect her hustle and work ethic. As Cosmopolitan reported, growing up "very poor" in a single-parent household in South Philadelphia didn't stop her from rising past her humble background to become a white-hot celebrity. But, as Life & Style noted, Rose is also one of those celebrities who's mostly famous just for being famous: Many casual fans know her mostly as the glittery eye candy on the arms of superstars such as Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa.

But there's much more to Rose's life and accomplishments than just the men in her life. As Life & Style reported, she's also made a name for herself on a number of fronts in entertainment — modeling, acting, dancing, and singing. Her determination to succeed in showbiz does not end here, however. As her official biography on VH-1 reports, she's leveraged her fame to advocate for social causes, including HIV/AIDS awareness, LGBTQ+ rights, and women's empowerment. Add to this her forays in entrepreneurship and, as Billboard reported, publishing, and Amber Rose emerges as way more than just trophy eye candy.

Amber Rose started her showbiz career as a stripper

Amber Rose's early life in poverty forced her to make some tough choices. Desperately needing cash to keep herself and her mother afloat, she ventured into the world of stripping at age 15, according to Cosmopolitan. She thought it would be an easy way to make money — but it wasn't fun. "I was very, very young," she said. "I did it and I was like 'Oh hell no, I cannot do this.' I was a kid."

But, a few years later, she decided to give it another shot — and had an entirely different experience. "That was the best time of my life! Oh god, I had so much fun. I really did. All the girls were really cool. The guys weren't allowed to touch you," she recalled to Cosmopolitan. 

Fun as it was, it was still a job, and, on her radio show, "Loveline" (as reported by the Daily Mail), Rose offered some serious advice for a listener who was considering stripping: "Look at every single face in there as dollar signs. Go in there, make your money, go home, pay your bills." In short, keep the boundaries firm between your stripper identity and the rest of your life. Additionally, "Don't do anything after, before or during, sexually," she warned. 

While she's moved past stripping professionally, Rose found another way to profit from it: As Essence reported, she purchased the glitzy Ace of Diamonds strip club in Los Angeles in 2020.

She's serious about women's rights

As a woman who's made much of her living off her striking looks, Amber Rose is fine with being admired by men. What she's not fine with is the belief among some men that they have the right to a piece of her or any other woman — or the right to judge women for how they dress and express their sexuality. 

As she told Harper's Bazaar, her outrage at rape culture and slut-shaming inspired her to launch the annual Amber Rose SlutWalk in Los Angeles. The event is modeled after the original Toronto SlutWalk, which started after a police officer claimed that sexual assaults would stop if women started dressing more conservatively. "A lot of things pertaining to SlutWalk happened to me," Rose said to Harper's Bazaar. "I didn't know how to articulate what was going on and why I was feeling this way. It was because I was sexually assaulted, I had been raped, and I was slut-shamed. I was victim-blamed, as well." 

She, thus, became determined to empower other women to speak up for their rights. "We can band together as women and stand up for each other and realize that we do have a voice that can make a change," she said.

Amber Rose originally wanted to be a marine biologist

Amber Rose always had confidence and a sense of style, according to her biography on VH-1. But becoming an international style icon wasn't her first dream. Despite growing up poor and lacking many of the resources most kids take for granted, she had the moral support she needed to dream big. "We didn't have a lot of material things, but we definitely had love," she told Cosmopolitan.

Buoyed by her mother's support, Rose dreamed of becoming a marine biologist — but, as she told Cosmopolitan, "life took me in a different way." It was easy to see why. The mean streets of her South Philadelphia neighborhood weren't exactly teeming with role models to mentor a future shark researcher. ”Almost everyone I grew up with is either on drugs or dead," she told AZ Central. ”There was one girl who got out and became a school teacher but she moved away when she was really young."

Her local schools didn't offer much support, either. She told Us Weekly that the principal of her middle school was openly dismissive when Rose reported she'd been sexually assaulted by another student. "I grew up in a very poor neighborhood and went to a very poor school, and she made me feel like I didn't matter," she said. All of this pushed Rose to start her entertainment career young — and she hasn't stopped since.

She's a mom and proud of it

Amber Rose may be best known for her very public relationships with Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa. But the two men who will always hold a special place in her heart are her sons, Sebastian Taylor Thomaz (fathered by Wiz Khalifa, Rose's former husband) and Slash Electric Alexander Edwards (fathered by Rose's boyfriend, Alexander "AE" Edwards).

As Life & Style reported, Rose's sons benefit from the support of both of their fathers. Both men were spied with Rose and the baby cheering on 6-year-old Thomaz at his baseball game. "There's obviously no awkwardness between Wiz, Alexander, and Amber, who were nothing but smiles at the sporting event," Life & Style reported. And, despite their divorce, Rose told E! that she and Khalifa are equally dedicated to the well-being of their son. "At the end of the day, we both really love our son and he's the most important thing, so for us to be amicable and be friends and have family days for Sebastian — our son is the happiest when we're together," she said.

Amber Rose and Kanye West have a long history together

Amber Rose and Kanye West were in each other's orbits long before — and after — their high-profile romance. According to Life & Style, they first crossed paths in 2008 when Rose got a gig as a dancer in "Put On," a video featuring West. At the time, West didn't take any notice of her, but this gig was the foot in the door Rose needed to get more high-profile jobs, and soon she was doing videos with Ludacris, Nicki Minaj, and even her future husband, Wiz Khalifa.

But West did take notice of Rose's performance in Ludacris' video, and soon they became a much-talked about pair. For Rose, this was both a blessing and a curse. "The misconception — and I still hear this seven years later, to this day — is, 'You're only famous for Kanye.' Initially, absolutely," she told the Daily Beast

But she had no intention of making that her only claim to fame. "I could've got a reality show just off the fact that I was his girlfriend, I could've wrote a book just off the fact that I was his girlfriend ... [but] I'm gonna take the high road ... and I'm gonna get everything that I'm gonna get on my own," she said in an interview on Everyday Struggle. And their feuding after their breakup — including West shaming Rose for having been a stripper and her salty replies to his insults — only amplified the former couple's notoriety, according to Elle.

A warning to guys: She's tough to date

Amber Rose may have captured the affections of numerous high-profile men — but she's the first to acknowledge that any guy who wants to join that cohort has his work cut out for him. "I'm not a convenient girl. You can't just fly me out when you want to and have me on call. I have employees, I have a household, I have a son, I have my show, I have other businesses. I kind of just do what I do when I do it," she told E!

This is fully consistent with her desire to run her life and build her career on her own terms. "It's tough to date me," she told E! "My lawyer tells me all the time, 'Everybody wants to date Amber Rose until they date Amber Rose.' Guys want to feel superior, and with me, I'm a boss as well. If that's uncomfortable ... it's not gonna work."

Her divorce from Wiz Khalifa has been amicable

While the Daily Beast noted that Amber Rose's relationship and breakup with Kanye West was rumored to be tumultuous, her divorce from rapper Wiz Khalifa was sad, but friendly. While Rose called the split "one of the worst times of our lives," she said their relationship has since evolved into something more rewarding and satisfying for both of them. "We are the best of friends. We're actually better now that we're divorced, which is weird, but it's just worked out that way. He's that dude," she told The Daily Beast.

She also countered rumors that she and Khalifa "celebrated" their divorce at a strip club. "We'd signed our divorce papers four, five months prior to that night," she explained. "It took that long to go through the court system, and that initial day we went out it was extremely final ... so they said, 'Hey! They're celebrating their divorce!' We would never celebrate our divorce ... It was a very difficult time," Rose said. In short, their evening out seemed to mark the start of their new relationship.

She's not apologizing for her feud with the Kardashians

Your grandmother may have told you that you'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. But Amber Rose found that standing her ground and not playing nice can pay off, too. In 2015, she triggered a social media firestorm during an interview with New York radio station Power 105.1 in which she called Kylie Jenner "a baby." As Cosmopolitan reported, Rose's tirade was triggered by her anger at Jenner's then-boyfriend for breaking off his engagement with Rose's close friend, Blac Chyna.

This didn't sit well with Jenner's half-sister, Khloe Kardashian, or Rose's ex Kanye West, who, by this time, was married to Kim Kardashian. Both lobbed copious insults at Rose — including West attempting to shame Rose for her stripper past and saying he "had to take 30 showers" after leaving her, according to Elle

But, if the extended Kardashian clan thought this would shut Rose up, they were badly mistaken: She could dish it out as well as she could take it, and the feud only served to build Rose's following. "I went from 1.2 million [Instagram followers] to 5.5 million in a couple months," she told Cosmopolitan. "One day, I just woke up and I was like, 'You know what? I can't sit around and stress anymore about the Internet and what people say about me. I just gotta do me."

She's a polished performer — but bombed on Dancing with the Stars

Amber Rose's dance skills were largely responsible for launching her career. As Life & Style noted, it was her moves in Ludacris' video "What Them Girls Like" that caught Kanye West's eye, launching their relationship and her modeling career. But, as Rose was to discover, the skill sets needed for dancing in rap videos and competitive ballroom dancing are vastly different — as a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars," she struggled, according to ABC News. By the end of Week 6, she and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, were in a four-way tie for last place, which, when viewer votes were added in, put the pair in last place and sent Rose home, according to People.

As Rose told E!, DWTS had been a stressful experience from the start. By her final week, she'd reached her limit, storming out of her practice session with Chmerkovskiy after the two got into a heated argument about her failure to understand his instructions, according to People. She later told E! she regretted signing up for the show. "I'm not really good with a lot of attention. I probably shouldn't have done this show, but whatever," she said. 

Despite her regrets, she still got a new boyfriend as a consolation prize: According to ABC News, in the weeks following her elimination, she was seen with her former partner's brother, fellow DWTS pro dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, and later made their relationship public on Twitter.

Her face tattoos got people talking

Amber Rose has long been known for her extravagant tattoos. And, according to Body Art Guru, most of them have some personal significance to her. The inside of her left arm bears a large, detailed portrait of her mother, with whom she is very close. Other tattoos include images of dogs, which she loves, as well as an image of the numbers "215," the area code for her hometown of Philadelphia. But, in 2020, she introduced her most daring tattoo yet: the words "Bash Slash" in extravagant black script across her forehead. The image honors her sons, Sebastian (nicknamed "Bash") Thomaz and Slash Edwards, according to Us Weekly.

It takes audacity for a professional model to permanently mark up her face, and her fans were split on her decision. But Rose told the magazine she was unconcerned with what anyone thought. "Not everybody is gonna get a face tat. That's what separates me from them," she said to Us Weekly. "I don't live my life for other people ... If I let people affect me in that way, I would just be miserable every day. I wouldn't be the great mom that I am." And, no matter what anyone thinks, she's not done honoring her kids in ink, either. "I've been waiting for Sebastian to get older, so I can get his portrait done and then I'll get Slash's portrait a little bit later too when he grows into his features more," she said.

She started a fashion line for plus-sized women

Amber Rose has cultivated a reputation as a feminist, but she doesn't just talk about empowering women and celebrating body positivity: She puts her money where her mouth is. In 2010, she partnered with plus-size clothing company Simply Be to create her own line of affordable pieces in sizes 12 to 32, according to Teen Vogue. The collection features body-affirming pieces including bodysuits, crop tops, and form-fitting dresses — no muumuus, thank you very much.

For Rose, the desire to create attractive fashion options for women of all sizes was personal. "After I had my son, I was plus size. I had never been plus size before. I remember trying to find things that fit me, and it was very difficult," she told Teen Vogue. This made her want to find a way to support other plus-sized women and "make sure that they feel beautiful and confident." And this is also the reason she intentionally priced everything in her collection under $100. "I grew up very poor in Philly. I always wanted to be fashionable. I used to go to the thrift stores," she told Teen Vogue. "I really wanted to make sure that nobody was left out and everyone could really afford everything in my line."

Amber Rose authored a book to empower women

Amber Rose has always been fearless about diving head-first into new pursuits — be it stripping, singing, modeling, or entrepreneurship. In 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that she took her personal brand and advocacy for women in yet another direction, penning a book for Simon and Schuster entitled "How to Be a Bad B*tch." As far as Rose is concerned, being a "bad b*tch" is a good thing indeed: As she explained in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, it means being a "self-respecting, strong female who has everything together. This consists of body, mind, finances, and swagger; a woman who gets hers by any means necessary."

Thus, while Rose's book covers fashion and beauty, it also delves into more serious topics about taking control of one's life, such as finance and career planning. In short, as the book's Amazon description states, it's intended to share Rose's advice for all women: "Work hard, love yourself, embrace your femininity and sexuality, and most importantly, chase the best version of you possible."

Contrary to appearances, Amber Rose is not a party animal

Amber Rose's high-profile romances and ubiquitous presence in the entertainment world have earned her a reputation for unconventional glamour. But while she doesn't shy from publicity — and makes regular, highly-publicized, paid appearances at clubs — she told Cosmopolitan in 2015 that her personal life was, in reality, pretty low key. She said she regularly gets up at 6:30 a.m. to make breakfast for her son (this was before the birth of her second son) and that the times she goes out in the evening are for her paid club appearances. "It's quick money; it's easy money, and I get to really see my fans," she said to Cosmopolitan.

But, if you do happen to see Rose at a club, don't expect to see her snorting lines off a mirror in the ladies' room — she has seen firsthand the damage drugs can do and won't touch the stuff. "Two of my very close family members overdosed," she told AZ Central. ”I didn't even smoke weed because I thought it was a gateway drug to harder drugs and I had watched the neighborhood and all my friends go downhill.”

She had a talk show on VH-1

Amber Rose has always been comfortable in front of a camera and comfortable speaking her mind — so launching her own talk show on VH-1 in 2016 wasn't too big of a stretch. The Hollywood Reporter noted prior to the show's premiere that it would be produced by Dr. Phil and his son Jay McGraw's production company, Stage 29 Productions, and that it would feature celebrity interviews and "provocative, entertaining, and humorous conversations with guests on topics including pop culture, motherhood, relationships, friendships, race, and entrepreneurship."

Consistent with Rose's persona, "The Amber Rose Show" features her trademark mashup of raunch and social responsibility, according to Common Sense Media. "Parents need to know that 'The Amber Rose Show' is a talk show that features some explicit conversations about sex and related topics," Common Sense Media noted on their website. "There are some crude references and humor, lighthearted references to women fighting, and partially nude pictures ... of the host. But the show also contains messages about being sexually responsible and having a positive body image." Provocative as it was, "The Amber Rose Show" only lasted one season before it was canceled by VH-1, according to TV Series Finale.