The tiny BET host doesn’t engage in the whirl of activity surrounding her. As her hair stylist and make-up artist go to work, and the fashion assistants bullet past her for last-minute adjustments, Rocsi Diaz — in a voice barely above a whisper — reminds the room that she has to be out of the Brooklyn studio in less than two hours for a meeting. She’s about her business. Her glass of Redbull and vodka remains untouched, still posted up next to a posse of eye shadows, blushes and glosses on the table.
The 25-year-old doesn’t crack her first smile until the pre-shoot convo shifts to Halloween and costumes — she’ll be Lady Gaga. The TV host is perfectly aware that her demeanor comes off a bit cold. She admits it took her BET producers months to realize that she didn’t hate them; she’s just quiet.
“Rocsi the personality and Rocsi the person are two different people,” she says.
And Rocsi the personality gets a lot of shit. She’s been called out of her name on blogs and trashed by commenters. It seems that everything about her is scrutinized — her wardrobe choices on 106th & Park, her ears when she pulls her hair back, and her alleged affair with Michael Misick, the former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands and LisaRaye’s current husband.
“I think a lot of these Web sites need a story.” Rocsi says. “They need to find somebody to pick on, and I just so happen to be one of those girls. I’ve always had that coming up against Free on a black network and not being black.”
And although she won’t discuss what her manager refers to as the “LisaRaye situation,” she did touch on her relationship choices. “With men in my life, I’ve always made good choices. I would love to think that. It’s just really hard to trust people, and that’s just coming from not knowing everybody’s intentions,” Rocsi says.
If it’s not LisaRaye’s husband, it’s her 106th & Park co-host, Terrence J, Floyd Mayweather, Trey Songz, or Tyrese.
“I spent time doing radio so anybody that came on that couch, I had already interviewed. I had weight to my name already. So Queen Latifah, Ludacris, Lil’ Wayne, Baby, all these people respected me. They know me; they know I’m a hardworker. I just went out last night, and I had a genuine good time. I hardly ever really go out,” Rocsi says. “And the next day its ‘Rocsi’s dating … popping bottles with Trey Songz … tryna get with …’ I was like ‘What?! No, I wasn’t even sitting at his table!’” If I take a picture with somebody, I make it a point not even to put my arm around them. And it’s so hard because people just want to pick on you. I’m like ‘Dude, you don’t sleep with everyone you take a picture with.’ Like, come on. I think it’s getting to an ignorant stage.
“I got where I’m at because of my work,” Rocsi insists. “I never had to lay on my back to get where I was. I come from a Latino background where family and the way we were brought up was very important. That’s how we conducted ourselves as ladies. And that’s a very important thing to my family, so yeah, when these blogs come out and they start talking shit — you’re messing with what my parents instilled in me. And I know it isn’t true. But I’m glad I have great family members who know that I wasn’t brought up that way, to not be blinded by this industry.”
“It hurts when my brothers call me,” she continues. “I mean it’s real bad when it gets to the point where everything’s so unbearable. You really got to have that strength, because if I didn’t have that strength in me, I would kill myself. There are some days when I’m like ‘How bad do I want to kill myself right now? What is the point of going on when so many people despise me or hate what I do?’”
Rocsi’s not suicidal. Hard on herself at times, perhaps, but she prays to keep her strength. “At the end of the day, I don’t meltdown because I’m still going to be on BET,” Rocsi says. “Internet gangsters are so tough. They’re so tough.”
It was her shocking revelation on national television in July that gave millions of viewers a peek at Rocsi “the person” and may have garnered her more fans than dissenters. During an episode of 106th & Park that discussed self-image, Rocsi admitted to dealing with anorexia for about three years when she was a high school cheerleader.
“You’re never really cured, because sometimes you have to psych yourself up that you’re eating healthy, you’re at a healthy weight. As women you have those fat days, but in my mind, those days are a little too frequent,” Rocsi says. “To this day, when somebody calls me thick, that’s not a compliment to me. Don’t call me thick. I hate that. I think thick is fat. I used to think that if I had curves or stomach flab that meant I was fat. I used to go over 110 lbs, I would think ‘I’m fat.’ If I see on a scale 118 [lbs.], I would start starving myself to get myself down to what I need to be at.”
It’s not all about weight, though. The ridicule celebrities receive does not go unnoticed. “That’s why I give Solange props for cutting all her hair off,” she says. “I wish I could do that. My ears are too big, though.”
With accolades from men’s magazines, and the decision to do a King magazine spread in 2007, her confidence seems palpable. Plus, the five-feet and some change host is pretty petite, although she admittedly doesn’t come from a naturally small family. “We’re Latinos. We like to eat,” she says. “The majority of the people in my family were heavyset.”
Born in Honduras and bred in the Big Easy, Rocsi moved to Dallas to live with her father when her mother relocated to Egypt in 2000. She got her first taste of radio in Texas as a member of a street team.
“It was just an opportunity to have a cool job at the time,” Rocsi recalls. “I became infatuated with the radio station. I started hanging out in the studio trying to learn how the boards work.”
The programming director had her reading commercials within three months and she found herself on a weekend show shortly after. Then HOT 97 in Boston called with a job offer. Considering her track record, it’s easy to assume she’s already planning life after BET. And she is, kind of. Rocsi wants to be an actress. She’s taking classes, checking out some scripts, but she assures me she’s happy at BET.
“I would love to do film and [be] casted … in a dramatic role. I just want to be great at [acting]. Until then, I love my job and there’s nothing in the world that would bring me to leave 106th. I think we’re getting bigger and badder and there’s no point in me leaving right now. But I could dab,” Rocsi says. “Acting is my therapy. I could be somebody else and if I want to cry, I can cry, if I want to scream out … because if Rocsi does it, Rocsi looks crazy.”