Friday, January 18, 2013

Q & A Session with: Tatiana Thumbtzen

Correction: At times, I will make mistakes and I will do whatever I can to correct the mistakes that I made. I did a blog post back in June entitled "The Ladies of Michael's Life Part 2" in which Tatiana Thumbtzen was mentioned. Most of the information was not true and incorrect. I do not stand by any of the items that I stated on that blog post regarding Ms. Thumbtzen. Here is the link to the blog post:

In that post, (which is now deleted) I stated that she "had a past" and she "should have told Michael about her past". There was a rumor about Tatiana that needed to be addressed and I asked her privately about it and she told me that the rumor was not true and the rumor was made up by an employee of Michael's. I believe what Tatiana told me about this rumor. The only past that Tatiana ever had was that she was a dancer and a model. Period. 

One of the reasons why I do this blog was to find the truth and post the truth on this blog. Anyone that ever got close to Michael, like Tatiana, was subject of insult, vicious rumors and uncalled for jealously. People will always find a way to ruin someone all because of their closeness to Michael. When I posted the information, my intention was never to disrespect her in any way whatsoever. I am glad that I reached out to Ms. Thumbtzen in order for her to have a chance to tell her story without editing, implying negativity or assumptions. This blog post will give her justice and I hope that she sees that. My apologies to anyone that felt like they were misled. That was not my intention. This blog is meant to be truthful, honest and informative and I will mess up at times. Unlike some people, I am adult enough to admit my mistakes and learn from them. 


In October 31st, 1987 the short film "The Way You Make Me Feel" premiered on MTV and became very popular very quickly. It was the third number one song for Michael from the Bad album and it made a model/dancer named Tatiana Thumbtzen, famous. After her appearance in that short film, she did a few interviews, was invited by a friend of Michael's to hang out with him on the set of the "Leave Me Alone" short film, met the Jackson family and participated on the iconic Bad Tour. Things became unusual when she was suddenly fired from the tour and was replaced by then back up singer and now rock/pop singer Sheryl Crow. Since then, Tatiana tried to figure out what happened only to be treated badly and manipulated by various people. Even throughout the ups and downs, she still had love for Michael. In this session, Tatiana will answer various questions and some of her answers will surprise some of the readers. (Well, maybe all of the readers.) For now, enjoy, I hope, this Q&A session with Tatiana Yvonne Thumbtzen. 

A recent picture of Tatiana.

Q: How did you get your start in the modeling world and later on the entertainment business?

A: I first started out as a ballerina. I was awarded a scholarship at the early age of ten. I moved to New York City to study at “The School Of American Ballet,” which is part of the prestigious Julliard. While in class one day, I was scouted out for a special magazine layout. That would appear in Modern Brides. The photographer Barry Lategan scouted me out himself. Lategan was also the famed photographer, who was responsible for discovering super model Twiggy, in the early sixties. That was my very beginning into the modeling world. The bug hit me!

Tatiana's first appearance as a model in Modern Brides in the 1970s.

Q: How did you find out about the auditions for Michael’s love interest for the short film, “The Way You Make Me Feel”?

A: I heard about the audition through my agent. Like any actor/actress, you are sent out on auditions through them.

The single cover for the classic song "The Way You Make Me Feel" from 1987.

Q: How did the audition process go?

A: I had to run through the routine with the casting agent, Leland. The song “Beat It” played on the CD player. As I walked around giving him “attitude” he kept pursuing me with the camera in hand.

Q: When you were shooting the short film, how was it like to be in Michael’s presence?

A: It was so much fun working with Michael. He was a wonderful spirit to be around. I was a bit nervous the first day but, once the ice was broken, we both had a blast together. The ice was broken when I fell outside of the car. I had to run through it. After I fell, I was a bit stunned. But there was Michael, so sweetly, helping me up. And to my surprise, he was wiping my bottom off. I got shy and flustered at the thought. And the director was screaming for me to keep it moving. So, I ran while I was laughing my head off. That part you can see in the video. He was very joyful. And very positive to be around.

Michael with Tatiana on the set of the short film in '87.

Q: What type of worker was Michael and do you remember what type of fragrance Michael wore?

A: Michael was very professional. The consummate pro! He didn’t miss a beat! He had the eye of a hawk when it came to details. Things that the average person would not consider. However, at the same time, he made it fun. As for the fragrance he wore, I never thought to ask him the name of it but, it smelled like heaven. It was a clean/fresh but, somewhat sensual and warm scent. I’m actually about to launch my own fragrance soon called “Blessed” which I’m so happy and proud of! And it’s a tad bit reminiscent of what I can remember Michael smelling like. I do hope the fans will like it as much as I do. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for years. My own scent! And the great thing about it is it’s a universal fragrance. For men or women! I’ve experienced and been through much in my life and in truth, I’ve been a victim in many ways. But I prefer to think of myself, and call myself a survivor because of all that I’ve been through. I could have chosen to give up and taken my own life. But I promised the Lord Jesus Christ, I would never do that. I will let him take me when he’s ready. So, I consider myself very blessed for still being here. I ask him why I’m still here, all the time but as long as I am, I will do my best to spread the Lord’s message.

Q: During the breaks from shooting the short film, did you get a chance to hang out with Michael?

A: Yes, I did. It was always wonderful when I could spend “private” time with him. Nothing else in the world mattered. There was such chemistry between us, and a joy that I’ve never felt with anyone else in my life before. It was a special and rare connection.

Q: It was obvious in the short film that you and Michael had energetic and sexual chemistry. It has been noted that you and Michael developed a relationship during the shooting of the short film. Did you have a romantic relationship with Michael?

A: People have always wanted to know if we ever slept together. If we ever had sex. And I’ve always hated the intrusion of privacy. I’ve stated in the past that we dated for over a year. But I would come clean and admit that I exaggerated the amount of time we dated. I was on a talk show at the time and I was very nervous when I said this exaggeration of truth, when asked if we had dated or been together sexually. I thought I’d be honest about it. Only to be slammed and called a liar. So, at this point, does it really matter? And I’ve learned, that any woman that’s even been near Michael is only a subject of hate and jealousy. God knows! I’ve had my share.

Michael and Tatiana on the set of the short film.

Q: When was the first time you ever kissed Michael and did you fall in love with Michael?

A: I loved Michael very, “very” much! And I always will. Until the end of time.

Q: Michael invited you to the behind the scenes of one of his short films, “Leave Me Alone". How did he ask you to join him and how was it like?

A: That day I will always cherish as a special day with him. We had a lot of fun together! And one of the photographs from that day has just recently surfaced. It was bittersweet to see it. His friend and stand-in, Craig, called me and as you can see from the photograph, we were very happy. It was in my opinion, the happiest time in “both” our lives.

Tatiana kissing Michael on the cheek on the set of the short film "Leave Me Alone" in 1987.

Michael and Tatiana hugging during a photo shoot for the "Leave Me Alone" short film in 1987.

Q: Did you and Michael ever argued or had a disagreement when you were together?

A: No. Never. It was perfection! Nothing but joy and sheer happiness when we were together. Lots of laughter.

Q: Did Michael ever confide in you about any unusual things he noticed in regards to his handlers or the entertainment business?

A: If he did, I wouldn't be able to share that.

Q: How did Michael invite you to meet his family?

A: I actually met Michael’s family through his big sister Rebbie. And I met her because I was on the wrong flight, going to San Francisco.

Q: How was Michael’s handler’s behavior towards Michael when you were with him?

A: They seemed fine really. But I did think that he had too many “yes” people around. Just telling him what he wanted to hear, instead of what he “needed” to hear.

Q: When you were with Michael, did he seem distant from his family or were they close?

A: I believe as a family the Jackson’s are as close if not closer than most. They were always there for Michael, in his time of need. That always impressed me. He shared with me, how much he loved his family and how he loved being part of a big family. But I do believe, there were times that Michael’s professional people kept him in the dark about his family trying to get in contact with him.

Michael with his family in 1989.

Q: You were, in a way, Michael’s muse for his iconic BAD tour. How was it like to be a part of that tour and to be on tour with Michael in general?

A: It was the most beautiful and wonderful experience of my life! And I’ll hold it near and dear, for the rest of my life!

Q: How was Michael like during the tour when he was not performing?

A: Tired. When we spoke by phone his voice was drained. Unlike, the joyfully happy Mike that I knew. He gave his heart and soul when he performed! Every single ounce of himself! He loved his fans and wanted them to be happy.

Michael kissing Tatiana during the iconic Bad tour in 1988. 

Q: Things regarding the BAD tour seemed to be going good until you were fired from the tour. It was not known why you were fired and who did the firing. You have implied that the late Frank Dileo had something to do with the firing. Who do you think had something to do with your firing?

A: After Michael’s passing Frank and I spoke and from what he told me, my agent was asking for way too much! And Michael did not want to pay it. He said quote, “Michael was too cheap! And was not going to pay that much.” Which I found to be an odd thing to say about Michael because, everyone knows that Mike was NOT cheap! He could afford whatever he wanted. Awhile after our lunch date, maybe a month or so, someone told me to check out the Glenda tapes. She was supposedly a friend of Michael’s and she recorded several, of their private conversations. So, I went online and listened to a few and I heard Michael say, “Sam says that Frank's trying to get Tati in trouble.” Michael’s nickname for me was Tati. I was stunned! I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I actually thought maybe, just maybe, I was hearing things. Still, I found closure in our meeting. I’ve also realized that, nothing of the past really matters anymore. All that matters now, is that in one moment in time, I shared some wonderful and beautiful moments with Frank and Mike. We shared a lot of laughter. What we leave behind on this earth, is very important. It speaks as our legacy. How we give back to society and how we touch people, is what’s important. Also, most importantly, is the energy we choose to be involved with. Negative or Positive! We make that choice every day. When we speak! When we think! You make a choice between good and evil.

Michael with Frank Dileo, his manager at the time, in 1988.

Q: When singer Sheryl Crow took your place how did you feel about it?

A: How would anyone feel? I was devastated!

Michael performing with then back-up singer Sheryl Crow, in 1988.

Q: How did you cope with the firing?

A: I cried a lot!

Q: When you met Michael’s family, what was your first impression of them and how did they treated you?

A: They were very kind. It was not a surprise to me, where Michael got his kindness and sweet disposition from.

Q: Was it true that Michael’s nieces and nephews called you “Auntie Tatiana”?

A: No, that’s not correct! One of them called me, “Tatiana Jackson.”

Q: How did Joe Jackson become your manager?

A: To make a long story short, I met him at night club. He had Majestic, (who works for him) come over and give me his business card. Expressing interest in representing me.

Tatiana with Joe Jackson years back.

Q: When Michael was first falsely accused of child abuse back in 1993 was it true that the family contacted you to tell you to come forward?

A: No. I contacted them.

Q: It is true that you told a tabloid back in 1994 that you did not like the fact that Michael settled the case in 1994?

A: I just wanted for him to prove his innocence. I felt it was unfair that he was taken advantage of like that. It was flat out Extortion! It wasn’t my intention to be insensitive. I know he endured much pain, emotionally and mentally from that experience. I’ve also become a victim of extortion because of my co-author from my first book. She basically stole my life story and 50% of my royalties. But, I put it in the Lord’s hands, like everything. He’ll take care of it! Her Karma will come back to her one day! I have decided that I will make that book available as a “free” read soon. That’s my 50% talking! I figured if she’s going to keep cashing in off my back, I’ll cut some of her profits.

Q: What was your reaction when you found out that Michael married Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley?

A: Shocked!

Q: Were you happy for him?

A: I tried to be. It took awhile but I got there.

Michael with then "wife" Lisa Marie back in the 1990s. 

Q: You participated in the horrible documentary VH1 documentary on Michael called Michael’s Secret Childhood. Your segment on there was done to make Michael looked horrible. How did the producers of that special approach you and why did you do the special?

A: When they approached me, they said that it would be a “positive” piece on Michael and his work. So, I agreed. Two British women interviewed me but when the story aired, it was a man’s voice. They made it appear as if I was being interviewed by a man. Tricky stuff! I’ve become leery about doing interviews now for that very reason. You never know how your interview is going to turn out. They can make any clip look salacious. It’s all in the editing.

A clip of Tatiana talking about Michael in that horrible documentary back in 2004. The media are manipulative

Q: When was the last time you saw Michael?

A: 1991.

Q: How did you find out about Michael’s death and how devastated were you when you heard of Michael’s passing?

A: My best friend, Iris Parker, called me. I couldn’t believe it! And I was at work. It was very hard to deal with. I remember, just wanting to get the hell out of there! I was in a state of shock. I didn’t even feel myself moving. It was as if my soul left my body. I felt as though I was floating. A day I’ll never forget. However, I don’t reflect on it. Only when asked.

Q: Who invited you to Michael’s funeral/burial and what was it like?

A: One day I was speaking with Majestik on the phone. He was helping Katherine pack. She was on her way somewhere in Europe. I spoke with her briefly and shared my heartfelt condolences. This was after the first memorial they had at the Staple Center. I expressed to Majestik how I didn’t get to go to that one and I would really like to attend his funeral if I could please be considered. I really wanted to pay my respects. Katherine knew how much Michael meant to me and she also knew, what I meant to him. After all, she would be the first to tell me that he loved me. Majestik told me that he would speak with Katherine about it, and get back to me. He did when she returned and Katherine’s response, (from what Majestik told me) was, "of course! No problem".

A clip of Tatiana at Michael funeral back in 2009. 

Q: I read somewhere that you met Diana Ross and Lisa Marie Presley. How were those meetings like and what did you discussed with them?

A: I met Miss. Ross at Radio City Music Hall. Actually, while Mike was performing "Man in The Mirror" backstage. It was brief! She apologized because she was blocking my view.
And Lisa Marie I met at the funeral. She was devastated but so was I! I never felt my feet! Don’t have a clue as to how I managed getting around it felt as though I floated through it all. I nearly fell, going into the Mausoleum and someone caught me.

Q: Have you ever encountered women who have told you that they had relationships with Michael?

A: LOL. Yes! I’ve met someone like that. She told so many lies about how she knew him. I later found out through a friend of mine, who also met her and she admitted to him, that she never even met Michael. There are a lot of crazies out there.

Q: Why did you decided to write another book called The King and I?

A: Because not only does life go on, ones story does too! There was more to talk about. New things that I’d learned and found out. A part two, so to speak.

Q: What do you do these days?

A: Always creating new art! And I’ve just created my new fragrance, “Blessed” with my long time friend, Iris Parker.

Q: Have you found love after Michael?

A: Love is everywhere! If you know where to look. If you mean, in a relationship? Then no. But I am content. If God intends for me to meet someone. I will. But I’m a happy well adjusted person. Contrary to what’s said out there.

Q: How did you feel when you found out Frank Dileo passed away?

A: I cried! It saddened me because, no matter what happened in the past, Frank and I moved beyond it. We even said, "I love you" to each other. I think once you've been through a lot in life, you learn, that it all boils down to what’s truly important. And that’s “Love.” You have to let go of unnecessary crap. Darkness is not my friend. I love, love! Everything about it. The word, the feeling. There’s nothing more beautiful.

Q: Have you ever got a chance to forgive him or did you still hold a grudge against him?

A: Absolutely! I believe in nothing but forgiveness! Holding onto darkness and bad feelings is not me because, I believe, those are emotions run by the Devil. I believe in inner beauty. What we emote, we spread and when you put out good, it comes back to you. The same goes for bad energy. You put out bad and negative vibes, that’s what will come back to you. Energy is like a boomerang.

Q: You recently joined twitter. What happened to your accounts on facebook and myspace?

A: I just wanted to have one social network account. It becomes too much to have three or four different social networking sites. I like twitter! Its fun and you don’t have to type a lot.

Q: Do you believe the conspiracy that surrounded Michael?

A: I leave that up to the Lord. He’ll handle all that’s wrong down here. Sometimes I remind fans not to seek revenge or spend time with hateful people. Or, hateful situations. Live your life with peace and love. God will take care of the rest.

Q: How did Spike Lee contact you to participate in the BAD 25 documentary?

A: He emailed me. And I actually thought the email was a prank!

Tatiana with Spike Lee during the shooting of the 2012 documentary of Bad 25.

Q: What is the one thing you would want people to know about Michael and what type of advice did Michael gave you if he gave you any?

A: That he truly was a good human being and I would want them to follow his example. I truly believe that he was here as a prophet. Michael was put here, to teach us about “Love-Forgiveness-Peace and Compassion” for one another. In God’s eyes, we are all brothers and sisters. No matter what our skin color, race religion or sexual preference. We need to become more tolerant and understanding of one another. It would be such a shame if we didn’t learn anything from Michael’s message of Love.

Q: What is your fondest memory of Michael?

A: There’s a photograph from Michael’s 1988 calendar. I’m leaning up against a car and Michael has his leg up on the car, next to me. He’s looking so lovingly at me. As if in a trance. There were many times I would catch him staring at me like this during the shoot of the video. That’s a memory I’ll always keep and cherish. I guess the last thing I'd like to say is that I’ll always remember his beautiful smile and his wonderful laughter.

That stare (meaning Michael's).

Tatiana also wanted to send a message out to the fans. She asked me if I can post the message and I stated to her that I would. Here is the message: 

"My message to fans:Focus on the positive things in your life! Don't be someone who allows yourself to be preoccupied with negativity. It will only hold you back in life. Don't even be around someone if they're not positive. The friends you keep around you are very important and know that, you can do anything or be anything in life. The sky's the limit! If you can conceive it, then you can achieve it. And if someone ever tells you your not good enough, you tell them, "That the day I was created, The Lord All mighty God said different! I am the Lord's child and I am great!" Don't let anyone treat you less than wonderful. God Bless you all! I love you always and forever."


I would like to thank Tatiana Yvonne Thumbtzen for taking the time and a couple of months (in a good way) to complete the interview. She made sure that she got the interview completed. If you have twitter, you can follow her at @TatianaYvonne and her website:


Pictures - 
The pictures came from my personal harddrive, Tatiana Thumbtzen and a search. 

Videos - 
The videos came from