Me, Myself & I
Everyone's keeping up with social media maven and selfie queen, India Love.
Words: Sean A. Malcom
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Only once throughout this interview with social media darling, India Love Westbrooks, does the stunning 19-year-old mention her ex-boyfriend by name. “When the first episode came out, everybody was on the whole Game thing,” the Los Angeles beauty recalls of the premiere party for the reality show she’s the star of, The Westbrooks, where it recaps when the blogosphere outed her relationship with the Compton rapper. The same party India walked out on as a result. “It was very embarrassing and I don’t do well with embarrassment.”

Other than that mention, the vixen only refers to her tatted-up ex as simply, “my past.” Whether or not the scolding hot tea is the primary reason for the Keeping Up with the Kardashians-like platform BET has afforded the young'n and her family (four older sisters, two brothers and her parents) is irrelevant. This opportunity is her present and future.

"I'm using my platform on this television show to tell my story so I can be looked at in a positive light," admits the African-American, Spanish, Creole and Indian beauty, whose rise to social media dominance started when she was posting selfies of herself on Tumblr. Once she crossed over to Instagram, India's ardent followers...well, followed, amassing to a whopping 1.4 million and counting. "I'm actually happy of what God blessed me with, this image that I have," she purrs. "And I love to flaunt it. I think it's a blessing."

Hallelujah!

XXL: How was it seeing your love life played out in front of you on television?

INDIA LOVE: It’s very hard for me to deal with something like that, especially in the public eye where they’re seeing exactly what I went through. In all actuality, I never wanted the reality show.

Really?

I sacrificed that decision [to do the show] for my family because that is something that my sisters were dying to do and that my family knew would be a good opportunity -- and yes, it’s a great opportunity.

Will you be around for a second season, then?

I will definitely take it into consideration. I will have to pray about it and talk to my family. If it’s presented to where it’s okay for me not to be in it, then maybe that’s the route I will go.

What separates The Westbrooks family from other reality television families?

What separates us is our unity. You can use the Kardashians as an example, because they’re the only similar example that people choose to compare us to. But their family is broken, if you ask me. Not to bash them or throw shade. Yes, they are a family, but our family is all built from love, it’s all built from unity. There’s no competition with us, we just want to learn how to build each other up to the highest point that we can potentially be. And I feel like a lot of the Kardashians episodes -- I watch it, and they’re a great family -- but I feel they reach for things to put out there for a storyline. I don’t feel we have to reach at all.

Do you like the Black Kardashian label that some have tagged your family with?

Absolutely not.

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2015 issue including Kendrick Lamar’s cover story, Rick Ross' forever hustle, Silento's takeover with "Watch Me (Whip/NaeNae)" and Rhymesayers' legendary movement.