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Rockefeller Center

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10020

Copyright © 2005 19 Merchandising Ltd.

American Idolphotographs copyright © Fremantle Media

North America, Inc. & 19 TV Ltd.

Family photos courtesy of the Fantasia Barrino family.

Additional photos courtesy of Kim Green.

All rights reserved,

including the right of reproduction

in whole or in part in any form.

FIRESIDEand colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Designed by Ruth Lee-Mui

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Life is not a fairy tale / Fantasia.

p. cm.

1. Fantasia. 2. Singers—United States—Biography. I. Title.

ML420.F235A3 2005



ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-3186-9

ISBN-10: 1-4165-3186-6

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This book is dedicated to the

most important person in my life, Zion.

Everything I do, I do for you, baby.



1: Recognize Your Gift

2: You Made Your Bed, Now Lie in It

3: Learn from Your Mistakes

4: Never Give Up

5: Keep Your Head Up

6: Give Props Where Props Are Due

7: Like Mother, Like Daughter

8: It Ain’t About the Bling

9: Don’t be a Hoochie Mama

10: Keep It Real



One nightduring theAmerican Idol competition, Simon Cowell commented on the dance that I had been doing after every song I sang. Walking toward the edge of the stage to hear what the judges had to say was always my least favorite part of the competition. After every song, no matter how good I thought it sounded, my heart would sink, knots would fill my stomach, and my head would suddenly ache with worry about what I was going to hear from the judges. I worried most about Simon. This time, instead of talking about my clothes or my hair or telling me I sounded like Donald Duck, Simon asked, “Fantasia, what is that dance that you do all the time?” Trying to think on my feet, I said, “That’s the BoBo!” I made up that word on the spot. I don’t even know where it came from or what pushed it out of my mouth. What I should have said was, “That’s me gettin’ my praise on.”

The BoBo is my victory dance. I get my praise on for everything and for nothin’ at all. I thank God for my health, strength, and my daughter’s working body parts. My BoBo is my way of givin’ praise for all of the blessings I receive. When I’m doing my BoBo, I’m aware of all of those who can’t do the little things that I’m blessed enough to do.

Everything changed for me during theAmerican Idol competition. Just weeks before, me gettin’ my praise on was just a personal thing that me and my family did all the time to thank God for what He had done for us and what He would do in the future. Suddenly, even the smallest things about me and my family mattered to the whole world. Everything that was once personal to me and my family was now public…like having to explain the BoBo. Everything was different for me. I didn’t even recognize myself sometimes. I suddenly had some money in my pocket. I was on TV every week. I had a busy schedule and so many people involved with my daily activities. It was like having ten babysitters. I was meeting all kinds of professionals that I didn’t even know had a profession. I had heard of makeup artists, but I never dreamed of someone actually being paid to put makeup on me. I had heard of professional dancers, but I had never met a choreographer. I always thought those people were just dance teachers.

I had spent months on this roller-coaster ride of acting like I knew where I was or what I was doing, but the only moments when I really felt like myself were the moments when I was singin’.

During the competition, I was loving the attention and all the fans who really seemed to love me. They wanted to hug me when they saw me on the street, and sometimes they would run after the car I got in after one of my producers would let me know it was time to stop huggin’ folks. I thought those days were crazy. But on the big day, May 26, 2004, when Ryan Seacrest announced my name as the winner of the 2004American Idol, my life changed forever.

Suddenly, I had little boys in wheelchairs wanting my autograph and to take a picture withme. I had little girls running up to me in airports and saying, “Look Fantasia,I can do the BoBo!” The world had made a dance out of my worshippin’ God. I was amazed. And I was a little scared.

I would drive up to shows in different cities—places that I had never been before—and there would beAmerican Idol signs all over the place. Small children would be crying from their excitement, and their mothers had to calm them down by stroking their heads. I noticed little girls had gotten their hair cut to look just like mine. Mothers were running with their babies just to get close to the car I was in. I would shrink in fear of what they would do when they saw me. I wasn’t worried they would hurt me, I was worried they would be disappointed when they saw me in person. What if I didn’t look like I did on TV? What if my lips were even bigger than they thought? What if they thought I was too ugly to be the American Idol? What if they had made a mistake by voting for me? What if my mascara was runnin’ because I was cryin’ so much? Those were the things that would be flashin’ in my head as the limousine pulled up to the stage entrance.

The other thing

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