“It’s a good read, to be honest with you. Everybody likes a good little catfight, don’t they?” Tiffany chuckles. “I definitely think people like a little gossip, and there’s something about two powerful women, or two famous women, having a good catfight. I think that people wanted to read that to some degree. It’s awful to say that, but it’s true!”
It seems the two women ought to let a camera crew follow them around on the Mixtape Tour to shoot a pilot for a possible new Odd Couple reboot (maybe SyFy could pick it up?), because as Tiffany laughingly explains, they’re “totally different” and “at times we’ve annoyed each other.”
“I’m definitely more the wild child,” admits Tiffany. “There’s a different approach to life. She’s very Broadway, very organized, everything is in its place, which is a great thing. … I’m more like, roll up, feel it out, kind of hippie vibe. …We work completely different, but we’ve grown up as adults. … Actually, we’re girlfriends now, and who better to understand how you feel, or how it is to work a career, or to stay in it as a woman? I mean, we have so much in common in that aspect.”
So, how has that rare shared experience of being teen superstars — in the late ‘80s, the two sold a combined 17 million albums, both before their 20th birthdays — bonded Tiffany and Debbie, now ages 47 and 48? “Well, we’re still here,” Tiffany quips. “We’re very proud of that, that we still love what we’re doing. We still have our fans. We’re not jaded. We don’t have to do this. It is coming from ‘I want to be here, I love music, I want to do new music, I want to still rock with my fans,’ rather than ‘You have to do this.’”
One way that Tiffany and Gibson had it easier in the ‘80s, compared to the highly sexualized teen pop stars of today, was they were allowed to be kids. Gibson performed “Electric Youth” in bowler hats and baggy jeans; Tiffany was the “mall girl” whose yearbook-ready signature look was a scrubbed face and oversized denim jacket. Neither girl wore or sang anything age-inappropriate. While Tiffany, who became a mother at age 21 and posed for Playboy in her thirties, admits she struggled in the spotlight with her transition to womanhood (“At 17, I had black hair, bustiers, and red lipstick, and my label was like, ‘Oh my God! What happened to you, the girl next door?’”), she does think today’s female pop stars may be forced to grow up too fast and lead with their sexuality.
“It gets to a point to where you are trying to get on a space, on a chart, or on radio, for them to play your song for Billboard and for the public eye. There’s lots of people clamoring for those spots. So, you have to be competitive, and unfortunately a lot of that is you’re against adult women,” Tiffany muses. “I think a lot of these girls are that are entering not even 16 or 17, and they’re expected to enter into, and be competitive to, an adult woman who has the freedom to do whatever she wants with hair and makeup and wardrobe. I also think fashion has changed. … If we were in bustiers back then, or even if I said, ‘I really don’t want to do my homework,’ people would go, ‘There’s tons of girls watching you!’ I did feel pressure sometimes to be perfect… but I took it serious that yes, those moms didn’t want to hear me say anything that was going to encourage the little girls or my teenage peers to go off the rails.”