Better known by her screen name of Tila Tequila, the 4’11” Vietnamese beauty’s full name is Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen. While born on the island of Singapore in 1981, Tila’s family soon moved to Houston, Texas where Tila would spend her youth – even spending some years living in a Buddhist temple with her family. Such strict upbringing created a wild side in Tila. While in high school, she was a member of a gang, got into drugs, frequented nightclubs and lived hard – so much so that an experience with alcohol caused an allergic reaction. Nicknamed Tequila as a teenager, the diminutive stuck, and eventually became the name fans would call her across the world.
An opportunity at fame knocked at Tila’s door just in time. When she was 18, a Playboy scout noticed her in a mall in Houston. Without much hesitation, Tila made the career move to California and by 2002 was Cyber Girl of the Month – the first Asian to do so. Her popularity on the Internet exploded, and Tila made it a point to label herself as more than a cyber-babe: she landed her own reality show “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila,” an enormous following on MySpace, a burgeoning career as a musician, and a sometime actress (“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”). Tila also dabbles in fashion, comic books, and a manger for upcoming models. She’s also featured as a character in the video game “Street Racing,” and when you achieve that distinction, you know you have some clout in the pop culture universe. Not bad for a former inhabitant of a Buddhist temple.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, this success story has taken a bizarre twist, with Tila in effect embracing Nazis and doing her best to create controversy and spread hate. Twitter has even suspended her account. What a shame . . .
Tila Tequila Gallery
Tila on the Web
Thorough resource site for all things Tila.
In-depth biography charting Tila’s rise.
Tila discusses her reality show, musical ambitions and plenty else.