If the industry truly is a chess game, Asia Nitollano isn't planning on being anyone's pawn. With her still-untitled debut album set for an early 2009 release, the singer-dancer sets the record straight on her departure from The Pussycat Dolls and on replacing Ashanti as the Inc.'s new female principal. More important, the Bronx native is hoping to clean up her feisty "bad girl” image, all while searching for some good ol' sex in the city. Odds are, this stray cat won't have any problems finding shelter.

By Rondell Conway Photography by Justin Borucki

Your Pussycat Dolls union was shorter than Eddie Murphy's marriage to Tracey Edmonds. Why the quick exit?
Everything is not what it seems on TV. I thought I was just going to go right into the group and be out there, but that didn't happen. I had to make a decision for myself. Not that I didn't want to be a part of the group, because I definitely did, but the group wasn't for me and I realized that after. I just followed my heart. I'm thankful that I had the opportunity, but don't be offended by my decision.

Rumor has it that there was some friction with Nicole Scherzinger. Fact or fiction?
[Laughs] I met the group once. Just once. There was never anything like that going on. That's all I can say about that.

We haven't been this upset about a breakup since Star Jones left The View. The next PCD album is going to be a tough sell without you.
I don't know. They did pretty well before me. I wish them success.

Judging from your bad-girl role on The Search for the Next Doll and your decision to go solo, is it safe to assume you don't play well with others?
They always try to make someone out to be the bad girl, and of course they're going to pick the girl from the Bronx. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not like that. I'm, like, the coolest person you could meet. It's just that if you get on my bad side, I'm going to come out. A lot of girls went on the show and got portrayed as different people. The nicest people weren't the nicest people, that's for sure.