10 Questions with T’yanna Wallace, Penn Stater and Daughter of Biggie Smalls
T’yanna Wallace is not your average Penn State student. While some of us aren’t doing a whole lot with our weekends other than waiting in line at the Phyrst, Wallace spends her time working on her clothing line named after her father — you might have heard of him, Notorious B.I.G.?
Yep, her dad is the one and only Biggie Smalls. The current Penn State junior sat down with us to talk about what it’s like to have a notorious dad.
Onward State: You launched your clothing line, Notoriouss, a few months ago. How is that going?
T’yanna Wallace: Yeah, the year anniversary for it is right around the corner. I can’t believe how far I’ve gotten with it. I’m very proud and excited for it to continue to grow. Can’t wait for everybody to see the new stuff I release at the end of February.
OS: What inspired you to start a clothing line, and how has your family influenced the designs?
TW: I always wanted to be involved in fashion. I had been designing clothes and accessories since high school, so once I got to college, I made the final decision to seriously start a clothing line. It’s heavily influenced by my dad, his music, and his birthplace, New York.
OS: Why did you decide to attend Penn State?
TW: It was local. I wanted to go to school in New York, but Penn State ended up being the final choice, and I’m happy for that.
OS: What is campus life like for you? Do most people know who your father was?
TW: Campus life is normal; I go to class like everyone else. I’d say most people probably know by now.
OS: How does it feel to know that your father’s legacy still inspires artists today?
TW: I think it’s really amazing. My dad hasn’t made music in over 15 years, so for people to still refer to his songs and lyrics, and pay homage to him, is really cool.
OS: How does your dad’s legacy affect you?
TW: I’m hoping with my clothing line, Notoriouss, I can keep his legacy alive.
OS: One of the most quoted music lyrics at Penn State comes from your dad “Fuck the state pen, fuck hoes at Penn State”– what’s your take on that?
TW: I actually didn’t notice that line until after I was accepted to Penn State and a Twitter follower pointed it out to me. It’s a crazy coincidence.
OS: What was it like seeing your dad’s life retold through “Notorious” in 2009?
TW: It was really cool seeing a movie based on my dad’s life. People actually still watch that movie like it just came out, so I’m glad everyone liked it.
OS: What are the biggest misconceptions about your dad or your family that you know of?
TW: The biggest misconception of my dad was he was a big-time drug-dealing gangster. When my mom or my grandma or even my dad’s friends tell me stories about him, I never get that vibe. He seemed like such a funny, outgoing, and caring guy.
OS: If you could be a dinosaur, which would you be and why?
TW: Definitely a Pterosaur, because they can fly!