Interview With Carmela Hayslett AKA Roxsy Tyler

Several years ago, I was on YouTube and stumbled across this horror show featuring a horror host named Roxsy Tyler. My first impression was that she was funny, tough, beautiful and took no shit from anyone. I followed her on social media, and it has been a delight. Today, I got to interview the woman behind Roxsy Tyler, Carmela Hayslett, who was kind enough to talk to us.

PopHorror: How was Roxsy born? Where did you get the idea?
Carmela Hayslett: ?It’s weird; I don’t actually know where she came from. I just know that she is a mixed cocktail of everything I love from fashion to music to movies. I literally just threw on a top hat one day and tried to do my makeup. I got frustrated with doing my makeup, so I just smeared lines down my face. I started dressing up like that when I was a teenager and took photos. From the photos, I started writing stories, and from the stories, my friend Mark Coughlin started drawing pictures of her. I had been born with a love of carnivals, the circus, and a lot of things different from myself, so out popped the beautiful Roxsy Tyler (named after The Rock and Steven Tyler). I’m not quite sure where her attitude comes from. Her humor is definitely reminiscent of The Marx Brothers, though. She’s got a Marx brother sense of humor. It’s sarcastic, it’s quick, and it’s smart.
PopHorror: What is your craziest story since you’ve been doing Roxsy?
Carmela Hayslett: ?It would typically be hard for me to categorize anything as crazy. Horror Hound Weekend in 2011 was a little crazy. The horror hosts had their own room, and when I walked in there, everyone’s crazy matched my crazy. There were maybe 30 to 50 horror hosts in that room for the convention. Never in my life did I walk into a room and have so many people know me and I mutually know them. Before I went there, I suggested we all do a scene from a Marx Brothers movie… one night, we did it, and so many people showed up and helped me make the video. By the way, horror hosts take directions much better than a lot of actors do. Perhaps we should put them in movies!
PopHorror: There are a lot of horror hosts out there. How would you say Roxsy stands out from the rest?
Carmela Hayslett: It’s hard to stand out among a group of people who already stand-out. I don’t think I stand out too much from them, and that’s why they’re my tribe! We’re all weird! I’ve been told I stand out because I’m a female horror host that doesn’t show skin or play any kind of sex card. Roxsy is literally sexy because she’s not trying to be sexy. I don’t show cleavage or leg. I don’t flirt with the male fans. I see why others would… it sells whatever they’re selling. I’m not better than them for it. I was just never like that. I did do a boudoir shoot as Roxsy once but even that was mild.
PopHorror: Besides doing Roxsy, you’ve done a lot of acting in other areas. Tell us about some of those projects
Carmela Hayslett: I did a lot of independent horror movies. I wrote, directed, and starred in a lot of my own short films. I really liked writing my own horror films because I have that classic Twilight Zone way of writing. I did a film called Blood Slaughter Massacre with my friends in Mass Graves Pictures. It was an ’80s slasher film, and I love those type of films, and I love that group of people. I did Zombie Hunters: City of the Damned again with my favorite group of people. I did some feature films with Potent Media. Full disclosure: I’m not a huge fan of a lot of stuff I did with Potent Media. Just not my preference, but I was enriched by the experiences. I was in a Wendy Williams commercial for 2 seconds, too. That was cool… two hours of work and $50 cash money!
PopHorror: You’ve had a rough road last few years. Would you be okay with telling us about that and your journey back to Roxsy?
Carmela Hayslett: As most people know, I was married to the director and main producer of the Potent Media Films. We called it quits two years ago for many, many reasons. It was hard, but I am a better person because of it, and I’m living my life my way. I’m much happier now. I lost everything, though. I lost my house, my ex got rid of a lot of our pets – thankfully, I still have my cats. I lost my set and a lot of resources I had to perform as Roxsy Tyler. He was a backbone for my shows by way of camera operating, music, and sound editing. I will say that when I got to go back to my old home to collect my things… a lot of the Roxsy stuff was rescued by my friend, Damon Malone, at Haven Of Horrors. I was getting stuff from my house, and he went directly to my set and grabbed the set dressings and items from my show. I don’t have to replace those things thanks to him. It was rough, though. I had to completely rebuild my life, and now I’m at a good spot where I can rebuild Roxsy Tyler’s life as well.
I also lost a lot of people from my show but that wasn’t because of the divorce. I previously had a falling out with my original co-host, Johnnie 13, and then my other co-host, Chuck, got married and is living this new life that suits him and makes him happy. I hope if I ask him to make a cameo in the future for my new show that he will be happy to oblige, but I’ll understand if he can’t or doesn’t want to. There’s previous cast and crew from my shows that are still on the wagon, and I’m very grateful that they’re willing to make themselves available when the time comes. My ex-husband did not like my show or my character and was more or less dealing with the horror hosting world for my sake. That will never stop me, though.
PopHorror: What has been your favorite project to work on so far, Roxsy or otherwise?
Carmela Hayslett: Believe it or not, I favored the projects I worked on outside of Potent Media even though I was working for the company. Mass Graves Pictures [Blood Slaughter Massacre] and Devarez Pictures [Zombie Hunters] were just really on par with me as an individual and my interests. They always treated me well on set and off set. I felt more of a kinship with those two companies and the people in them. The only Potent Media picture I ever really favored was our first film, Booley. It was grass roots. Everyone on set was learning, and the movie had a great storyline. I also liked filming with Thomas Berdinski and his films, because he always treated me with respect, and he liked me so much he let me film my scenes in another state.
PopHorror:  What advice would you give to any new horror hosts out there?
Carmela Hayslett: Just do it. Don’t think about it. Just do it. When I did it… it was for the sake of doing it and seeing the reaction. It became the most fulfilling experience of my life. The horror hosting industry is different from any other industry. Even if you’re not presenting your complete idea… you end up getting satisfaction just for trying. I would love to do my show in a fun house… but I don’t have a fun house. I work with what I got, and now here I am, ten years later. The horror hosting industry appreciates the effort as long as you’re committed to your character and what you’re hosting. It doesn’t matter if you’re set is extravagant or if your post-production is on par. It’s really the subject matter and creativity that shines through in this industry. So, you need to just do it.
Roxsy is making her comeback on a show hosted by a person she used to talk to before he became a horror host. That’s Slash from Graveyard Tales. I  was one of the people who told him to go for it, and he did, and he’s prospering now. Not only prospering, but hosting ol’ biddys like me! We need awareness for our craft. A lot of people still don’t know who horror hosts are, so the more people bringing awareness, the better!
PopHorror: Do you do conventions or public appearances where people can meet you? When there is no pandemic, of course.
Carmela Hayslett: ?I usually frequent Monster Mania Con in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. They won’t have me as a guest because the owner hates my ex-husband. They don’t outright say tha,t but it’s been pretty obvious. Still, I’ll walk around there. I also now frequent New Jersey Horror Con. If this pandemic blows over, I intend to reunite with my tribe of horror hosts at Horrorhound Weekend this September.
PopHorror: What are some projects you have upcoming or are currently working on?
Carmela Hayslett: ?I’m taking baby steps with Roxsy Tyler’s comeback right now. We might start hosting 15 minute, monthly episodes where we show and talk about horror trailers. Until that gets up and running, I’m just trying to make appearances as Roxsy wherever Roxsy will be had. I’m not working on outside acting projects other than writing more scripts for short films.
PopHorror: What would you like people to know about you and/or Roxsy?
Carmela Hayslett: Anything you know about Roxsy Tyler might get you investigated or killed.
Thank you, Carmela, for taking the time to talk to us! I’m excited to see what Roxsy does next. If you’d like to keep up with Roxsy Tyler, you can follow her on her FACEBOOK page where she posts regular updates.

About Tim Miller

Tim Miller is a horror author with over 40 books in print in the U.S. and Germany. He lives in Texas which provides him lots of scary locations and ideas to pass on to his readers. His trusty sidekick, a chihuahua named Sancho, sits by his side and supervises his writing activities.

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