Today marks nine years since the the passing of Aaliyah Dana Haughton during a horrific plane crash in the Bahamas. MTV News spoke to one of her mentors, friend and frequent collaborators Missy Elliott who shared some of her favorite Aaliyah memories.

MTV: I’m sure you have so many memories of Aaliyah. What was it like the first time you met her?

Elliott: When me and Tim first went to work with her, we were so nervous. She was such a big star, and I was scared she was gonna be some diva, sipping on tea, with people fixing her hair and nails, and she would say, “What is this music you got! It’s wack!” But when we walked in the studio, her smile made the whole room glow! She was like “Heyyyyy!” and gave us big hugs and made us feel like we were her cousins from down South. She was a very sweet spirit! Never seen her angry as long as I’ve known her, and in this business, that’s unheard of!

MTV: What memory do you revisit most when you think about Aaliyah?

Elliott: We’ve had so many memorable times. My most memorable is when me, her and Tim wore outfits alike! It was burgundy Pony outfits to the awards. Mind you, Aaliyah was petite so her Pony outfit looked so cute on her, but I kept looking at mine during the awards whispering to her saying, “I feel like a big-ass pony for real!” And we laughed and laughed! Too many memories to state them all! If she was still with us, she would still be at the top. Because she always stayed pushing herself to be better.

For the full conversation and Drake’s open letter to Aaliyah check after the jump…..

MTV: When you look around today at some of the current R&B stars, who do you see traces of Aaliyah’s influence in?

Missy Elliott: I think it’s hard for Aaliyah to be duplicated, because she had her own lane. But Ciara is an R&B singer who loves to dance, and Aaliyah was that same kinda artist. We knew when she dropped a record, we couldn’t wait for the video. I think Aaliyah has influenced artists like a Ciara.

MTV: How do you spend a day like this, where everyone is mourning the anniversary of your friend’s passing?

Elliott: I plan to spend my day the same as any other day, because there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of [Aaliyah] or watch a video or play her music. I miss her every day.

MTV: Do you know of any update on the plans for an Aaliyah movie?

Elliott: As far as a movie for Aaliyah, I’ve been hearing some things but don’t know how true they are, and out of respect for her family, I would wait until they announce it. That way we will know it’s a fact.

MTV: I’m sure you have so many memories of Aaliyah. What was it like the first time you met her?

Elliott: When me and Tim first went to work with her, we were so nervous. She was such a big star, and I was scared she was gonna be some diva, sipping on tea, with people fixing her hair and nails, and she would say, “What is this music you got! It’s wack!” But when we walked in the studio, her smile made the whole room glow! She was like “Heyyyyy!” and gave us big hugs and made us feel like we were her cousins from down South. She was a very sweet spirit! Never seen her angry as long as I’ve known her, and in this business, that’s unheard of!

MTV: What memory do you revisit most when you think about Aaliyah?

Elliott: We’ve had so many memorable times. My most memorable is when me, her and Tim wore outfits alike! It was burgundy Pony outfits to the awards. Mind you, Aaliyah was petite so her Pony outfit looked so cute on her, but I kept looking at mine during the awards whispering to her saying, “I feel like a big-ass pony for real!” And we laughed and laughed! Too many memories to state them all! If she was still with us, she would still be at the top. Because she always stayed pushing herself to be better.

Props to MTVNews

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One of the more anticipated tracks on one of 2010′s most anticipated albums was a cut called “Unforgettable” which rapper Drake and producers Boi-1Da & 40 created off inspiration from Aaliyah. The song off Drake’s Thank Me Later LP features Young Jeezy and samples the late Aaliyah’s “At Your Best”.

Drizzy sent an open to Aaliyah via Guest Blog on RapRadar.

Dear Dana,

I’ve never lost a parent, a friend, or a lover but I will never forget this day for the rest of my life. I remember getting the news that you had passed and it connected with my heart like a clean shot from Muhammad Ali. I was crushed. Not only was I one of your biggest fans but I was truly in love with you. I loved the way you carried yourself, the way you dressed, the confidence with which you addressed passion and relationships in your music. I said to myself that even if we never met, I wanted a woman in my life just like you. I am pained that we will never get to connect now that music ended up being my career path. But you should know, we all listen to you everyday and we remain inspired and moved by all that you’ve given the world. I hope I make the right life choices so I can end up in heaven where I know you rest your head. I’ll continue to make music in your honor until the day we finally meet. Dinner’s on me!

Love you always and forever,

Drake