Kandi Burruss Always Means Business!
How the reality star juggles motherhood, marriage and managing more than a few businesses
Kandi Burruss’ social media profile seems to grow every single week. At the time of writing, she had gained 100,000 followers on Instagram in just one week, bringing her follower count to 5.8 million. She also has 1.8 million followers on Twitter and 100,000 subscribers on YouTube, all of which clearly point to Kandi’s incredible work ethic and determination to make her dreams a reality.
It was during the ‘90s that her career kicked off, when she started a girl group called XSCAPE. Since then, she’s had albums that have gone platinum, has written the songs “No Scrubs” for TLC, and “Bills, Bills, Bills” for Destiny’s Child, and in 2009, Kandi joined The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which launched her into a new level of stardom and has made her a household name.
She runs her own businesses, is a full-time reality TV star, and is raising her 22-year-old stepdaughter, Kaela Tucker, 16-year-old daughter, Riley, and her two-year-old son, Ace. At only 42 years old, Burruss has established an empire for herself, is in a loving relationship with her husband, Todd and has also done everything in her power to be as involved in her kids’ lives as much as possible. She sat down with INBETWEEN to talk about the 11th season of The Real Housewives, regulating social media for her teen, and how she keeps her newest business venture, Kandi Koated Beauty, hustling.
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA
It’s not unusual for a Real Housewives series to continue for more than 10 seasons – especially when you factor in the plethora of life-changing events that are too large or drama-filled to cover within just one show. Burruss has seen great success with The Kandi Factory and Kandi’s Wedding spinoffs, with the latter bringing in huge ratings for Bravo. The 11th season is currently airing and brings with it the same flair from previous seasons, but with a little more emotion.
“It’s more focused on real-life stories and situations that people are going through,” says Burruss. “We’re trying to support each other a bit more and pay attention to what’s happening in each other’s lives.”
It’s no secret that Kandi has had to butt heads with other stars on the show, like NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak, but more recently, she’s also had to handle comments that have been written about her on social media platforms. “Now everybody is chiming in on everything you do, and everybody has an opinion. People can be very harsh,” she says. “But this is my 10th season on the show and my skin has gotten so tough that there’s nothing anyone can say to me that will hurt or break me.”
CONQUERING THE SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD
Beyond the sting of comments from users on social media, the power of its multiple platforms has been a game-changer for Kandi. “I feel like [it] has done wonders for small business owners and independently owned businesses, because it’s marketing! You can market yourself, market your business, and you have other people you can talk to at any time about anything you’re doing.”
REGULATING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR HER TEEN
It’s no secret that Burruss is tough and remains true to herself on her shows, and in her off-camera life, and she’s hopeful that these traits will be passed on to her 16-year-old daughter, Riley. “You have to have a serious talk with your kids about social media. I think you have to [talk about] how to deal with people making up pages just to say negative things about you, but who are only doing it to get your attention, [so you have to learn not to] take anything to heart,” she says. “[Riley has] really built up that thick skin because she went through some weight issues when she was younger. I’d post a picture and people would comment on her weight and that hurts a kid’s feelings, but she now recognizes trolls and that those people are just doing it to get a rise out of you.”
KEEPING FAMILY CLOSE
Between managing her businesses, being on a hit reality TV show, growing her brand on social media, and raising her kids, Burruss stays busy, but she has her family and team to help her. “There has been a lot going on for years, and since I’ve been touring with my group, I’ve been away a lot and that was hard for the family, but we made it work. I have people who help and I know some women don’t want babysitters, but I believe in the power of a babysitter,” she says, laughing. “I feel like it’s very important to have a little getaway or something similar, because it’s really helpful for you as well as your marriage, and having family around to help with taking care of kids is a big part of making that happen.”
Having also had experience as a single mom, she learned how to balance life priorities while also being an example to her daughter of what a hard-working mom does. “If you can team up with another mom in a similar situation and help each other out, it really makes a difference. Back when Riley was small, one of my friends was in medical school and she also had a daughter. What we would do was this: if my friend had something to study for, I would take both girls, keep them busy with activities and she’d do the same for me when I needed help,” Burruss says. “Because of that, our daughters never felt like their moms didn’t have time for them; they would just think they had a chance to have a fun time with their friend.”
SOME NEW KANDI
Her newest venture, a luxury cosmetic brand called Kandi Koated Beauty, launched this fall and is an initiative designed to help women slay and feel their best. “I feel like it feels good to step out and have a little oomph when you leave the house,” she says. “When I had Ace, of course, I retained weight after delivering him, but I came home and the very next day I woke up and put my makeup on! I know that sounds crazy, but it made me feel better because I was looking good. Sometimes it just feels better to give yourself a little boost, and I think it’s important for the products used to be quality products that are affordable, which is what we’re bringing with Kandi Koated Beauty.”
Along with the product launch, there are online tutorials that guide consumers on how to use products, and, says Burruss, a narrowed focus on the line keeping up with the latest in beauty trends. “We’ve got really great shadow shades, and the most vibrant lip colours, from gloss to lipsticks, because that’s what sells first and we want to give you all of them!” she says. “There are a few upcoming formulations we’re still trying to perfect but, in general, when it comes to every product we sell, we check everything multiple times before we decide it’s ready for the public. We’re so proud of and excited about our process.”
ADVICE FOR DREAMERS
For those who hustle hard and dream big, Burruss is a perfect role model. On top of being a full-time mom and celebrity, she runs a host of successful businesses, including Raising Ace, Old Lady Gang, Bedroom Kandi, Kandi Koated Nights, Kandi Koated Beauty, and is living proof that hard work pays off. “A lot of people say I’m inspirational and I appreciate that I give them motivation, but I always tell them I’m not different than anyone else. I go hard for what I want, I never tell myself I can’t do something, and I’m a member of #TeamNoSleep,” she says with a laugh. “I think most people don’t accomplish what they want because they never get started in the first place. Take the first step in figuring out what you want to do or how much something is going to cost before you say you can’t. You’re going to tell yourself that you can’t do something? You can’t do that. You have to be your own cheerleader and constantly remind yourself that you can do it and not get frustrated when things don’t work out the first or second time. Don’t talk yourself out of your dream. The same way I’m out here making things happen, you can do the same, too!”
By Mariam Ahmed