Yandy Smith is back and in full beast mode.
After taking some time to focus on her new husband, new baby and new roles, the reality star and entertainment mogul returns to work and to the small screen on the December 14th premiere of Love and Hip-Hop New York.
With fresh artists on her roster and expanding her successful lifestyle brand Everything Girls Love, Yandy is doing it all, including being a mother and wife, building the careers of others and throwing events to help young women network in their own careers. With everything on her plate, Yandy still took time to talk with us about this new season in her career and personal life.
What can we expect this season, especially from the newcomers?
“You’re going to see some up and coming artists fight for their spot, figuratively and literally. You’ll definitely sense the pressure they’re under to make things happen for themselves. Another thing about this season is these folks make sure they’re understood—they make you understand and take note. New people who aren’t groomed when it comes to TV are more raw and show the most hunger to make their dreams come true, and you’ll see that for a lot of them this is do or die, all or nothing.”
What else do you have going on behind the scenes?
“I just wrapped my first book called Brand My Billions, and it’s basically my insight on the industry and tips for being a branding mogul. It’ll show you how to build and brand yourself. I’m going to release that as an online book. I also plan to go on a college tour promoting the book and speaking to young women about the importance of branding. I want to be able to reach those who are in the planning stages on how to build their empire.”
How do you balance everything?
“Balance is really the story of my life right now. Being a mom and being a wife, plus being a business woman is a lot to handle. My free time is always spent doing something. I think when you prioritize the things in your life, then it all works out. You make time for what you want to make time for and that’s what I do.”
What don’t you make time for?
“I’m not really big into social media and all of that because I’m living and dealing with life. Like I said, I have a lot of roles and I take them all seriously. I think people nowadays spend too much time reading timelines, trying to put this and that together or keep up with this and that. They aren’t handling their own business, aside from not minding it. I get on social media to post about my brands and my work and a couple things, but I don’t get too wrapped up in that. I feel like people waste their time watching other people live. I feel like that time could’ve been spent doing something for yourself.”
How do you prioritize things?
“To me, it all intertwines. I have a schedule set. The mornings I dedicate to my kids. Little Mendeecees goes to school super early so we’re up getting him ready. Then when he’s off to school that’s when I go and handle my business in the office/studio. My office is at my studio and I own my studio, so my kids can be there with me if I want. When [Little Mendeecees] is back, it’s back to being a mom and wife cooking dinner and spending time with my family. In this industry it’s hard to get everything done that I want to, but I have a support system to help me along the way. I keep really smart and supportive people around me to help me run my businesses while I do other things. To me, it’s key to have a team of people to help you build your empire. No one can do it alone and people fail when they try and do it that way.”
How do you feel about Mona Scott Young receiving the VH1 Big in 2015 Award?
“She’s so worthy of the award. I’ve known her for 12 years and she’s been at the forefront of everything. She’s had a hand in the careers of so many, including my own. I credit a lot of my success and longevity in this business to her. I call her mentorship the ‘Mona School Of Hard Knocks.’ She’s a hard teacher, but good teacher. She’s helped me build my empire! I’m glad people are starting to take note.”
Do you serve as a mentor to others?
“Everyone wants a mentor, but people don’t always say what they have to offer to the mentor. And what I mean by that is partnership. When someone asks to work with me, or wants me to ‘mentor’ them, I ask what they can give in return. It’s not even money—it can be be you taking time to help me out with a project, event, or even in my office. Everyone loves something for free and loves help. It should be a give and take relationship. It shouldn’t be a job for me to mentor you, it should be a mutual relationship. I think women should be more willing to help each other out and it be a circle of giving and taking.”
Are there any women you look up to?
“Everyday women who get up, go to work, and do their thing inspire me. The women who get up, get the kids off to school, take the train to work, take care of their man, and run s*it in the office inspire me to get things done. Often times these everyday women don’t receive recognition, but they do the damn thing on a daily basis and they do it well. I admire the women who are Oprah in board room and super hero at home.”