A Long Convo With... Tiny & Toya
They're not just T.I.'s and Lil Wayne's baby's mamas. With their No. 1-rated BET reality series, Tiny & Toya, back for a second season—starting April 13—the Atlanta-based tube stars spoke to VIBE about their personal growth, public perception and finding themselves.
VIBE: Were you guys surprised with how well the first season did and that it got picked up again?
Toya: Yeah, I was very surprised. At first, everybody thought it was gon’ be a show about I guess Wayne and T.I. or us shopping all day. So I guess after they saw the show, everybody changed they opinion: “Oh, I like the show, it’s real good.” It was something totally different from what everybody expected it to be.
Tiny: I already felt that it was gonna do good, but I didn’t know it was gon’ be the Number One most rated show in the BET Network history. I was surprised at that. It’s helped me to do more with my businesses and get things off the ground and get more focus on things outside of just being at home chilling, living the life. So now I have my nail shop going and you’ll see the grand opening and all the other things that I had started, like the [Alzheimer’s] foundation that I’m doing for my father, me and Tip are doing together.
Toya, it was your first time being in the public. How was that for you adapting to being noticed more?
Toya: After the show came out, it was totally different. It was a little crazy but it was more of a positive thing than negative. Everybody would come up to me saying how much we inspired them and how good the show was and how strong I am. Some people would come up to me giving me hugs and it wasn’t, “That’s Lil Wayne baby mama,” anymore. It was, “That’s Toya, from Tiny & Toya.”
Do you feel like you got more of an identity through the show?
Toya: Yeah, and I think season two is really gonna help that. Season one did a whole lot.
Tiny, does it seem like people know you now more than Xscape and is that weird?
Tiny: That is weird because Xscape was in the ’90s but Xscape was a pretty good group. We left a mark in the R&B world and I think that people sometimes forget about where I came from initially. Before I was T.I.’s baby mama, before you knew of a T.I. I was Tiny from Xscape.
Tiny, were you hesitant about doing the show at first and facing criticism?
Tiny: Well, I was only hesitant about doing a reality show. Initially, when I came to Toya, I had an idea of doing this sitcom kinda like a Friends or Girlfriends based out of Atlanta. I also had an idea about a talk show too but James [producer James Dubose] just kept coming at us like, “What about reality? I think that’s the move.” We thought about it for a while ’cause that was one thing that we really didn’t wanna do. We didn’t want to be out there in a negative light and most reality shows at that time were always perceived as being negative.