Vixen Exclusive: Yandy Smith Talks "Love & Hip-Hop 2" Debut + Everything Girls Love Accessories
If you don’t know who Yandy Smith is, get familiar. This boss Vixen is definitely a woman to be watched! Currently the president of Monami Entertainment, alongside founder, Mona Scott Young, Yandy is transitioning from behind the camera to the front of the lens as the sixth cast member of Love & Hip Hop. This November, the Harlem, New York native (and Howard University alum) is a well-respected force in the music industry. Having worked with artists such as 50 Cent, Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes under Violator Entertainment, this proverbial peacemaker is the manager of Jim Jones and the glue which holds the Dipset crew together. Ready to show the world she’s more than just Jim Jones’ manager, will she convince viewers it takes more brains than beauty to make it in hip-hop? Check out VIBE Vixen’s exclusive interview with Yandy Smith as she opens up about her personality, Love & Hip-Hop Debut, Everything Girls Love brand and more!
How did you originally get involved with the music industry?
When I graduated from Howard [University], I thought I was going to get into Entertainment Law, but then I got an internship with Violator Management, just to see what it was all about. I fell in love with hip-hop, as cliché as that sounds, and I opted not to pursue my law degree and go full speed ahead into management.
One of your main clients happens to be Jim Jones, your castmate Chrissy’s significant other. When did your business relationship begin?
I met Jim on a private jet. Russell Simmons was going to Detroit for a hip-hop summit, and I was doctored in. I was an ambassador for Dr. Ben Chavis to help get young people to vote. Jim happened to be the person I was sitting next to on the jet, and we started talking about how he wanted to break into the hip-hop world as far as being an artist goes but he had been managing The Diplomats and he was trying to put an album out. This was right when Pro-Tools just came out, and he was talking about the system and the possible addition of a booth at home. We exchanged information, and I let him know I worked at this managing firm and I let him know I was down to help him. I gave him my number, but I didn’t know that would lead to a call everyday about needing DVDs or help elsewhere. It got to a point where I told him, 'You’re going to need to pay me, if you want me to do this at my job.' That’s how the ball really got rolling. I was helping Mona out with the clients at Violator, but I was also doing work for Jim during or after work as well.
Now, how did you get onboard for Love & Hip Hop?
Originally, the show came about through an idea I pitched to VH1 called Keeping up with the Joneses about Jim. We shot a pilot for it, and it was great. VH1 wanted to see more, but, after a while, there were issues going on within the camp which didn’t allow for Jim to give what the network wanted. Stack Bundles got killed and Max B got arrested. When you’re taping a show, it’s not just the cameras are on you, you have to be at certain places at certain times to follow up with various storylines. At that point, Jim had too much going on in his life. I went to Mona for help because I didn’t want to lose the show at VH1. She had another show she was pitching to another network about the women behind the men in hip-hop. So I asked her if she work Jim, Chrissy and Jim’s mother into the mix. She came up with the idea of finding women who were in the hip-hop industry and sprinkle them around Jim so he’s not that overwhelmed and it could be a great show.
Did you face any difficult moments being the new girl?
I never felt like the new girl because I fit in with any and everybody. I’m comfortable in own skin, so if you say, 'No, we don’t know you,' I’m still like, 'Okay, cool.' So being new didn’t bother me at all. I got reacquainted with Olivia. We used to manage her at Violator when she was in the group, and I never got the chance to peel back the layers to get to know who she really was a person. Working closely with her now on the show, she’s a beautiful person, driven and focused on coming out and being a superstar. I think she’ll make it.
Kimbella mentioned you two as friends in an interview with Vixen.
I first met Kim at a concert; Juelz brought her. I was skeptical at first because Juelz is like my brother. I’m very over-protective of him, so I had to get to know her first. But once I got to know her and saw the type of woman she was, she was way more than what meets the eye. She’s a great mom, very compassionate, good-hearted, and I just took a very strong liking to her. Then, she moved up to New York and didn’t know anybody, so I had to show her around, take her out, and help her out with her new baby. We grew very close from that.
With the reports swirling around about Kimbella and altercations between certain cast members, how do you feel about it?
As far as the Fab situation, everyone has a past. There was a time when we all have been single and, I don’t think that should matter if we were single. It wasn’t even worth bringing up. Even if [Kimbella] did date [Fab], that’s not a bad thing. He’s a good-looking dude. I don’t see the hurt or harm, especially if she didn’t know he had a prior situation. As far as if someone attacking her, that would be hard for any friend to see or deal with, and of course you’d want to protect your friend. I’m just a peacemaker all around. I hate drama, cattiness and foolishness, so being in the middle of it, I’m like, Oh my gosh. I have to stop this. I have to make this right. That’s the part where I get caught up in the show.
Tell me about your accessories brand.
Everything Girls Love was started when I found out I got casted for the show. I looked at the ratings, how often it’s played, the viewership, and thought, People lie, but numbers don’t lie. I’m going to start something. I don’t know what it is yet, but this is a commercial platform for whatever I’m starting. I looked around my room and saw all of the accessory trees and jewelry boxes and realized that I was going to do accessories. I had a friend who worked at Saks or Bergdorf Goodman in the accessories department, so I asked for her help and made her my partner. We came up with designs, went to Japan, ordered samples, came back and I loved every single thing! I started doing this three months before the show, and it just kept expanding into loungewear and makeup.
Right now it’s starting out as a jewelry line, but we’re getting back samples of the loungewear and the nail polish now. We’re moving. So why not advertise it once a week, four times a day for 10 weeks? Why not! I’m not putting limitations on anything I do. Today at the taping, they asked me is management the end-all-be-all to everything I do? I said, 'No.' I’m not putting limitations at anything at all.
See the supertrailer for Love & Hip Hop 2 here!