Few reality stars have parlayed their celebrity into a lucrative career as seamlessly as Kandi Burruss. Years after making her debut with Xscape and winning countless awards, the Atlanta native has a whole new group of fans through her Bravo stint and various business ventures, including Bedroom Kandi.
Just two days before Valentine’s Day, we spoke with the recently engaged star about balancing her mother and man on RHOA, an upcoming album and keeping it sexy in the bedroom.
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VIBE Vixen: You’ve conquered music, reality TV and several business ventures. How do you balance it all?
Kandi: I don’t know if I have a formula (laughs). I just try to do…whatever I think is a good business opportunity and is also something that I love doing; anything dealing with entertainment. I don’t want to stress myself out even though sometimes I do, but you know overall, I just want to aim higher. I love accomplishing something new and to be able to say, ‘Okay, I got that notch under my belt.’
Is there one accomplishment that stands above the rest?
Of course, getting the Songwriter of the Year Award at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards. I was the first woman to get it for ASCAP Rhythm & Soul, so that was a major moment because you know as far as me being a woman [and] an African American…that’s always a special feeling.
You’re definitely a full-fledged businesswoman. Did that skill take time to learn?
I think I’ve always been a business-minded person, but at the same time…I had to learn a lot of things as I’m doing it or as I’m making it happen. I’m still learning, but overall, I’ve read a lot of books and I just try to pick up the things I’ve learned and apply it to my own life.
What is the biggest mistake entertainers make when it comes to their finances?
Oh, trying to keep up with the joneses. The entertainment business a lot of times is all about the image and everything that you’re doing. We waste a lot of money. You’re making a million dollars this year, but it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be making a million dollars five years from now. When you’re not number one on the charts anymore, what are you going to do? That’s when you hear the horror stories of people losing their houses; they’re not able to jump and hop the planes like they used to. So you’ve got to find yourself at a place that you can maintain for the long haul. Stack up, save, invest in yourself, invest in a business or something that’s going to make you money outside of the entertainment business.
Tell us more about your new single, “Let Them Love” and the soundtrack and DVD coming in the spring.
“Let Them Love” is off the soundtrack from the musical that Todd and I produced called The Mothers Love and basically the song is all about feeling someone or others trying to prevent that person from being in love. Do you and let them do them. I know a lot of people can relate, but I use everything that’s going on in my personal life. When we wrote the musical, I did like 17 songs for the play. We’re going to put them all on a soundtrack and we also shot a DVD of the play out in April.
We’ve watched try to balance a relationship with Todd and your mother on Real Housewives of Atlanta. What is your advice for women in the same situation?
I do believe in respecting your parents, but when you’re grown, you have to make your own decisions. At the end of the day, you have to make yourself happy. I just have to say go with your heart; listen and take in what your parents have to say and keep it in the back of your mind, but don’t let that make the decision for you.
They already had the opportunity to make the decisions for their own life, so you have to have the same rights. In my situation, sometimes things get out of hand because my mom can be a little disrespectful to Todd and that’s what makes it hard. He always keeps in mind that I want him to be respectful of my mother, but he doesn’t always get the same respect in return. That’s where the problem lies, but we’re working on it (laughs).
What is one thing fans of the show would be surprised to know about Todd?
Todd is laid back on the show, but he’s a very strong, opinionated dude. He’s definitely the man of our household and he lets it be known how he wants things to be. People look at me as an aggressive businesswoman and I guess they don’t understand that I do give him the utmost respect as the man of our house. He’s a great, smart, business-minded person.
Would you say you both maintain a traditional home?
I think our household is traditional. Even though I do make more money, he still…wants to be the one who pays the bills and that’s fine by me. And it’s traditional as in I do give him the utmost respect. Now one thing that I will say; if I want to have friends over he’ll say, ‘I don’t think we need to have all these people over the house and blah blah blah,’ but when his friends come over, everything’s all good. It’s such a double standard.
Do you have Valentine’s Day plans?
Yea, it’s going to kind of be a work weekend. I know it sounds crazy, but he’s cool with it because we’re going to go to New Orleans; Toya, Rashida, myself and Phaedra. We’re all going to be doing things. I may have a Bedroom Kandi pop-up shop at Toya’s store there. And we’re going to be hosting different parties. There’s just going to be the four of us couples kicking it and getting some money at the same time.
If you had to suggest a Bedroom Kandi product for single ladies, what would it be?
‘Happiness and Joy’ is great because it’s a duel stimulating vibrator/personal massager. And it’s the bomb because it vibrates on the inside and the outside, so both your spots tickle at the same time and then it also vibrates to music. I personally love the ‘Candy Pop’ or the ‘Lipstick;’ most women like it because it doesn’t look like a vibrator.
There’s multiple things I would suggest for couples. For one, I love our edible massage oil candles. When you burn them, they smell good, but as they melt, they turn into massage oil and you can pour it directly on the body and it feels good when you rub it in. You can also lick it directly off the body and it’s vegan friendly. The ‘Rise and Shine’ goes around the base of the man’s penis and it keeps them harder longer, but then on the outside, it definitely feels good on the woman. Another product I suggest is ‘Make Me Over.’ When you take the little vibrator out of the case, it looks like a powder puff, but the diameter is a nice width. You know how the powder puff for your face has a little handle on it? Let’s say he’s hitting it from the back; he can put that in his hand and hold it up against your clitoris in the front. It’s an amazing feeling because a lot of men really don’t know where that spot is on the outside, but because it’s so wide, it doesn’t matter. As long as he’s in the vicinity, it’s the right spot.
Are there plans to expand the line?
Yea, we’re getting new products every day. We have Bedroom Kandi consultants, so we do our big convention every year in August. Most of those items are for our in-home party network, so the women have special items that they get to sell that you can’t buy in the store. If anybody is interested in being a consultant, we have the program out there because a lot of the women that are Bedroom Kandi consultants are getting like 50 percent of everything we sell.
If you could provide one piece of bedroom advice for Valentine’s Day, what would it be?
Always be open-minded and try new things. A few extra little goodies or extra toys in the bedroom only make it better. I feel like guys are afraid of toys. If you want to introduce toys in the bedroom, I would never get a vibrator that looks like a penis because that’s intimidating to men. I would try to get something like small items that are just to hold on the clitoris because they won’t feel intimidated because they know you’re not trying to replace them.