By Amber Riley
The entertainment industry has benefited from 20 years of a candy-coated reign; candy with a K, that is. Kandi Burruss-Tucker is indeed every woman. Anything you want done, she’ll do it, has done it, and is most likely thinking of yet another way to tweak it. Her business savvy has been grossly understated but having a reported net worth in the millions…the proof is in the dollar signs.
Monarch:There has been great feedback from the Xscape reunion…how has it been being back on stage with the ladies?
KANDI BURRUSS-TUCKER: Ummm…being on stage with the ladies is great. You know, I feel like when we started to sing together it was like we never missed a beat. Now when it comes to doing business… that’s a whole other story! But, you know, I feel like overall we still like have the chemistry on stage when we sing together.
Monarch magazine: What is the dynamic between you all now that it has been some years, everyone in the group has lived life…is the chemistry the same?
Kandi Burruss: Nah…I mean…well…okay…let me just say Tiny and I, we have still been friends over the years so it’s not like, you know, it’s that much different with she and myself. But even in doing business together I don’t think any of us think the same. Yeah, I feel like everybody, you know, we’ve all been our own boss for all these years and to have to compromise on a lot of things is just…you know…sometimes they can be a little…a lot to have to deal with.
Monarch magazine: Xscape introduced you to the world…since then you have become this multi-faceted force to be reckoned with. You are indeed every woman…wife, mother…those two things alone are a lot to handle for the average woman…singer, award-winning songwriter, producer, actress, entrepreneur…What kind of mental shape
Kandi Burruss: Hmmm…Well I’m part of team “No Sleep” right now and I’m just going to keep it real. Like sometimes, especially during the time that when we were first rehearsing. Earlier this summer we would rehearse and we were taping the Xscape show, and outside of that I was starting to tape the Housewives and so I was taping two shows at the same time and trying to get prepared for our concerts and all this stuff. And outside of that, dealing with the stuff for my restaurant, keeping that going, my Bedroom Kandi stuff, and TAGS, it was like at certain point I was like, okay I’m used to having a lot on my plate, but even for me, I started wanting to pull my own hair out, like wait a minute. Am I doing too much? But I just think it’s a thing of first of all you have to really want something so badly, like I want for all my businesses to be successful. I have so many more dreams and goals that I want to achieve. And with that being said, I can’t ever get comfortable. I can’t get comfortable in, you know, Oh okay, I’m doing good. No. I’m always trying to figure out, Okay, what’s my next move? How can I take things to the next level? I think anybody who wants to do the same, it’s like you’ve got to be willing to work long hours, team “No Sleep,” and, you know, sacrifice a lot.
Monarch magazine: Since you mentioned it, congratulations on the opening of your restaurant, Old Lady Gang. Where does the courage and initiative to do something else… something different…something new…come from? Especially when the risk is to fail and there are those waiting for you to do so?
Kandi Burruss: Whaaaaaat? Girl! You just do not know! It’s like I feel like people are just like hoping and praying that something doesn’t go right. You know? I hear like even some of the girls on my cast, you know, they be having little jokes, “Oh God, here comes Kandi again with something else.” It’s like yeah I know you’re joking but in a sense then I know there are people who are out there that do get tired of me being able to win or me being able to accomplish things and I just can’t even think about that. I just have to stay focused on what I’m doing and help as many people along the way so that I can have other people in to win with me and just go, just keep going.
Monarch magazine: You’ve been labeled such titles as business genius and serial entrepreneur…Did you ever believe that these terms would be used to describe you?
Kandi Burruss: I don’t think I’ve really thought about it. I never really put a lot of thought into, Oh what will people call me. The one thing that I do want is people to think of me as somebody who’s dependable and that I do what I say I’m going to do. If I say I’m doing it, you can bank on it. I think those are positive things. You know I hate when I see people that are flaky or whatever, so when people look at me, as you know a serial entrepreneur, as long as they’re saying that in a good sense of I’m actually making it work. I see people who would be serial entrepreneurs and they just start one thing and don’t finish it, start another thing and don’t finish it. I just want it to be said in a positive way to where, yeah, I go after things and I accomplish them and I actually put forth real effort and take chances. I’m not afraid to take chances. So I guess if they’re saying it in that sense, I take that positively.
Monarch magazine: What lessons have shaped you into the business-savvy giant you are?
Kandi Burruss: Oh my goodness! I’ve had a lot of lessons along the way. I’ve had a lot of financial lessons from even when I was younger, you know, from having business people take money from you and having to learn all that to now I want to sign all my checks cause I don’t really like having people to have access to my money like that. You know, now I feel like it’s so crazy I feel like people just want to find a way to get in my pocket. You know whether it’s now you got to protect yourself from lawsuits and different things, so it’s so many things that I learned over the years and I’m still learning. How do you recover? I feel like a good businessperson isn’t really a good businessperson until they’ve lost it and been able to get it back. You know what I mean? It’s a lot of times you know you’ll find yourself in a position where, Oh yeah I’m popping, I’m popping, and then, you know, all of a sudden you may have mismanaged something or made a bad deal or whatever. You’ve got to figure out how to make that money back. You have to figure out how to reinvest in yourself and not spend the money. It’s so many things that I’ve learned. I’ve been playing trial and error on myself for a very long time.
While we are all tuned in to RHOA…What are you tuned in to?
Kandi Burruss: Ooh, TV shows I like? Ooh, okay. Of course I like Power. I think everybody likes Power. I love Game of Thrones.
Monarch magazine: Oh my God, yes!
Kandi Burruss: I love Queen of the South. I mean I really like a lot of TV shows so I save them on my DVR and I go back and watch them later. The Walking Dead, I’m a Walking Dead fanatic. Oh, right now I’m into Snowfall. I really like that show. What else? There’s so much. I really like a lot of shows. I like Love and Hip Hop, too. Oh, oh, no! Another one that I just got hooked on is the The Girlfriend Experience on STARZ. It’s good.
Monarch magazine: I’ll have to check some of those out. My husband and I are TV show and movie bingers.
Kandi Burruss: Yeah. That’s what Todd and me do. We like to sit up and watch our favorite shows together. We DVR.
Monarch magazine: How do you feel you have impacted the growth of Atlanta?
Kandi Burruss: Ooh, that’s a good question. Um, well I definitely feel that I have financially put into areas where they were not necessarily the best areas to buy in at first. You know, just pick certain things, whether it was home, you know I’ve bought properties in different areas and fixed them up. I’ve given lots of jobs. At Old Lady Gang, we employ over 90 people. So that’s given lots of business to the city. Every year I bring my Bedroom Kandi convention to Atlanta, hundreds of consultants. That’s bringing money into the city. As well as, you know, my business TAGS brings finance to the city of Atlanta. Old Lady Gang is, you know, I actually fixed up another property in the city of Atlanta. Our offices where Kandi Factory is, it wasn’t necessarily the best area when we first bought in that area. We fixed up the building, we helped bring more growth to that area. So as far as, you know, overall, I’ve helped bring jobs, which is important. Oh, with my foundation, Kandi Cares, I’ve done a lot, you know, for single parents in the city of Atlanta. I’ve done everything from helping mothers directly financially, to every year we normally do things like around the holidays, school givebacks. What else are we doing? Right now we’re set out to do scholarships. I do a lot of things, especially within the city of Atlanta.
Monarch magazine: How does it feel to be an institution in mainstream media?
Kandi Burruss: Uh…I would have to say it feels…awesome? Getting into the business at an early early age, I always had that fear of, Oh my gosh what happens if you fall off, you know, because you always see those stories of artists. They blow up and then they go broke and you don’t ever hear from them again. It was always my dream or my goal to establish my name outside of the group. I used to pray that people would actually know who I was instead of just knowing me as, “Oh yeah that girl from Xscape.” That’s how it started off when I was a teenager. I went from one of them girls from Xscape to where people actually know my name, know me for my own achievements, that I’ve been able to have longevity in the business and help a lot of other people along the way to be able to accomplish a lot of things, which has been very important to me. It’s been a blessing to even be able to continue to do what I love.
Monarch magazine: How important is it to pass this down? Is there an emphasis on creating a legacy?
Kandi Burruss: Oh yes. There’s a huge emphasis on legacy. I’ve been able to do a lot of things. My businesses, Bedroom Kandi, we have over 2,000 consultants across the country that sell our products and Bedroom Kandi is like a real brand. We have Raising Ace now, which is a brand for children that obviously, you know my son, he’s only one, but he’s part owner and that will be able to be carried down, you know. You know the Old Lady Gang is something that my whole family is able to be a part of. For me, this brings me all the joy in the world.
Monarch magazine: How important is the support of your spouse? How does love rank in everything you have going on?
Kandi Burruss: Oh my goodness. I definitely feel like I have a true teammate now, which is what I’ve always wanted. I feel like my husband has definitely made me a better woman, better businesswoman, just better at everything I do. He definitely supports me…cheers me on. He helps me think. Sometimes when I’m just like alright, let’s just do this, he’s like look, you’ve got to break this down, you need to do that, because he brings skills to the table that I didn’t necessarily have. I mean from his production background and how he’s able to put things together and make things happen, definitely with us, I feel like we are a power couple. I feel like there’s a lot of people that are in relationships but you know you don’t always get with somebody who wants to see you win and knows how to help you maneuver situations to build you up, which I love and I appreciate about him.
Monarch magazine: At the end of everything…what is it that you want said of your impact on the world? What do you want your children to have gained from your life?
Kandi Burruss: First of all, I want my kids to gain love from me. I want them to know they are truly loved. I want to be able to set my children up for their future. I don’t want them to not know where they’re going and don’t feel like they have that support system. I want them to know they have an amazing support system. I want them to be able to say my mom, she lived life with no regrets. She was outspoken. She was truthful. She was honest. She helped a lot of people. She was successful. She cared about people. I want them to know that and feel that…truly.
Monarch magazine: What else do we have to look forward to from Kandi? Can there be anything else?
Kandi Burruss: Oh, some more acting opportunities, definitely. We’re announcing our tour Monday, for Xscape. We’re touring the end of the year. The Xscape movie…we are about to start working on. My husband and me are going to be producing a movie together. I have a music project that I’m working on for myself. There’s a whole lot of stuff that we’re trying to put together but I don’t want to talk too far ahead of myself until I can actually and confidently say that you know it’s happening. You know what I mean? I don’t want to just be talking.