Q&A with Kandi Burruss

You'd be hard pressed to find a harder working woman in business then Kandi Burruss. The Atlanta Real Housewife has a hand in the music, reality television, talk show, and sex toy industries, and still finds time to have a life! She'll be sharing some secrets to her success at an upcoming conference on empowering businesswomen, which she told GoGoMix all about, in addition to her tips on blending fun with financial gain, how Queen Latifah inspired her, and just what she does when she isn't out building an empire.

-Adam Downer

GGM: Your conference on empowering businesswomen is coming up. Why was it important for you to set up this event, and what do you hope people take away from it?

KB: The reason I set it up is because among my close group of friends, I’m always the person motivating to do something bigger and better. I’ve guided a lot of my friends to make better and more lucrative decisions. They’re always telling me “Kandi, you should have a class to help other women!” and I finally did it. I’m looking forward to it! I put together a panel of very successful women who have started businesses from the ground up, and what people can take away is a lot of information on how to get started, and secondly, to learn from mistakes I’ve made so they won’t repeat them! I hope to give a lot of positive inspiration to take things to the next level and help women build a network. I’m hoping to find a few people who have small businesses I think could be successful that I’d like to partner with!

GGM: Part of your brand seems to be that you jump into projects almost spontaneously. I remember reading how Kandi Koated Nights started from a conversation with a fan. How do you spot business opportunities and what keeps you reaching into so many different areas?

KB: Put it this way: I think you can make a lot of money doing things you love to do. With a situation like Kandi Koated Nights, that was something I just started doing for fun, but when you see there’s a need or a following for something, there’s money to be made. I started looking at ways to make money. Sometimes things are inspired by it: when I did Kandi Koated Nights, I was inspired to do Bedroom Kandi, cuz I was trying to find a product that would go along with the show about sex and relationships.

I started out in the music industry when I was a teenager. That was my first job, and I’ve never had a job where I’ve worked for somebody else. I’ve always had this fear about what would happen if I wasn’t able to do music anymore. How would I maintain my lifestyle? That’s always driven me to come up with different ideas to make more money. And also be able to be good when I get old.

GGM: Can you tell me about a couple entrepreneurs that have inspired you?

KB: Well, that’s a lot of people! When I look at Oprah, I’m amazed at what she’s doing, and Tyler Perry has become a friend I can reach out too. All the stuff he’s doing inspires me every day. But in the very beginning of my career, I’d have to say the person who inspired me was Queen Latifah. I was at the Lady of Soul Awards with XScape, and she had won the Sammy Davis Jr. Award. At the time she was acting, producing, had a management company, and an artist! I told one of my bandmates “I’m gonna win that award one day.” As soon as I got home, I was like, “What can I do to be like Queen Latifah?” (laughs). I thought about the fact I was already an artist, but managing other artists. I tried management, but I realized it was something I didn’t want to do. Still, I have to give Queen Latifah credit for making me try!

GGM: You mention your music career. Obviously you’re extremely busy, but are there plans for a new album in the future?

KB: I always go back and forth with that. Whenever you do an album, you have dedicate a lot of time to promoting that album, and doing a lot of that stuff. With all the things I’m doing now, I’m like “Do I really wanna take the time to focus on me and just me?” I recently had another label reach out to me interested in doing a project, so I go back and forth. I did recently sign two teenage groups I’m trying to produce. We shall see!

GGM: Obviously a lot of your success has grown from Real Housewives. Are there any reality shows you like in your spare time?

KB: Oh yeah, I watch Love and Hip Hop. I honestly like scripted television, but I tend to see what’s going on in Love and Hip Hop. Every now and then I may check out the Braxtons.

GGM: What are some of your favorite scripted TV shows?

KB: Oh, I got lists and lists! First of all, I love Gotham. I can’t wait till Tyrant comes back on, and Game of Thrones. Obviously I love How to Get Away With Murder. I loooove Empire. I’m a TV fanatic!

GGM: Do you have any favorite movies? A classic that you like to comfort watch?

KB: I could watch The Five Heartbeats over and over again. It has the music, the great story. It’s great. The Wiz… But then I like scary movies! I like everything. I know that sounds crazy. But like, Aliens, the whole series. I love all of em.

GGM: Can you tell me a couple favorite books?

KB: Okay, I was a huge of E. Lynn Harris before he passed. Invisible Life, his first book, is so dope to me.

GGM: Can you tell me a restaurant you have to hit up whenever you hit a certain city?

KB: Well, in Atlanta, I like the vibe of TWO Urban Licks. I’m really easy, though. I don’t need high eating. I love Pappadeux or Houston’s.

GGM: Can you tell me a couple clothing brands you really love?

KB: Well I have a lot of my originals in my closet (laughs). As far as shoes, I have tons of Louboutins.

GGM: And finally, what’s one of the coolest things you own that you got by virtue of being a celebrity? Something you might not have gotten otherwise?

KB: At the Last American Music Awards, they gave us trips, and I got a trip to Bella Vista in Colorado. My whole family got to stay there, and it was amazing.

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