Yandy Smith On Being “The Don King Of Reality TV,” And Whether Or Not She’s Keeping Up With The Joneses

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Now that her first season in front of the camera is over, we spoke to Yandy Smith to see what she thought about being on Love And Hip Hop. For those who may not know, Yandy helped create the show and worked behind the scenes during the first season, so she’s been involved with it longer than most of the cast, despite this being her first time on screen. She attributes much of the drama this season not to her personality or her actions, but to the producers’ desire for good television. She resents being called “the Don King of reality television” she tells me, but she’s learned to roll with the gossip and chatter that people feed on. Oh, and she would also like Beyonce to know that she never meant any harm with that tweet about Blue Ivy. Check out our whole chat with Yandy below.

What are your thoughts on the recap episode?

I was a little apprehensive, I was a little upset at the last few episodes with Erica and I was like “Oh my god, you guys made it look like I was setting Kim up!” so I was kind of upset with production and Mona [Scott-Young] and I was like, why aren’t we doing a regular reunion show, I want to address people and certain things that were said and done, and Mona was like well, Chrissy doesn’t want to tape with you. I was like with me?? Why not? So I was like, I only want to do it if I can address the things that have happened because I don’t like looking a certain type of way.

Was there anything that you didn’t get to talk about that you wish you did?

We didn’t get to talk about all the girls, and there are certain things I really like about each of them, even Chrissy. I just wish there wasn’t so much craziness and drama and separation.
What’s the difference actually living through some of these situations we’ve seen vs. seeing what the producers and editors chose to put out there?

In retrospect looking at it now? You know, taping the show, there was so many things I loved that we taped. And then when I actually looked at the show, there was moments when I was disappointed because I felt like, oh my God you had such great content and you didn’t even…You know, I understand production. I understand, you know, what goes into making a great show and what the viewers want to see. So, I applaud production for figuring out, you know, they like seeing this kind of stuff so we’re going to focus on that. I get it. But you know, there were so many other things that I felt like were great that weren’t shown on the show.

I know that you were around for the filming on season one. I don’t know what your role was though. Were you on the set a lot?

No, I pitched the show but it was called, “Keeping Up With the Joneses.” I pitched it. We couldn’t really get Jim to commit the way we needed him to, so I called my good friend Mona and she came in and she was pitching a show to another network about the women behind the scenes in hip-hop. So we put our brains together, and we figured out that we did the same kind of concept that she had but with Jim and Chrissy. Season one, I was actually overseas with Missy Elliott. I was overseas for three months, and that was the whole taping. I came back the day of Chrissy’s proposal to Jim and I was there for that. You’ll see me on clips briefly in that proposal scene.

Can you compare seasons? I’m wondering if you had any hesitation about being on the show because you knew how reality works.

You know, I didn’t have any hesitation going in. My only hesitation was just I hate being in front of a camera. I don’t like taking pictures. I felt like if I could send a message out there to women, to girls, like, “Hey! You can drive a fabulous car. You can live in a great condo. You can do these things, but work for it. Not everyone who has these things was lucky to find a man in the industry or have a rich husband or rich father of their child. Not all of us have that story.” I just wanted to show there were other ways to get this lifestyle. I had no idea what it would turn in to. I hope that message wasn’t lost, you know, with all the craziness that happened.

Have you spoken to Jim at all since everything ended?

Nope, I haven’t.

And what about your relationship with Mama Jones?

I’ve spoken to Mama Jones…a bunch of times. I just spoke with her yesterday. Things are okay with her and I. She got mad at the last episode, but other than that…well not the last episode, she got mad when Chrissy and I got into it at the club. She was like, “That was unnecessary!” People don’t understand that when you’re human, you can only hold your composure but for so long, especially if it’s not who you really are. I’m not someone who gets talked to crazy or one that gets mistreated. You know, I have pretty good relationships. I’ve always maintained my relationships, so that was really difficult for me to keep biting my tongue. Someone just kept picking at me. You know? It was just difficult. It got to a point where I just got really tired and I was like, “You know what? I’m going to quit because I don’t ever want to disrespect someone’s lady.” So that’s when I just felt like maybe the best thing for me to do is just walk away from the situation to make things a little easier for him.

You reiterated that you had nothing but good intentions with Chrissy, but she kept taking everything to mean something else, something maybe a bit more hurtful.

I think there were things that she was bothered by. But she couldn’t say those things on TV so she picked what would look good and make the most sense. Which really didn’t because no one should get mad off of a gift about, you know, being a better daughter-in-law. That should never have gotten blown out of proportion the way it did, especially when we’ve had a thousand and one conversations about, “Why can’t Nancy and I get along?” You know, it was a help guide. It was just a nice gesture. I know some of the viewers thought like, “Oh my gosh! How could you give her a book?” But really, it wasn’t a big deal. And there wasn’t anything wrong with that. What happened was our relationship wasn’t defined, Chrissy and I, so it could have been that they didn’t know the background that she’s had numerous conversations with me about Nancy. In the reunion show, it wasn’t the book that bothered her. It wasn’t the book at all and we addressed that. Chrissy says, “I don’t care about that book, and I don’t care about the dance you did to Mama Jones’s song.” She’s like, “Let’s just make it good TV. I’m just going to argue with you about something because you’re the only one that’s going to argue with me.” There were so many other things going on in her mind that she got mad at that she felt like let me blow this book up so that my anger makes sense.

Do you take any comfort knowing that her anger and her feelings weren’t only directed at you? She had her fight with Kimbella. She’s had her history with Somaya—

Then Olivia for a little bit.

Exactly.

I don’t take comfort in knowing that because I think it’s sad, you know? I don’t take comfort in knowing that someone’s so bothered and just so unhappy that they have to find something to pick at. That doesn’t make me happy. That doesn’t make me comforted. I wish she could’ve been happy and have enjoyed taping and had a great experience from it. I do not find comfort in knowing that, you know, she had to find someone to pick at every season or every episode.

I know that a lot of people are like, “Yandy keeps bringing conflict and the wrong people into the mix.”

Well, again, that’s something that the viewers might not understand. You have to include the cast members, people who are contracted to be a part of this ensemble. I didn’t have say whether I could meet with Erica or not. You know, she told me she wanted to be managed by me. The producers set up the meeting, and then she was going to be a cast member. I didn’t know Erica prior to the producers introducing her to me. We don’t really have say with who we bring to lunches. They take a storyline and they move with it. And that’s really the bottom line. That’s why I really like this recap show because it kind of gives you background as to what’s going on and why certain things happen. So I hate when people say, “Ohh! Yandy’s the Don King of reality TV. She’s setting up fights. Yandy’s messy. She’s an instigator.” And I’m like, “I didn’t do it! They told me to bring them! I didn’t know they were going to fight!” How would anyone know that Chrissy was going to react like that with Kim? Who would know that?

You’ve been the target of rumors, including one about you being pregnant, how do you handle that?

It’s crazy. I’ve heard I got a nose job, people put up before and after pictures of me, but they don’t know about makeup contouring. I’ve heard that I have butt implants. I’ve heard that I hosted a party at a gay and lesbian club so I’m a lesbian, I’ve heard so many crazy things, I don’t know how to explain it. I think people are used to it and know that it’s nonsense. Every single week I hear something new about me and it’s 98& false and 2% okay, I’ll give you that, maybe I gained weight so my boobs look bigger and I do look fatter.

Does anything hurt your feelings?

Most of it! But I’m pretty grounded. At first I would get so defensive but now I’m like, you know what? I won’t let that stuff define me, I’ll just roll with the punches.

What’s going on with your jewelry line?

It’s going really well! We’re calling it a lifestyle brand, EverythingGirlsLove.com is the name of the jewelry line and the online magazine. It launched when the show launched and it’s doing amazingly well in such a short time. We have Karen Gravano from Mob Wives on the cover now, last month we had Mashonda, the first month I was on the cover.

I love when I find out that all our VH1 casts like each other.

Even if I wasn’t on this show, VH1 has become my favorite channel.

Do you have a favorite show?

I love T.I. and Tiny. Their kids are the cutest kids I’ve ever seen in my life. And I love Mob Wives. And please, when Basketball Wives comes back, that sets it all off.

Now that you have a big Twitter following, do you feel like you have to choose your words more carefully now?

I’ve responded to people that irk me and it’s ended up in magazines, “Yandy Smith of Love And Hip Hop said…” and I’m like, I was just being sarcastic!

Things blew up when you made a joke about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s baby.

That was so hurtful because I am the biggest Beyonce fan. And the biggest Jay fan, contrary to what people may think because of Jim, I love Jay. I wrote congratulations, hope the baby’s healthy, even though LOL she’s already been here a month, and I wrote that, you know, because that’s what everybody else was saying, it was an ongoing joke people had, and that was on every website and it was like “Industry insider blows Beyonce up!” it was in magazines, and I was like why does the world think I know Beyonce? I don’t know her! I’m just a fan like you are! I have met her several times, like in green rooms at award shows, and I just felt really bad and I hope it doesn’t get back to her or she thinks I was trying to be hurtful, that is so far from who I am. You can say that kind of thing to your girlfriends, but you have to be so careful when the world is watching.

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