Another day, another check for Karlie Redd.
The star, who we know best from Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, is part of the cast of a series spinoff, Family Reunion: Love & Hip Hop Edition. The six-episode special brings together fan favorites from the four different L&HH franchises to talk love, marriage, divorce, and the Black Lives Matter Movement, among other things (including some drama).
When we talked to Redd about the series last week, it was just one of many opportunities and bag-bringing jobs Redd currently has on her plate. She’s a cast member on Saints and Sinners on Bounce TV, she just joined the cast of a popular BET comedy (can’t reveal which one just yet but it’s big) and she most recently opened her first restaurant in Atlanta, Johnny’s Chicken & Waffles, which she started alongside Ne-Yo and his wife Crystal Smith. Open for just about a month, there are two locations in Atlanta, and she’s eyeing spots for the restaurant in the Northeast. And don’t forget about her boutiques, Merci.
Despite what people might see from Redd on Love and Hip Hop, behind the scenes, she’s created quite the empire for herself by making smart business decisions. We talked with her about how keeping her age to herself while people searched in a frenzy about it on Google was one of them. She also talked about her daughter, Jasmine, featured in Family Reunion, being her “heir,” and how she’s helping others reach their own dreams while making a pretty penny. She shared about all those things, in addition to spilling some tea about dating after divorce, doing IVF solo, and where her relationship stands now with former BFF Sierra Gates after she attacked Redd in Season 9.
MadameNoire: For Family Reunion, you actually bring family along. You bring your daughter Jasmine along for the ride. It’s not that you ever hid her obviously, but in the years you’ve been on Love and Hip Hop, hers wasn’t a presence we would get to see that often. How did it come about that she would be a part of this spinoff?
Karlie Redd: I think you said it best. The series is about a family reunion and my daughter is my family. Aside from my sister and my mom, she’s the only thing I have left. She’s my heir. Of course I’ll bring my daughter along for a family reunion.
She is your twin by the way. You do get sick of people saying that?
I hear that fifty million times a day [laughs] All day every day! I swear, one day I’m going to dress her up as I dress and say, “Go about the day as me and see if anybody will notice [laughs].” When we’re together they’re like, “Is that Karlie? I’m not sure” She kind of talks like me. So just go along the whole day, go to all my businesses, walk in as if she’s me. See what happens. And you know what? We’re gonna film it! I think that would be funny.
You should! I see also according to the previews that Joc is there as well as his son. The son was trying to make a move on Jasmine, which you were unhappy about. Why was that a no-go as someone who has dealt with Joc?
It’s too close for comfort. I was dealing with Joc. It doesn’t feel right in my spirit. I was seeing him, you’re not about to see his son. No way! And if he’s anything like his father, you’re definitely not going to see the son!
What if he was like a dream match for your daughter? Like, “He goes to Harvard and” —
He would never be like that because his father…like father, like son. No shade! No shade! No shade, all tea. It just doesn’t sit right with me.
Aside from Jasmine and Joc and his son, someone present for Family Reunion is Sierra Gates. I interviewed her recently and asked her about your relationship. She said she has a lot of love for you and was regretful of the things that happened in the most recent season. I wanted to ask you though, where do things stand with her for you after she put her hands on you?
Yeah, um…thank goodness for me I have a forgiving soul. I feel like I can’t keep walking around with this hate in my system. I gotta let it out and let it go. I just wish that that didn’t happen so that we could still be who we are. Deep down inside, we miss each other. We miss the friendship part of it. But because that happened, I don’t know if I can trust being around her. I want to be around her but I’m like, a part of me is like, can you trust it? Will she get drunk, we turn up, and then something happens? I don’t know if I can trust her. Do I miss what we had? Absolutely. And I wish it never happened. How do you get over that? How do you get over when a friend just totally disrespects you?
As a grown woman, I’m definitely cordial. I’m not going to fake the funk and just totally be best friend’s again, but I’m going to be a woman about my things and forgive her because it’s just how my spirit is. I have a forgiving spirit. I can’t keep harboring old feelings into something because then I won’t be blessed. But it’s not going to be the same.
People have opened up about the ups and downs of filming Love and Hip Hop. For example, ATL vet Ariane [Davis] talked about her experience and why she needed to walk away. As a very important part of the ATL franchise, despite the negative things you’ve experienced including with Sierra and past romantic partners on the show, what keeps you coming back?
I don’t know. I love being on the show. It definitely has its ups and downs just like everything in this world [laughs]. Even if you’re working a regular job, you’re going to go through your ups and downs. Even with family. The only thing is, I decided to put my whole life on camera. I’m going through what every single person in the world is going through. I’m sure everyone has had a sister or friend they’ve had an issue with and some may cross that trust and be physical, some may not, but I’m sure everyone in their life has had an argument with a close friend or a sister or a brother. It’s just I decided to put mine on camera.
Speaking of past romantic partners, I know you split from your husband. I wanted to ask, are you dating again? After that situation, and including men we’ve seen you involved with, what would you say you’re looking for now from a partner?
At this point and time, I’m really healing from that marriage. It was the worst relationship I’ve ever been in. I thought I was dealing with the worst with Joc. That marriage was the worst situation I’ve ever been in. Right now I’m just trying to heal and I don’t want to bring my healing process onto anyone else. But what I would be looking for is just a man that’s totally supportive, totally respectful, a man that treats me like a queen and I treat him like a king. At this point, I’m just letting the chips fall where they fall. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I’m not rushing anything. I’m just letting love be.
Something else I wanted to ask you about that was kind of weird to me was about your age. People were really intrigued about it and you were kind of put on the spot to clear the air in 2019. At the time, you confirmed that you were 45. What did you make of all the fuss people made about your age and needing to have an answer?
It really did bring checks to the household when nobody knew my age. It was an extra check that came in. Honestly! It was one of the highest things on Google, my age. Wanting to know my age was one of the highest trending topics, so I’m kind of mad that I said what my age was [laughs]. I could have got another check [laughs]. I’m really mad that I let everybody know but it was like, ok, ok! It wasn’t that I was upset about people hounding me about my age. I don’t mind telling. But once I saw, it was just so crazy how they were infatuated knowing what my age was. And I see a couple of checks come in about it, I said “Well shoot, I want to go along with this and keep it a secret!” But I just said forget it. Let me just tell everybody. It doesn’t even matter. It’s a lot of our cast members that are even older than me but they don’t get hounded about their age. A lot of actors are older than me but who cares? Age is just a number.
Lastly, I know people see you on TV and you act, but a lot of people don’t get to see the ways in which you’ve hustled as an entrepreneur. I know you’ve delved into becoming a restaurateur with Johnny’s Chicken & Waffles. Can you share more information about that journey for you and the importance of making these big moves behind the scenes?
Yeah. I’m excited to announce I opened up a restaurant called Johnny’s Chicken & Waffles! Two locations in Atlanta with Ne-Yo and his wife, Crystal. We’re open 23 hours a day.
Why one hour not open? To clean?
Yeah! For cleaning. COVID cleaning and to start the new day. It’s so demanding. Honestly, the restaurant business? It needs its own show! My restaurant can have its own show within itself. All the things that go on, I just sit back and I’m like, this is really funny. This is its own show. People are sleeping with one another, hiding it and this and that. Yeah, having a restaurant? It’s funny!
But it’s very demanding, it’s fun and it’s new for me. I love it. I love seeing the smile on my customer’s face after they’ve had the food and the excitement when they’re like, “Oh my gosh. This is your restaurant?! This is Ne-Yo’s restaurant?! This food is good!” And then I do a mentorship program in my restaurant. What I do is, “Employee of the Month,” and that employee, I pay their rent. I either pay their car note or their rent for the month. I also have a mentorship program, which is basically to get all their goals out the way. For example, we’ve only been open a month now. One of the goals for at least five of my employees was, they’ve never had a bank account. I took 27, 28 and a 29-year-old who never had a bank account and didn’t know how to [open one], I took all of them to open bank accounts. Now they can deposit their checks. They were going to a check-cashing place.
I’m here to change the community. I want to help the people that work for me. I want to make a change. I don’t want to charge them for knowledge. I want to mentor you for free. I want to teach you how to become whatever you want to own: a millionaire, whatever. Whatever you want to do, I’m going to teach you for free and I’m going to get those blessings back.
Also, the inspiration behind the name, I had a miscarriage on the show. I was going to name him John — Johnny. I want to have a son so bad. So if I ever have a son I’m going to name him that. But the son I lost, I was going to name him Johnny, that’s why it’s Johnny’s Chicken & Waffles. It’s named after my son.
That’s beautiful! I remember the loss from when you were doing IVF on the show.
I’m still doing that. I’m still doing IVF and everything.
Oh! You’re doing it solo?
I’m just looking for a donor. I am doing it solo. So all the women out there, I really, I’m tired of women putting each other down because they don’t have a significant partner. I get so many fans saying, “Hey I’m in an abusive relationship” or “I’m in this relationship and I can’t stand it.” I’m like, guys, c’mon! Don’t stay because everyone’s going to look at you and say “Oh, she’s not married” or “She’s raising her child alone.” Don’t stay because of that. It’s okay to leave an abusive relationship. It’s okay! It’s the right thing to do. People hit me up in my DMS all the time and I tell them, “Hey, let me know how I can help you. You have to get out.” You have to seek help. It’s OK to go.”
VH1 Family Reunion: Love & Hip Hop Edition premieres Monday, February 8 at 8PM ET/PT on VH1.