There’s no stopping Kandi Burruss. The singer-turned-reality-TV star has big dreams (and deep pockets, too), having mastered the art of business — and the spin-off. Her hustle is unmatched, making her The Real Housewives gift that keeps on giving. From touring with Xscape to sex dungeon shows, kinky toy lines and running her Atlanta restaurant, the 5’2″ powerhouse has done it all.
Burruss’ life is so fascinating that she has already starred in a list of spin-off shows outside of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. There was The Kandi Factory, then Kandi’s Wedding and Kandi’s Ski Trip — but up next is a spin-off unlike any of the others. Kandi & the Gang goes behind the scenes of her soul food restaurant, Old Lady Gang, capturing the drama between her staff and family as she and husband Todd Tucker steer the restaurant into a new direction through some tough love and sometimes unwelcome changes.
I spoke to Burruss about her new show, what we can expect from the new season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and advice for those who may need some courage to go after big dreams.
This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity.
I feel like I’m talking to a real boss — somebody who’s an expert with business with money. There’s a lot that everybody can learn from you. So I’m excited to kind of get into your brain a little bit.
Kandi Burruss: Well, thanks! I mean, a lot of us throw that word around — boss — but sometimes I feel like we all go through those moments where we feel lost instead of feeling like a boss. So, I will share what I can.
I’ll take whatever I can take, honestly. So, we’re talking about Kandi & the Gang. What inspired the idea of creating a show around a restaurant business?
KB: Honestly, it was Todd. He was the one who came up with the bright idea to even do the restaurant, and while doing so, he was like, “We should really make a show about it.” Because my family is very animated. I always say that they deserve to be on TV. My family and the people that work there — they’re like walking TV shows without a camera, OK? So it was easy for him to come to that conclusion. But he definitely was the one who said it first.
Well, I’m glad he did! Let’s talk about the Old Lady Gang. Who are they in your life? What’s the relationship to you?
KB: The Old Lady Gang is my mom — Mama Joyce to a lot of people that watch Real Housewives — my Aunt Bertha and my Aunt Nora. My friend says, “They are like a little gang!” Because they run things! Even though they’re three little old ladies, they still run things. They’re also the inspiration for the restaurant because growing up, they always used to cook, and they’re the ones who inspired me to cook. So, it was easy to think of them as our inspiration for the restaurant, but just the simple fact that they’re known as a little gang… [laughs]. We needed to name the restaurant after them
I remember in Atlanta, Todd and your mom couldn’t really see eye-to-eye on things. Where are they now? Are they in a better place?
KB: Well, actually, they’re in a better place. I think my mom and Todd just had a little heart-to-heart literally the day before yesterday while we were in New York together. So now it feels like we’re back to being in a better place, but it’s always kind of a roller coaster. Like, sometimes we’re up, sometimes we’re down.
I want to switch gears a little bit because you’re such a risk-taker in business and you just go after whatever your goals are. Do you have any advice for anyone who has a goal and they’re just a little bit afraid to go after it?
KB: Well, that’s the first thing I’ll tell you — fear is your worst enemy. Fear can equal failure. What’s the first thing people do when you have this great idea? They say, “Oh, well, it’s probably not going to work. It’s going to cost too much.” They come up with all these reasons why it doesn’t work, because really inside they have a fear of failure, or a fear of people saying no to them, or people saying bad things about their idea.
What you have to remember is if you let fear win, then you defeated yourself. You defeated yourself before you even got started. So my main thing that I tell everybody is you have to push past fear. When you push back past the fear, that’s when you really can find success in your life. Go hard or go home.
When you push back past the fear, that’s when you really can find success in your life. Go hard or go home.
We’re going into The Real Housewives of Atlanta soon, I have to ask you: with all the cast changes, what can we expect next season? It feels like it’s going to be a little bit different.
KB: It’s going to feel a bit better. Going into this new season, I think I was kind of like everybody else. We had lost two of our well-known peaches that everybody loves or whatever. I was feeling like, “Oh my gosh, how is this going to be?” But when I tell you, this group of women — we connected in a different way that we normally don’t. Everybody was really trying to make an effort to really build relationships with each other. The new girls, they came in ready to make moves and show the world who they really are, which was very good. You don’t get to see the same drama that you used to see over years and years and years. It’s totally new stories.
Watch the video above for the full interview!