Yandy Smith is all about her business. As the lead star of VH1’s hit reality series Love & Hip Hop New York, she’s a power executive in it for the long haul – especially when it comes to love. However, with her soon-to-be husband Mendeecees Harris incarcarated, she learns that it’s not easy to manage her businesses, play mother and father, and day-to-day wonder if she’s going to reunite with her love again. Entertainment Weekly sat down with Smith to find out how she feels Mendeecees should be treating her, what she thinks about her new castmates (especially Peter Gunz and Amina), being a mom and businesswoman, and what prospective fans should be aware of when tuning in.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was going through your mind when your fiancée’s son asked you where his father was, on top of that revealing that he knew his father has been in jail all this time?
YANDY SMITH: You know you never know what a seven-year-old is thinking or what they’re going to say. All we know as parents is that we want to protect them. We want them to be well-rounded, know that they’re loved children. You know that’s all I’ve wanted for him. He’s not my child by birth, but he’s definitely mine when it comes to the way that I love him. When we were taping I had no idea that he knew where his Dad was. We never really told him that his Dad was going away to the army. Mendeecees’ son just thought that. When he revealed his Dad’s whereabouts, my mouth dropped to the floor. How do you admit to a seven-year-old. It was really difficult to try to explain to him that not everybody is bad, and Daddy will explain it to you when you get older.
How have you and Mendeecees been holding up?
Well, when I first started taping the show I wasn’t getting that much information on how long was his sentence. I had no idea what was going on. So I was reading the blogs and trying to read up on what a conspiracy charge is and what it means and what’s the minimum and maximum time served. In the beginning I was very distraught, because I was reading and I’m seeing two digit numbers [for sentence time served], and I’m like “oh my Gosh!” Now that time has passed, I’ve gotten a lot more information, that’s nowhere near the case. I don’t want to speak too much on it, but we’ll be seeing him very soon.
So is he still incarcerated?
He is still incarcerated as of this hour.
Did he see his son on his birthday?
My son Omere, he didn’t see on his birthday, but I take the boys to see him every other week. If he didn’t see his children on the birthday, he saw them a couple of days after. Yeah.
That’s something I was thinking about because when you were talking in your in your interviews about Mendeecees missing out Omere’s childhood like playing basketball, it struck a chord with me.
But thank God that’s not the case at all. Again, like I said, when I shot that, it was in the beginning of filming. The lawyer wasn’t communicating with me the way I wanted him to, and I was just reading what you guys were reading about Mendeecees. I’m like “oh my Gosh, is it truth to this?” It was a very vulnerable place and emotional time when we first started shooting.
You were quite territorial as a girlfriend during that time. He’s incarcerated. What was your reasoning for being so hard on him?
The thing is that we’re in a relationship. I can’t physically touch you. So I want you to over-compensate for everything else. I’m out here by myself, holding down the house, holding down the kids. I want you to make me feel like I’m doing it for a reason. It’s not easy laying by yourself at night when you’re longing for companionship. I want to know that I’m loved and I’m waiting for you for a reason. If you don’t tell me, or you don’t make me feel like it how will I know?
Would you say you would be able to move forward without Mendeecees if he doesn’t come back home?
That’s not really something that I thought about because I know that this is not something that’s forever. I love him. I feel like with love you are loyal. I feel like, I’m living every day with the hopes that he will be back very soon. I’m about family, and I made a commitment to him, I decided to be his fiancée because I want to marry him. He hasn’t been here but, I used to leave all the time and go on the road six months here or eight months there for work. He didn’t leave me. So, what kind of person would I be to leave him?
On a lighter note, this is your third season on Love & Hip Hop New York. You’re a veteran really. What do you think about your new cast mates?
I’ve met every new cast mate, well except Saigon; although I know him through Atlantic Records. Tara Wallace, I absolutely love. She is the girlfriend of Peter Gunz. The loyal 13-year-girlfriend. She’s that one. Although I’ve met Peter Gunz, I’ve known him for years from the industry, but really got to know him in taping the show. He’s a good guy but I think he made a very stupid decision. You have a woman that has held you down, held your family down, put her career on hold to better your life and you cheat on her? Sometimes when you’re shooting you don’t see how dumb you look until it plays out in front of you and your watching as a spectator.
What about Amina Buddafly?
Amina Buddafly who I met in taping, she can sing, she’s a cute girl, and that’s all I’ll say about her. I met her through taping. I met her as she stood hand-in-hand with Peter while he introduced her to his girlfriend and introduced me to his girlfriend. I don’t respect someone that comes into a situation and tries to turn it upside down. Especially when there’s children involved. It’s messy, messy, messy!
What makes this season different from prior seasons?
Season 2 of Love & Hip Hop New York was explosive, especially with the drama between myself and other cast members. Season 3 I think that it was kind of laid-back, and especially following Love & Hip Hop Atlanta it’s hard to do that. I think with this season they did an amazing job with re-casting and it’s all back to be explosive again. I think this year really evoked emotion. You’ll be crying, you’ll be laughing. You didn’t cry when I got proposed to or when that man [Mendeecees] had to say goodbye to his son?
That was a bit of teary-eyed moment. But I don’t shed tears. [Laughs]
I don’t shed tears easily too, but real things keep happening to me. I’ve had my best moments in my life on TV, and I’ve had my worst moments. I got engaged. I had my baby and engagement on TV. I have all of those episodes saved because they’re memories.
How’s your son Omere?
He is running, jumping, talking, dancing, and singing. He’s great!
For those who don’t know Love & Hip Hop, how would you describe the show?
I think hip-hop is not just music these days. It’s a culture. I think Love & Hip Hop brings the culture to the forefront behind these characters. There are so many different facets and so many different parts that make a hip hop star and executive. It’s really a culture in itself, and if you take a peek into watching our world—watching Love & Hip Hop – you’ll see what makes us tick, cry, laugh and what makes us different. We’re just different.
What would you say would be your biggest takeaway for this season?
One of the mantras from my company Everything Girls Love is that you can be Susie, the homemaker and Oprah at the same time without compromising one or the other. I want people to see that you can be a great Mom, you can be a great wife, and you can also be an amazing businesswoman. And you’ll see me balance the two, while being great at both. I think I’m doing a great job as a Mom, and my businesses never been so good.
Speaking of the business, this label with Rich Dollaz, didn’t you have some reservations?
Going into business with Rich was something that I had to think twice about. But then I realized, for what it’s worth, Rich is great at nabbing talent. He can take someone that cannot sing and make a couple a hundred thousand dollars off them. Sometimes it’s not about the cultivating and making them sing, it’s about the full package, and generating income; that’s what Rich Dollaz is able to do. I think he’s great at finding and developing talent, and I’m good at connecting the dots. I can go in any label and make a situation happen. My reputation in this industry is very good. I’m not the type that will stay in the studio all night now or go to the DJ, that’s Rich. However, I’m the one that can close a multi-million dollar deal, and that’s why he needs a Yandy.
Love & Hip Hop New York airs Monday at 8:00 PM on VH1.