It appears Kandi Burruss has more hours in a day than the average person. Besides being an R&B legend, operating three thriving restaurants in Atlanta, and one of the vity’s hottest clothing boutiques,, she is a working actress on both television and in the theater and is a cast member of one of the longest running reality franchises in television history. In her private life, Burruss is a wife and mother to Riley, Ace, and bonus daughter Kaela. Burruss is such a success story that even the rumors about her make her look good.
As the season finale of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” wrapped, headlines suggesting Burruss renegotiated her contract to the tune of over 2 million dollars hit social media. Burruss insists she has no idea where the rumors originated but her contract with Bravo wasn’t up for renewal this season.
“I have a great working relationship with Bravo, not necessarily all my cast mates, but the network and I always have,” she says.
As to whether she would be looking to squeeze more money out of the network when her contract does come up for renewal, Burruss shrugs, “I’m actually happy with the money I’m making with them now. I don’t know that I would need to change anything.”
The relationships on “RHOA” are often unpredictable, but Burruss has experienced internal turmoil over the years with her Xscape group members.
“It’s different with my group because I’ve known them since I was 14 years old. I met them during those developmental years that shaped who I am as a woman. So anytime we have issues, it affects me different than someone I just met or someone I met later in life even, and I think it always will,” she acknowledges.
Burruss, Tiny Harris and Tamika Scott are planning to do several upcoming performances without group member LaTocha Scott, who is preparing to pursue a solo career, again. Burruss says they do have at least one date with all four Xscape members together.
“I know people love seeing us all together but the truth is we can all sing, so if one person is missing someone can always sing that part,” she says.
Known for her philanthropic endeavors through her nonprofit organization Kandi Cares, this season several “RHOA” cast members accused Burruss of being “all about self.”
“That was one of the things that irritated me the most because it’s been my prayer that if God blesses me, I would use the opportunity to help others and I have,” she says.
Her receipts for these claims are evident in the numerous series she’s done with BRAVO that have highlighted her family and friends. But outside of family and friends, Burruss says she lives by the philosophy of collaboration over competition.
“I’ve always believed that if someone knows something I don’t know and I know something they don’t know, we both become better for helping one another. Even if that person were to benefit more than me, I still benefited from the interaction and so I don’t worry about it. The only way to grow is to learn from others and hopefully they do the same,” she says.
Burruss credits her willingness to constantly be a student with her success in numerous industries and endeavors. Currently, she is preparing to return to Broadway with The Piano Lesson alongside Hollywood heavyweights Samuel L. Jackson and Danielle Brooks. For a woman who has accomplished so much, her eyes still light up when she speaks about her latest goal.
“One of my goals is to [be] an EGOT [winner], which includes an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. I’ve already got the Grammy, so I’m working on the other three,” she says.
This production, along with several recent television projects, including “The Chi” prove she is well on her way.
Burruss says women need to know it’s never too soon or too late to pursue one’s dreams.
“Everyone’s journey is different so you can’t compare yourself to anyone else,” she says. “I tell both Riley and Kaela they can do whatever they want to do, they just need to start! Don’t wait until it’s perfect or until someone else gives you permission, just start. Once you start, you have to stay consistent and focused. Don’t let others distract you with anything that’s not aligned with your goal. So many people are paying attention to things or people that don’t even matter. You got to stay focused on what you’re doing and it will happen.”
Photos by Will Sterling