If you’re into reality television, then you’ll probably recognize Mimi Faust as the co-star of VH1’s popular Love & Hip Hop Atlanta series. Over four seasons airing within the past three years, Mimi’s life quickly became a whirlwind of blog gossip, social media noise and public scrutiny as she put her personal and business relationships on front street. While not everyone may agree with some of Mimi’s moves, the single mother of one is making it clear that no decision she has made in the past will affect her altitude in the future.
A huge part of who Mimi Faust is now has come with a lot of emotionally-charged challenges, including abandonment, rejection and betrayal. We talked with Mimi recently about her array of new business ventures, the ways she boldly continues to heal her past hurts, and how motherhood gives her the best motivation of all. Read on…
To start, tell us about the new ventures you’re involved in, and why they are important in your life.
Mimi Faust: We’ll start with the first one, Keep it Clean, which is my cleaning business that I’ve had since 2001. I’ve always been a neat freak, and I actually got started with that at a house party oddly enough. A guy I was dating at the time said, “You love doing this. You love cleaning so why not make it official and get incorporated?” So that’s what I did, my first business venture and I still have that.
Now I’m working on MF Management, which actually came about from doing Love & Hip Hop. I just know so many people that are in the music business, people that do music, people that are artists and producers. My daughter’s father [Stevie J] is a producer so I thought that this is something that I can do. I have all the resources and everyone around to do it so why not? So that’s how that started MF Management.
I’m also venturing out into hair. I’ve been wearing virgin wavy Indian hair for some years now and I love it. I’ve tried other types of hair, but this particular type of hair has never given me a problem. It doesn’t shed, it’s silky, and I basically treat them as if they’re my own. I take them off every week, I wash them, condition them, let them air-dry, I have several and thought I should just go into business with it. I wear it, why not endorse it? So I got started with a company I had been buying hair from. I went to them and said “I’d like to partner up with you. Let’s do some business.” And they were all for it.
So I now have the Maya Collection. It’s virgin Indian hair, it’s just a really good product and I stand by it. My book is coming out, minus Nikko. [Laughs]
How do you balance your life so you don’t lose your mind?
MF: You have to have a good team around you. Somebody that’s got your back and in your corner. I have a really good nanny and my manager is amazing, so you have to have a good team around you to just keep you one point, make sure your schedule is what it is, because it’s so much. There’s no way I could manage all of this by myself, it’s too much. That on top of Love and Hip hop is a lot. I just think the first thing is to have a good, solid team around you – and trust me, that’s not easy.
What would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself the past few years?
MF: Not to take things so personal. I used to take things so personal, and was easily upset by things and going through a very extreme public breakup with Stevie, and everything I went through with that situation – being in the public eye like that. Don’t get me wrong, I was crushed. That was probably was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with, but I think going through that made me stronger. I don’t take things personal anymore, you can’t in this business. It will destroy you if you do. That’s probably the major thing.
What are some things you’ve done to heal yourself with abandonment issues? How do you heal from that?
MF: It’s a slow process. I think what’s really helped me is having my daughter. I really realized that I don’t want her to go through what I did, and so I try to do things completely different from my childhood experiences. I just really think that having her has shown and taught me to do things different from what I had been though. There are two ways you can do it. You can either fall victim to your circumstance and turn out to be that person and do that to your kid, or you can try to do better. I just really wanted to do better for her. I never ever want her to experience what I did, ever.
Did you ever go to a therapist or special counseling to help you deal with your past?
MF: Definitely. A lot of people think that, “I’m not crazy” or whatever but you don’t have to be crazy to get therapy. It’s for peace of mind. It’s to have someone to talk to. Someone who can lift you when you talk and wont judge. So therapy was definitely a good and major thing for me. Meditation helps tremendously. If you can find the time and space and just really be able to clear your head, it’s awesome.
Do you do any type of mediation? What’s your practice?
MF: I just get the somewhere quiet and serene and I just shut everything down, and I just try to focus and center. I’ve never had anybody tell me this is exactly how you do it, but I just find some sort of peace and I try to center myself. Anything negative or any kind of distraction that I have, I try to push to the side.
What would you say is the best tough love advice anyone ever gave you?
MF: You gotta do it yourself. No one’s gonna save or rescue you. You gotta find the strength in yourself to make it through whatever situation that you’re in. No one’s ever saved me from anything. Anything that I’ve gone through, I had to pull my boots up and keep it moving. So you have to be strong for yourself. You can’t depend on other people to make you strong or help you be strong. You gotta dig deep and pull it out! [laughs]
If a friend comes to you with their problems, do you dish out that same kind of tough love advice?
MF: I think in the absolute moment of someone going through something, that wouldn’t be my way of doing things saying “Do it yourself!” Not in that moment, but you can give them and talk to them in a way that they get what you’re saying without being so harsh with it. If you know somebody, then you know what’s going to hurt them, help them or make the situation better or worse. Everybody’s different and you can’t use the same thing for every single person, it’s a case by case thing, but I tend to never judge.
No matter what the situation is I try not to judge. I try to look at the root of the problem and work from there. What is all of this stuff stemming from? Once we figure that out, then we can move forward from that. But you gotta figure out what it stems from first. If not, you’re just sitting on top of the glass when the problem is six feet deep. You gotta get to the root of the issue to even start to figure out how to fix it.
What would you say that you’ve learned about your friendships at this stage of your life?
MF: You know what’s crazy? Being on television! I learned who a lot of people were in my life that I didn’t recognize who they really were. It’s funny because people say, “oh you changed” when it’s, “No I didn’t, you did.” It’s the people around you that are changing.
Let me backtrack… I think everybody’s changing and the things I used to do six years ago, my life is completely different now. So if I don’t have enough time or whatever the case may be, that’s not me changing, that’s just life. There was jealousy involved, and I was getting it from all angles and it really hurt my feelings. Like really hurt my feelings that people who I have known for 15 or 20 years were just flipping out on me. I don’t even know how to describe it, it was incredible. It was really incredible.
What are some important things in your business to keep track of now that you’re managing someone else’s career? What do you want the management business to become?
MF: You know I just want to do the right thing. I want to help whomever it is get to the next level, be the best person they could be, and have their career do what’s it’s supposed to do for them. Its more so about the artist I’m working with. If I can get them to the next level, get them feeling good about themselves and their music playing, that’s gonna be rewarding for me. That’s really all it’s about for me is helping. If I’m going to help somebody, then I really want to help them and do what I say I’m gonna do, or can do, for them.
What do you want people to know most about you as a woman and entrepreneur at this stage of your life?
MF: That I’m a regular person. I don’t know… People have this weird thing that if you’re on television then you’re this… I don’t know. We’re just regular people and have real feelings. I think people forget that, they really do. I wake up just like everybody else. I’ve got to take my daughter to school, make breakfast, you know what I’m saying? I’m a regular person just like everybody else. [laughs]I love to cook….oh! This is something people don’t know: I love to decorate! I’m also going to venture out into that soon too.