Love and Hip Hop NY reality TV star Yandy Smith has more to offer than her life as an entrepreneur working for Harlem rap artist Jim Jones. With Yandy's plate full of projects, she manages to juggle them like a pro. Becoming a mother, starting her business Everything Girls Love, managing several musicians and entering the film world producing her first feature, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this hectic business woman's schedule.
Just getting out of a business meeting to speak with me, Yandy and I talk about her success producing her first film "Life, Love, Soul" and what her fans can expect from her brand in the future.
Fallon Davis: Is "Life, Love, Soul" your first produced film? How many projects have you been involved with?
Yandy Smith: I have been behind the scenes and involved with television for a while but, "Life, Love, Soul" is my first produced feature film.
FD: How does it feel to be a first time film producer!
YS: It feels amazing to expand my brand. I have had the opportunity to learn about the film industry from behind the scenes, learning about film financing and budgetary issues, its been a great ride so far.
FD: What did you most enjoy about the filmmaking experience?
YS: The most gratifying experience about making this film was being able to see the finished product come together on the big screen. To see my team's hard work accomplished was a great feeling.
FD: As a first time, rookie producer, what obstacles did you have to overcome?
YS: The entire process took about eight years to get the film done. We had a huge financial obstacle trying to secure funds for the film. We went through a lot of trials and tribulations, trying to get investors to believe in the project. As a first time producer working with a first time director, getting people to believe in your storyline and project is not easy. Convincing well-known actors to take on a project and not being able to pay them what they deserve and, promising it will be worth it in the long run was a battle.
FD: How did you become involved in Life, Love, Soul?
YS: Since I became an entrepreneur, it has been very important to me to work with my friends. Noel and I were great friends in high school. He contacted me about this project a little over six years ago and, I did not have the time to take on other projects and get involved like I wanted to. My career had started to take off at that time and I had a lot going on with my clients. Three years later, I reached out to him and he still was working on the same film! After taken a look at what was filmed at that time, I was impressed by the storyline, cast and the conversation it evoked. I was on board from that point and realized this was something I needed to be a part of.
FD: Usually producers back films they are passionate about. What motivated you or why do you feel passionate about making "Life, Love, Soul?"
YS: This story relates to many people on so many levels and it relates to me as well. I didn’t grow up with my father in the house and I actually went to live with him later in life. There are so many young men that go through what Roosevelt went through, and give up because they cannot handle certain situations. I was able to appreciate the story because Roosevelt pushed through, was able to make his own decisions and was not going to be like his father by not fulfilling his dreams and being all he could be. I felt like the story resonated with me and it would resonate with a lot of young adults and hopefully get father's more involved in their son’s lives.
FD: What scene do you feel is the most powerful in the film, and what message do you feel it delivers?
YS: The director decided to cast Roosevelt's step mother as a Caucasian woman. Her character in some way shape or form brought out a different reaction to Roosevelt. She loved Roosevelt and stood by him through one of the most difficult times in his life. The scene where she slept in the car with Roosevelt all night and went to school with him in the morning to talk with his teacher, shows that sometimes we can be colorblind and it's such a beautiful world when we are.
FD: I know you are a busy woman and have your hand in a lot of projects. What projects can we look for from Yandy in the future?
YS: I am in pre-production with Noel on his next project. I am also in season 4 for Love and Hip Hop NY airing October 7. I have a lot going on this year with many projects that I can’t speak on right now but, you will see me in more places than one.