From “Love and Hip Hop” to branching off into her own brand, Tammy Rivera is no stranger to the business. As an entrepreneur, mother, and wife of rapper Waka Flocka, we spoke with this Bombshell to discuss her new business ventures, relationship, and how she’s handling it all while living life in the public eye.
How do you cope with living your life in the public eye?
I try not to even think about me being in the public eye. You forget, when you’re living your life, you forget that you are in the public eye. You just live your life for yourself, and your family. You just be true to who you are so you aren’t really thinking about what others think. But, it can be harder when you have people criticizing you so much.
How do you manage your own identity outside of being a mother, a wife, and a public figure?
By staying true to the things that I love. Like T RIVERA, is my brand that’s who I am. I love fashion, I’m a mom, I’m still a mom or wife that’s a part of my identity. But things like who I am, like right now–I’m in the house and i’m fixing up my closet. I have the whole 4th floor as my closet and my husband has this little bitty closet space downstairs but he doesn’t mind it because this is who i am and this is what i’m comfortable in and this is what makes me happy. So it’s like just doing the things that I love, that if i don’t try to get caught up in who my husband is and what he has going on I just try to create my own brand. Now I see that since i’ve been doing that people are starting to notice me as Tammy Rivera, and not oh that’s Waka Flocka’s wife. Now it’s oh that’s Tammy.
How would you describe your brand?
Growing. I would describe T RIVERA as a growing brand, very pro women, very intimate. I would like to see T RIVERA expand to so many things besides swimsuits, and clothes. I’m actually about to launch a book, my own production company, and I own a publishing company/ from a publishing company. I want to see T RIVERA just evolve from all aspects. So right now I would say T RIVERA is a growing company. Swimsuits are just the beginning, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
What were some pros and cons of being in a relationship that was broadcasted on tv?
Some of the cons are being criticized and ridiculed from people who really don’t know your story, they don’t really know the truth. You only see what we allow you to see. That’s why so many people are so guarded with their relationship because they don’t want to be judged. But then when you do that people say, oh well they’re not being real, it’s not really like that. So then once you open up and you tell, you know, okay this is what’s going on. And everyone has the same problems, no one on earth has never had someone who hurt them or who has had financial problems, who haven’t had infidility problems. You know, it’s life. You go through all kinds of things in life. So when you do open up you have people who’ll be able to say, oh she’s stupid, she’s dumb, or he’s dumb, or he’s a cheater, you know. The pros that I would say on the flip side of that are those people who understand, and who are mature enough to understand that this is the world we live in, and we are grown people we are not judgemental. They love you for being real and honest and open to who you are. That’s the thing that I love. More people come up to me and they say thank you. The people that you’re able to help with your story. That’s the pros and that outweighs anything.
What gave you the courage to stay and give your husband another chance?
Because my husband is a good man. He’s a great man, and I think in today’s society everything is so disposable. Times are not the same, women nowadays you know they say oh let me just do this, I can go out and find me another man, niggas aint nothing. You know, all of that, and I get it. But then on the other side you have men who aren’t growing up with fathers, not making excuses for men to cheat, but you have men who never seen what a household is supposed to look like – my husband was never in a married household. He didn’t know. His mom was a hustler, you know what i’m saying, she was out in the streets she was the mom and the dad. He doesn’t know—he grew up in the industry. He had early stardom with his career, I think Waka was in his early 20s mid 20s when he dropped his first hit. So you have all these groupies, you have all these things but despite all of that, behind closed doors -this man loves me to death and I know he loves my child to death. He does anything for us. So, my mom always told me– you can find a man who can financially take care of you, you can find a man who might not be a cheater, might have it all together, might of grew up with a father in their household, but it’s hard to find real love and a person who genuinely loves you and who is willing to change, my husband was willing to change for his family. So why would I give up on my husband. I’m not that type, I think that’s weak of a woman to do that. It’s easier to walk away as opposed to than to speaking up! No we’re going to fight for this we got married. My family is worth fighting for.
What keeps you motivated?
My family, and just God. Seeing how far I’ve came and the person I’ve been. I’m only 30 years old, I came so far from back when I met my husband, my husband came so far, so what inspires me is growth. I don’t care about being famous, I don’t care to be a reality star that’s not what I want to do, I use the platform to grow my business and to help my husband bring money to the table in our household. I don’t care about being a star, I don’t care about being a reality star, I don’t care about being famous. I want to be able to live comfortably and to pay for my child if she decides to go to college, or if she decides –hey mommy I don’t want to go to college I want to start a business. I want to be able to do those things, be able to have a decent house. It doesn’t have to be a mansion, just something decent. I just want to be able to live comfortably when I’m older, and not have to worry. I come from the struggle. What inspires me is being able to take care of my family, and looking back and saying damn, I remember when we barely had food to eat and now we’re all eating. And it’s because of me.
Why did you chose to create a swimsuit line?
To be honest, I started off with a clothing line, and that is what I loved. I love sequence and leathers, and very nice material. I think starting off so early, you know people not knowing who I am just know I’m Waka’s wife coming from a little styling background, my taste was too high for what people wanted to pay for someone that they didn’t know at the time, you get what i’m saying. It’s like jumping out the window like, hey i’m gusippe, my shoes cost 2,000 and no one knows who gusippe is right now, like girl bye. And it wasn’t that I was trying to make those high prices, it was just that I was spending so much money on my materials. I tried to think of something else that I loved, I looked in my closet I was just checking it out like okay, you have over 100 swimsuits, none of them are by you. Why don’t you make a swimsuit line for curvy girls. Girls who have curves you know they can fit everybody. So I said okay I’m going to do a swimsuit line. I did it on a means to make money, and to do something that I love at the same time which is create. So, thats how that came about! I told my husband and he was just like why swimsuits- you want to be naked, and I’m like no! I want to create something for curvy girls! – you know men think the most off the wall stuff. LOL!
What would you say is one thing that people don’t know about you?
One thing I would say that people don’t know about me is that I come from very hard beginnings. I come from the projects. People look at me and they say, oh she’s so cute and classy. They don’t know that I have a story, a real story and that is why I decided to write a book! I want girls to know just because of where you come from- I come from the projects I come from the projects like the hood very bad. I come from drug abuse parents, father been locked up, still locked up for thirty years. So when you grow up in these environments you see certain things and this just becomes your life. I come from Baltimore, and I want girls who come from the same environment who are from the same hood, to say things like–Omg just because I come from here doesn’t mean that I have to act like this. I can still walk in this business meeting and get this job, I can still can be classy, and still be able to hold my own like I need to.
What other projects should we be looking out for?
I have my 3rd collection for T RIVERA and my book. I think my daughter is going to come out with her book, and she has a little clothing line that she’s coming out with. I’m looking to do more acting, more stage play– theres a lot in store for me as a brand that I have going on, and that also includes a family brand! Me and my family have a lot that we’re doing as well. And whatever else God decides he wants to bless our family with, and what ever he puts in my path you know I’m going to go for it all.
7 Words to empower young women:
Self love, God, Respect, Morals, Values -now a days young girls don’t have enough positive examples, and I’m not disrespecting any of the models, or the girls with the beautiful bodies, but it’s more to life than just that. Once our younger girls realize that you have to love yourself first, then everything else is cool. If you want to get plastic surgery, then you do that. But don’t do that because you’re looking at these girls on videos or TV getting attention and you want that type of attention. Just love yourself!!!