Karlie Redd – Renaissance Woman

Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis

Karlie Redd is an actress, model, recording artist and reality TV personality. She is best known as a cast member of VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop: ATL”, which recently became the winner of an MTV Movie & TV Award in the “Reality Royalty” category. The renaissance woman and I spoke about her beginnings perfecting her craft, having to prove herself as more than a reality star, what it means to be a certified Sexologist, her philanthropic endeavors and misconceptions she wants to clear up about herself.

What were some of the main differences from coming from Trinidad to living in the Bronx, NYC?
Hustle, hustle, hustle, lol. It was just a lot of work and hustle, you know? When I was living in New York, my mom had me in everything from dance classes, acting classes and music classes. New York (City) is fast paced as opposed to Trinidad. It’s more laid back. 

Do a lot of people know that you actually come from that type of background?
Nope. No one knows that I’ve been training and doing acting classes since I was a kid. Since 10, I’ve been training in dance and theater and everything. I’ve been in commercials, I’ve been in movies, everything.

What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced in your career as a whole or challenges pursuing new opportunities? 
The challenges are that I’m a reality star so I have to go above and beyond to show people that I have talent and that I can act whereas a person who is just coming in has their resume and they show it. I have my resume and I show it. I’ve been in movies, commercials and television shows but I really have to go above and beyond just to show them that I’m not just a reality star.

Being that you had talent prior to joining reality TV, how are you navigating through those barriers being that reality TV has made people not take you as serious?
By just showing them, you know? The proof is in the pudding. If I just keep showing people, like I did the movie Top Five with Chris Rock, I did the sitcom Last Call and I’ve done other acting roles that we haven’t even discussed yet, but Saints and Sinners….Just by showing people that I’m a working actor. If you’re a working actor, that’s showing and proving.

Tell us about “Saints and Sinners”.
Saints and Sinners is a drama series that I’m on. We’re in our fourth season that is a little bit more serious of a role whereas Last Call was just all about the comedic timing and just having fun on set, you know?

Aside from television and film, we are actually in your retail store right now. Tell us about the store. How long has it been here? 
This store (MERCI) has been here for about three and a half years. I have my other store in LA and I had a store in south Atlanta for a long time but I got rid of that store and moved here (North Point Mall – Alpharetta, GA). So, yeah. I’ve had this store for a pretty long time and you know, retail is up and down but it’s cool.

What does it mean to be a certified Sexologist?
How that came about is that Doc Johnson gave me an opportunity to endorse my own sex toy line and I would sell the sex toys but I wanted to know what I was talking about. So, I went to school and I got my license in Sexology. What that means is now I know I can give advice to people like sex therapist and relationship advice. Also, how to use your full body potential when you’re having sex, you know? It’s all about the mind. I’m just giving women advice who never had an orgasm, women who are having problems in their relationships sexually and women who are having problems with their sexual being.

As a woman, how do you feel about cheating?
For me, it’s like people are going to do what they want to do regardless. You just have to figure it out and find someone who doesn’t want to be out there and cheat on you. You have to find your match.

From what I’ve seen on social media is that cheating is being pushed to the forefront. It has become more acceptable. They are more open and it is like it is a game to them. They don’t really take relationships seriously.  
It’s sad that people don’t take relationships serious anymore. I don’t have time to waste. Life is too short. If you’re going to cheat and do whatever you want to do, just leave me alone so I can live my life and whether it’s being with someone or not being someone, I feel like I’m not pressuring anyone to be with me. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to force a relationship. If you want to cheat, go ahead and do that. I don’t have time for it. I’m way too busy for that.

You’re also into charity, correct? Tell us about it. 
Oh yeah, absolutely. I love talking about my charities. I’m a part of an organization called, Pants Up, Guns Down that’s about inner city youth in Atlanta. What we do is we have functions like a monthly etiquette class. We do a whole bunch of stuff like events and everything like that. I’m also trying to open up a daycare center (Creative Learning Center) right now. I’m doing that with a lady in Atlanta and also my best friend who owns a few daycare centers. My other foundation is in Haiti. I’m building a school in Haiti and it’s called Giving Hearts with Love. I’ve teamed up with some of my closest friends. We throw free concerts. We had Kirk Franklin there one year, Byron Cage and we just had Tasha Cobbs there. We give back to the orphans and people like that because Haiti had that big earthquake. It’s just a terrible sight in Haiti right now and because of that, we decided to build a school there.

What would you want fans who don’t necessarily know much about you to know? Are there any misconceptions you would like to clear up about yourself?
Oh my God, so many. I don’t even know where to start. Um, (sighs) Lord. Jesus….so many. That’s not me on B.A.P.S.. Let’s start there. Outside of reality TV, I understand that is what I do but outside of it, I’m a really super busy person. I’m a really sweet person. I want them to know about my foundations. I want people to see the work that we put in, in Atlanta. They don’t know that. People always focus on the negative instead of trying to focus on the positive things that you do in the city or just anywhere in general. What other misconceptions? At the end of the day, I just want to be happy and marriage doesn’t make you happy. People think, “Oh yeah, she doesn’t have a man”. If I don’t have a man, I’m happy. If I do have a man, I’m happy. Regardless, I am a happy person.

Full video version of this interview.

Follow Karlie Redd on Instagram @iamkarlieredd and on Twitter @karlieredd. Also, to shop for her sex toy line, visit www.shopdocjohnson.com/s/content/c/karlie-redd.

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