Entrepreneur. Reality TV Star. Artist Manager. Author. Designer. Interior Decorator. Mother… These are just some of the many hats worn by Ms. Mimi Faust.
Born in Newport News, Virginia, Faust, who grew up Gloria Eva James, née Simmons, was raised in the church of Scientology, until being kicked out for her adamant refusal to work for the controversial religion. Her mother, Olaiya Odufunke, who by then had changed her young daughter’s name to the Nigerian oriented, Oluremi Fela, later abandoned the family when Mimi was still in her formative years; 13 to be exact. At age sixteen, the free-spirited Capricorn was finally reunited with her Upstate New York based biological father, who she eventually forged a relationship with that lasted until his passing back on May 8th 2014.
Largely known for her role on VH1’s long running, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, drama-fied series, now going into its fifth season, Mimi, who shares a five year old little girl, Eva Jordan, with long-time – now ex – boyfriend, Grammy Award winning musician-producer, Stevie J, has, for all intents and purposes, conquered the reality TV show world, and is now clearly set on taking over the entire universe. She tells us in her own words…
Parlé Magazine: You all just wrapped season four of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, so what exactly has been going on with you as of late?
Mimi Faust: We just wrapped our fourth season and I’m just trying to breathe a little bit [laughs] Like literally, we filmed for like ten months straight; really didn’t have time to do nothing. Our filming schedule is out of control. School just started. I had to get Eva back in school and get her situated, and I’m still working on my book… um, I have a hairline out ‘The Maya Collection.’ I’m doing a lot, so I didn’t get a break. I didn’t get a chance to go anywhere this summer; no vacation—work, work, work.
So does that mean you’re enjoying some much needed down or “Me” time right about now?
Mimi Faust: No, not really no. Not yet, uh huh.
That said, how have you changed and/or evolved from the beginning of season one to now, finishing up season four?
Mimi Faust: You know, you just hopefully you grow, you know, you live you learn. You realize if you do something and it’s not right, to make changes and to do better. That’s what I do anyway – I can’t speak for everybody else – but absolutely I’ve grown tremendously I think from season one. If anyone watches the show and are supporters of it, they saw in season one I was having a very terrible break up with Stevie (J) and I was always upset and angry. I think that’s how I got the whole ‘angry black woman’ pinned on me was because of that. But I’m in such a great happy place now, and that is from living, learning and growing. So, I’ve evolved tremendously since I started this process.
With ‘reality’ shows, a lot of people question their authenticity, that said, is Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta fully free of any and all scripting?
Mimi Faust: There’s no written script at all with our show. There are things that are embellished of course, but everything that goes on is really what’s happening in that person’s life, and they’re covering your reality. You know, they might put the two on the ten sometimes, and even us ourselves. I’m not saying what the producers are doing; even the cast members will put extras on it. But actually, everything that’s going on is what’s happening in their life.
Well, it seems as though you have moved past the whole ‘sex tape’ controversy of last season, but for some odd reason it sort of was still lurking around a bit in season four, how come?
Mimi Faust: I removed myself from this situation last year. It was Margeaux [Simms] and Nikko [London] that kept bringing this up every five minutes and every other cast member. I had been removed myself [More laughs]. I had been there, I did it, it was over (and) done with, and they just rehashed everything. I guess because it was good for them to talk about (it) for their story line as well, which didn’t bother me at all because they were just helping my sales. So thank you guys [Laughs again].
You also introduced your new company MF Entertainment, along with your baby father/partner Stevie, so is this venture still in motion?
Mimi Faust: I just started this management company; I’m just getting my feet wet with it. I don’t claim or profess to know everything about it, I don’t, but I do know a lot of people in this business, and I’ve been around the music business for many years and this is something that I have people approach me about day in day out. “Can you please manage me? Manage me,” so I’m gonna take it to the next level. Jessica [“Dimepiece” Dime] and I didn’t work out, and that’s fine. You know, sometimes people don’t mesh or gel well, and that’s fine. There’s so many more artists out there’s so many more managers to manage Jessica, so no hard feelings to Jessica Dime. I wish her well and I’m gonna keep it moving, and I’m sure she is too.
Didn’t you also manage Tiffany Foxx as well?
Mimi Faust: That was a misconception. Tiffany Foxx, I was never managing Tiffany. I had a conversation with Tiffany and (she) told (me) she wanted a Stevie J track; and I told her I would get it for her. That is my daughter’s father, he’s working with me, I’ll get you that track. So, I just was the liaison between getting those two together to do a track together. Tiffany’s managers name is Brooke [Holladay], been with Tiff since day one. So, that was a bit of a misconception. I just facilitated them getting that record together.
Well speaking of Stevie, we got to witness his going to rehab and he definitely seems to be in a much better place now — How happy are you to be able to see him doing so well?
Mimi Faust: It’s a great feeling. I just really want Stevie to just be the best he can be and just be great, because I know he has it in him. He did go through his time where he was not so into the music or couldn’t get it to where he needed to be as far as that was concerned, and had other things going on and his own personal issues and demons and what have you, but he seems like he’s gotten through that and he’s in a great place in his life. I think it’s awesome.
Do you think that his wife, Joseline Hernandez, has pretty much been the main catalyst in/with you and Stevie’s problems?
Mimi Faust: I can’t even put 100% of the blame on her; I have to equally give it to Stevie and Joseline 50/50. I honestly can not put all the blame on her. He had a whole lot to do with that circus, trust and believe. It was not just her. Them two together; that’s the thing, when they get together it’s just some other shit, pardon my french.
In having said that, you and Joseline seem to be a lot more cordial now to one another as well…
Mimi Faust: I’m a very easygoing person. That’s a question for her. One day she says she’s okay with me, the next day she’s not. I don’t know if I pose a threat to her; I have no idea. I don’t even know her like that. She’s the one that’s really angry and mad and throwing shots left and right all the time, I could give a… I don’t care honestly. She’s the one that has the issue; I’m just like, “Okay, girl, today you mad. Okay we mad today.” [Laughter ensues]
Earlier you mentioned your forthcoming book, what’s its current status?
Mimi Faust: It should be ready probably about the middle of next year. I had to start all over again from scratch, so I’m in the writing stage of it now, and then I have to go through the whole getting it published and blah, blah, blah. So I’m gonna give it till the middle of next year.
Because so much of your personal life has been exposed through the show, is there a lot even leftover for a book to even be published?
There’s so much in the book that has never been talked about or seen on the show, it’s incredible. The show really touches on currently what’s going on in our life right now; the book is starting from childhood to present day. So, there’s so much more in the book that is not covered on the show.
Your roots in the industry go very far back; I even happened to see you in an Erick Sermon video, “Stay Real,” from 1993…
Mimi Faust: Very long. I love music, but I just happen to just know these people. I don’t know how I knew ’em, but those are my friends. Those were the circles that I ran in and those were the people I was around on a daily basis, like Erick. And I mean, oh my god the list goes on and on. I did the Pharell and Jay-Z “Frontin'” video and I didn’t audition for that. They called me straight. I had a girlfriend that worked at Def Jam – her name was Margo [Wainwright] as well – and she just called me up. She was like, “What are you doing this weekend?” I’m like, “Nothing.” “Oh, we’re shooting this video, you want to come down for it?” And (they) just they flew me down to Miami and I was in the video. So I’ve just—things have just kinda fell in my lap my whole life when it comes to like music and stuff. I just was always around entertainment and the entertainment music industry.
Have you ever fancied doing music yourself?
Mimi Faust: I cannot sing to save my life! [She busts out laughing] No, never. It was, ironically, when I was living in L.A. Dr. Dre actually wanted me to be a rapper at one point. I think we were hanging out. I know Ice Cube, we used to live on the same block and right around the corner from each other, and I’d be in the studio with them, you know, just listening to them do their stuff and messing around just rapping and stuff, and Dre was like, “You should rap; I want to make you a rapper.” And I was like, “What?!” Just sounded so bizarre to me at the time, but had I known what I know now, I would’ve been a rapper.
Because of your experience and success with Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, have you ever thought about doing your very own show?
Mimi Faust: Yeah, I thought about it. I thought about, but if I did (it), I would really want it to be, you know, not just focused on me. I want it to be something I’m actually doing. I really enjoy decorating, so if I did a reality show I would want it to be on HGTV, decorating homes or something like that. So, yeah, I thought about it, but I want it to be something different; just not like a day in the life of Mimi where cameras follow me around. I want to do something where I’m displaying my talent, something that I can give and show the world that I can actually do stuff besides scream and argue.
Switching gears here, what do you feel is the biggest misconception about you, Mimi?
Mimi Faust: That I’m mean, that I’m angry all the time, and I’m this angry black woman; that has to be the absolute biggest misconception of me. I’m the nicest, laid back person ever. I mean, of course don’t fuck with me – a kitty cat will strike back at you, but just in general I’m the nicest person ever. So, I think that would be definitely the biggest. Oh, and that I’m this big huge freak; I’m so not her.
‘ANGRY BLACK WOMAN,’ that sounds like it could potentially be the title of your upcoming book…
Mimi Faust: Yeah, it could be, but nothing in my book is really angry. I mean, I guess that would draw the people in, but nothing in my book would reflect that or have anything to do with that, so if I did an ‘Angry Black Woman’ book it would have to be a totally separate other book.
Let’s discuss the infamous sex tape — Reflecting on that time, do you have any regrets now?
Mimi Faust: Do you know actually as I sit back and think and reflect on that, going through that time was very, very difficult and, of course, I knew about it before, months and months and months before, the public even caught wind and those were the times I absolutely beat myself up about the decision that I made, because once I said yes there was no taking that back. I could not come back from that, and that was the first time that I had ever done something in my life that I could not take back. So in all actuality, it actually made me stronger. Going through the criticism of the public, you know, friends and everything else, it actually made me a whole lot stronger. I didn’t think I could survive it at first, and going through it absolutely was like the worst thing ever, but I’ve made it through. I’ve gotten through it and now I’m better able to handle other things in my life that come up. I’m like, “Oh, hell, that’s nothing, try having that sex tape shit on your back.” So, it’s actually made me stronger.
It still managed to put a negative stigma on you, correct?
Mimi Faust: Well, it depends on the person. I find that a lot of Black people are very judgmental and close minded when it comes to sexuality and sex just in general, and those are the people that judge me the most. Like white people and other people, they don’t see a problem with it. They’re like, “So what!” It’s our people that I get the most judgment from ironically. And you know what, that was something that happened in my life; that doesn’t define me. That tape doesn’t make me who I am. That tape doesn’t; it doesn’t make me who I am. It was a part of my life that happened – a very small part actually – and I put it in its place. I compartmentalized it, put it in its place, and I keep it moving. I’m not gonna let that take me down, bury me, or define who I am as a person ’cause it just doesn’t.
On a lighter note, it did raise stock in shower poles!
Mimi Faust: Yes, it did! [More laughter] That was kind of crazy…and you know what, not to cut you off; I did an interview a couple of days ago and the guy Googled my name just to see what would pop up when he Googled my name, and I said, “Probably the tape,” and he was like, “No, actually it’s Kylie Jenner and Tyga saying that they could make a better tape than you and Nikko did.” So, I have these people, these top notch celebrities, like competing with me; it’s crazy.
It definitely set a new bar for sex tapes, and that in and of itself would make you a pioneer of sorts, right?
Mimi Faust: Weird and oddly enough, but yeah.
Success, what has been the key to yours? And, what is it that you attribute your longevity to?
Mimi Faust: Staying grounded, focused, knowing who you are as a person. I never let me being on television take over who I am or make me think that I’m bigger or better than anybody else; the only difference is I have a different job than you do. I have a different job than the postman does, that is it. I’m no better than anybody else and I think that’s the problem with a lot of people, they get on these shows and think that they’re better than people, and it’s just not the case. People are people; it’s your attitude and all these other things that are just ridiculous that people put other people on pedestals because of what they do. We cut, we all bleed red, so I just think knowing who you are as a person. Knowing who I am keeps me grounded, and that’s been kind of my secret to my longevity in doing this, because when people meet (me) for the first time, they’re like, “Oh my God, you’re so nice, you’re so pleasant.” They just have all these misconceptions of me from watching the show, and then when they meet me it’s something totally different. They’re like, “Oh my God, you’re so cool.” And I’m humble and I’ve been the same. I’m the same person I was before I started this journey, and I will, you know, remain the same after.
Have you ever worried about going too far or exposing too much?
Mimi Faust: I think the biggest regret or the biggest thing that bothers me, would be my lack of privacy and that the whole world, you know, has an opinion on me and thinks they know me and know every little thing about me and my whole life and my ins and outs and what kind of toilet paper I use. I think that’s really invasive and if anything bothers me, ’cause I really don’t have too many regrets; it would be the fact that the lack of privacy really bothers me.
And why Nikko –What was it about him that drew you to him being that he comes across as such a despicable individual?
Mimi Faust: I don’t even think it was Nikko, I can’t even give him that much credit (like) “What was it about Nikko?” I would think it was me; I’m loyal to a fault. And even with Stevie, I stayed and stayed and stayed and stayed, even when it was bad with Stevie. I still tried to make it work. You know, he was the father of my child, we had a daughter together, I wanted my family to work. So, I’m very, very loyal to a fault, and I got it not so good sometimes.
For you, when exactly did Margeaux come into the picture?
Mimi Faust: No, no, no, who I thought Margeaux was was an ex girlfriend of Nikko’s; that’s who he told me Margeaux was. And, I knew the name because I would see her calling his phone a lot and he would never answer if I was around. He would never. I mean, she would call back to back to back, and I’d be like, “Margeaux’s calling,” and he just would not answer the phone. He told me that was his ex – they broke up – but they’re still friends. That was the explanation that he gave me, so I thought Margeaux was his ex girlfriend. Then, lo and behold, come to find out damn near two years later, Margeaux is indeed your wife, which was odd to me because Nikko told me about a whole bunch of other women that he had been with and “I slept with this one and this one and that one,” but you failed to mention that you were indeed married to Margeaux this whole entire time. I’m like, “So, you were doing all that (when) you were married the whole time?” It’s a lot. Yeah, but I thought Margeaux was his ex girlfriend; that’s what Nikko told me.
What about the season finale –were you shocked when Margeaux confessed to being in a relationship with another woman?
Mimi Faust: Didn’t surprise me at all. Nah, not at all.
As of late, there’s been some rumors in the press about you and another cast member Ariane Davis, care to enlighten the readers?
Mimi Faust: Absolutely false. Ariane and I are friends; we have been friends for like ten, twelve years now, and Ariane’s my friend. Her sexuality has nothing to do with mine; what she does in her bedroom has nothing to do with me. I have slept in the bed with Ariane countless times; we don’t play footsies, we don’t rub, we don’t do none of that. She’s my friend, period.
Being that you and she are such good friends, how come you didn’t admit to her your involvement with the sex tape before she had to find out from others?
Mimi Faust: When you want to keep a secret or have something that you don’t want to tell anybody, what do you do? You don’t tell anybody. That is the whole point of a secret or I want to keep something to myself. Just because Ariane is my good friend doesn’t mean I tell her every single thing that I do, especially every single thing that I do with my man. I don’t know…maybe some girls do that, but I don’t do that. You don’t tell your girlfriend every single last intimate thing that you do with your dude, no, no. And if you do ladies, that’s a big fat no no. Please stop doing that because your girlfriends are your friends, but they’re still human beings and if it’s something that is extremely juicy it will get told; I know this, I am (a) grown ass woman. I didn’t tell her ’cause I knew she would tell somebody, period. That’s the bottom line. And by me not telling, it stayed quiet for about nine, ten months without anybody, just Nikko and myself knowing, because why? We didn’t tell anybody.
How lucrative for you has the deal with Vivid Entertainment been?
Mimi Faust: The deal that I made with them—I get a check every three months. Every quarter, I get a check for the rest of my life. The tape is on demand; it can be ordered in every household, every hotel and everywhere all over the world. It can be ordered online, on the internet, it can be ordered everywhere. There are a lot of people as well that watch porn, and I did not realize how much, but, yes, the checks are lovely and they come every three months and they will for the rest of our lives. And when I die, those checks go to my daughter ’cause I’m sure there will be people watching porn after I die. That’s the deal that I made.
I know initially the biggest concern of yours was your daughter, Eva, eventually finding out about the tape…
Mimi Faust: Oh, no no, absolutely, there’s gonna come a time when I have to explain this to her. 100,000 percent yes. If you go on the internet now, all you have to do is Google someone’s name and everything pops up; and she’s only getting older. She’s computer savvy, she’s gonna be around kids, kids are mean, somebody’s gonna try to say something about me to her. That’s just what kids do. Trust me, I have thought about this 100,000 ways of how it can go, and, yes, I will explain it to her the minute she comes to me with it.
Season 5, what can be expected?
Mimi Faust: Every season is completely different. We’re getting new cast members; I know that they were auditioning new people, so there’s gonna be new faces. So you just never know. You’re just gonna have to sit back and wait and see season five Love & Hip Hop.
Specifically, what would you like to see happen next season?
Mimi Faust: You know what I would like to see and what’s really gonna happen, two different things. [Laughs] The show is a well ran machine and it takes different components, certain components, to make a machine work, correct? Now if you change these components, if everything is running smoothly and you throw something else off into the mix, it’s gonna mess up what’s working. So, they have a formula and they stick to it, so it really doesn’t matter what I want to see; that’s not gonna happen.
So then, executive producer Mona Scott-Young is the driving force behind it all?
Mimi Faust: She’s a huge part of it; she’s a huge part of it because—I’m not gonna say she masterminded anything. Let me tell you what Mona Scott did. Mona Scott was a very lucky woman in the cast that she picked when we started this journey, season one, we all really had a lot a lot of foul shit going on in our lives, so she just picked some cast members that were really fucked up and had a lot of foul stuff going on, so she got lucky with us, like really lucky, and then the ball just kept rolling from there.
In the last episode you were contemplating moving out to Los Angeles on the heels of Stevie…
Mimi Faust: Why would I do that? Like why would I do that? My daughter is here, she’s in school and she’s got everything going here. I’m gonna go run to L.A., move to L.A. because Stevie is in L.A.? That’s not my man, we’re not together. I’ll take Eva out to visit, we can jump on a plane all day and go visit, but to uproot everything I have going on because he moved to L.A. is stupid. Why would I do that? No, your woman could run behind you to L.A., but I’m not about do that.
I thought maybe because it was for the sake of your daughter being closer in proximity to her father. And, of course, the company, MF Entertainment, you and he have together.
Mimi Faust: Well, I live here in Atlanta, my attorney is in New York, my publicist is in L.A.; we can do business with him being in L.A., phone calls, fax machines. We got on the computer where you can do the conference calls over the computer. We can definitely do business. You can send stuff with a snap of a finger. We can do this company with him being in L.A. just fine. He doesn’t have to be in my face for us to run this business.
Do you have any other future aspirations, besides, let’s say, entertainment?
Mimi Faust: Definitely. People don’t know that I really, really love decorating and I’m gonna branch off into that as well. So, look forward to that. I’m not gonna speak too much about it, but I really love decorating and I’m getting into decorating.
So would that mean you will eventually be making your departure from Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta?
Mimi Faust: Love & Hip Hop is not my end all be all, they are not. Don’t get me wrong, I love what they have done for me and for my career, and that platform that they have given me is not replaceable. So, I’m so fortunate for them and for the situation that they have placed me in to be able to do all of these other things. Thank you Mona Scott and NFGTV and VH-1 and Viacom, thank you I am very appreciative.
What had you been doing, both personally and professionally speaking, prior to taking on this huge juggernaut that we, the masses, now know as Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta?
Mimi Faust: I had a cleaning company called Keep IT Clean (LLC). I was just a regular girl and I had a cleaning business, and, yeah, that’s what I did. That’s where the whole maid thing came in where Joseline (and them were) calling me Molly the Maid, and all that is because I owned a cleaning business. But, you want to call me a maid when I’m an entrepreneur and own my own business?! That is so the craziest thing to me, that all of her followers and fans jumped on that bandwagon but are you looking at the fact that I’m a young black woman that owns my own business? No, you just want to call me a maid and degrade me. It’s just so backwards to me, but you put her on a pedestal and she’s a stripper? I mean, when I say ass backwards I don’t know how much more ass backwards you can get.
Well she definitely tried to throw shade your way plenty of times, especially in her many attempts to expose you as an equal “freak,” much in the same vein as her.
Mimi Faust: Let’s be clear, I’m no saint now. I’ve had threesomes with Stevie on his accord; this wasn’t something that I wanted. Like I wasn’t like, “Oh, yeah, let’s bring her home and have a threesome!” This was what he wanted to do and I did this because (it’s) with my man and this would keep the relationship spicy, whatever, whatever. But, yes, Stevie and Joseline have a very healthy, interesting sex life and she makes it perfectly clear that she says (she) likes women more than she likes men, their private parts is the words that she used, but, hey, to each his own. Hey, whatever floats their boat. That’s what they do; more power to ’em, I hope it works out for ’em.
Is acting currently on your radar as well?
Mimi Faust: I would love to. Since I have been doing Love & Hip Hop, I’ve done a couple of other things with people and I love it. So, yeah, I would love to do a for real acting gig. I don’t know (maybe) TV, movies, something, absolutely.
Projecting, where do you see yourself in a 5 to 10 year span?
Mimi Faust: I want to be on top of any and every thing that I touch and put my hands. I want to be on top. I really don’t know where I will be in 5 or 10 years, but wherever it’ll be, it’s gonna be on top. Whatever I’ll do, I’ll try to do the absolute best that I can do it.
What’s next for Mimi Faust?
Mimi Faust: I’m just working on all my projects that I have right now. Of course the book, The Maya Collection, my home decor line. I don’t know if I told you that I’m working on a home decor line as well? Yeah, I want to be like the next Black Martha Stewart. Just getting it started. I’m moving, so I’m looking for houses right now. So, I’m doing a lot. I’m doing a lot right now. Actually my realtor is downstairs as we speak.
It’s been absolute pleasure speaking with you today, thank you so much.
Mimi Faust: Awesome, thank you so much. Thank you for having me and I had fun, too.