[INTERVIEW] AD Diggs Strives To Drive Love, Light, & Positivity, On & Off The TV Screen

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LHHH‘s AD Diggs Opens Up About Adjusting To Reality TV, Sexuality In The Corporate World, & Being A Voice For Equality

There is so much more to this Love & Hip Hop Hollywood cast member than what meets the eye. Season four of the hit VH1 show, we gained a formal introduction to AD Diggs. At first glance, you may know her as the girlfriend of fellow castmate Moniece Slaughter, but after having the opportunity to have a personal conversation with Diggs, we actually had the honor of getting to know a little bit more about the New York native, beyond the reality TV storylines and her romantic relationship with Slaughter.

It’s clear that she is herself, not trying to be anyone else. She’s simply AD, the girl from Brooklyn, with a story waiting to be heard and a voice not afraid to tell it. Frankly, in this day and age, those kind of people are hard to come across, which is why you cannot help but love that about her. During our conversation, she was so transparentdespite having deeply expressed her knack of previously leading a private life. She didn’t hesitate to keep it real about how reality TV had taken a lot of mental adjusting. She didn’t hesitate to keep it real about the discrimination that she still faces within the corporate world. She didn’t hesitate about any of it! She just owned her truth in the dopest way that she knew how. And, honestly, we can probably all agree that she’s just an all-around dope individual. That was gathered even in the short time spent talking to her.

In our interview, Diggs opened up about the struggle that she enduresas a female and even as a lesbian, on her everyday job in the male-dominated Corporate America field. For those of you who don’t know, Diggs holds a leading managerial position within the automotive industry, at a Fortune 500 Company that she’s been working with for years, before the reality fame. The obstacles that she’s had to encounter have played a huge role in her mission to promote love, peace, and equalitynot only for the LGBTQ community, but for all people.

Aspiring to inspire, Diggs has since started her own unisex streetwear line, Digg The Kicks, in an effort to provide trendy apparel, crafted with no gender boundaries. Digg The Kicks features everything from modish sweatsuits to leggings and hats. No stranger to standing out, Diggs took her unwavering love for basketball, fashion, and sporty sneakers and created an entrepreneurial goldmine that is sure to keep the streets talking. She is diligently working to grow her brand as not only the CEO, but also a walking statement for those who are often afraid to be their truest selves. In a world full of hate, AD Diggs strives to be the vessel that drives love and light, and she hopes that, by doing so, Digg The Kicks can serve as more than just another company; it can be a movement, showing the world that it’s okay to be you, and you can be fashionable while doing it, with no labels attached. 

A rising businesswoman, TV personality, and an advocate for all things positive, AD Diggs is continuing to soar, with no limitations, and it seems that the sky is definitely the limit.

Check out our exclusive interview below!

Parlé Mag: As we know, you are widely known for being a cast member of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Hollywood, alongside your girlfriend, Moniece Slaughter. The show really captured a lot of the ups and downs as well as highs and lows of the relationship between the two of you. So, for you, just now coming into the whole reality TV arena and literally having a good majority of your personal life broadcast to thousands of people across the world, how was that adjustment?
AD Diggs: It’s been a tremendous adjustment, I should say. I was a very, very private person, and Moniece knew this about me when we first started dating. Maybe that’s one of the things that attracted her to me, because I wasn’t of this world. And, she was like, “Oh, finally! Somebody who’s super cool, kind of low key, and private.” I had like four hundred followers on social media. I really didn’t post myself that much. I come from Corporate America, so I was really cautious about what I posted, what I put out there. I’m a senior manager. So, I just come from a whole different world. When I started dating Moniece, she posted me on social media, I think, one time, and, all of a sudden, I had a flood of followers. I freaked out and blocked it.

Parlé Mag: Oh, wow!
AD Diggs: I was so scared! She was like, “No, no, no! It’s okay, babe.” I was like, ‘I’m freaking out! This is too much! I hate people in my personal life!’ What she’s been able to do is kind of like calmly get me through it and like, “Hey, it’s okay. This is what’s going to happen.” So, I’ve kind of learned. It’s been over a year now; I’ve been navigating through it. But, what you put out there, it will never go away!

Parlé Mag: That is so true!
AD Diggs: You have to be very careful! I think that because of where I’m atmy age, my maturity levels, I really understand that. And, then, you also really need to understand who you want to be and who you are. So, that was all very much pressure on me. It was a tremendous change. Now, people are recognizing her and me! Before, it was just her, and it was fine. You know, I would just stand off to the side, and they never really said anything. But, now, it’s like, “Oh my God, AD!” Or, I’m driving in the car, and people are like, “Hey!” I get a lot of positive, and I was really nervous about that because Moniece is okay with it. She’s like the ‘petty queen’! [laughs] She gets all of this stuff, you know, and that’s just not me! So, I was really nervous. I didn’t know how the public was going to receive me, as well. I’m a lesbian; I dress like a boy. All of these things that a lot of people are not really comfortable with or familiar with. I was really nervous, but I’ve been received really well because I put myself out there, and I’m really positive, and I’m just myself. So, it was an adjustment! Absolutely an adjustment. But, I’m now comfortable. There are still some ups and downs, but I’m a lot more comfortable.

Parlé Mag: Seeing all of the scrutiny and everything else that comes with being on a controversial reality show, did you ever regret airing so much of yourself out on national television?
AD Diggs: No! I went into this processand I call it a process because it definitely wasmore so, thinking about what I wanted to put out there. Moniece and I both talked about what we were comfortable doing, and our relationship was an open game. The way I looked at it was, ‘Hey, the ups and downs, the things that I dealt withwith my best friend, the things that Moniece dealt with, all of those are things that people really deal with that you don’t get to see. So, you’re going to use Moniece and me as an example of either we don’t make it or we do, and these are the reasons why we might not.’ I knew that we were going to be relatable to someone. I had to be okay with that. I run a business; there are people who run businesses who are trying to balance relationships. These were all real things that were happening. I didn’t have to make this up! I think that I would’ve been more uncomfortable if I had to make it up or be fake about what my lifestyle was. If Moniece would’ve asked me that, I probably would’ve said, ‘No’, more than likely, to her. I’m not making up shit! [laughs]

Parlé Mag: [laughs] I wouldn’t either! That’s what’s wrong with a lot of reality TV, nowadays. It’s not actually ‘reality’. So, it’s refreshing to see something real for once. You know?
AD Diggs: Absolutely! It’s tough. You know, because people have an opinion nowwell, they think they have an opinion, now, I should say. So, they think that they know what’s best for Moniece and me. We have to kind of quiet some of that stuff for ourselves. But, we’re in very good place right now, more than ever. I think that because we made it through such a tough time, in real life, that we’re a lot stronger, by going through that process together.

AD Diggs
Parlé Mag:
Initially, what did your close family and friends think about you joining the Love & Hip Hop franchise?
AD Diggs: They thought that I was ridiculous! [laughs] They couldn’t even believe it!

Parlé Mag: Why was that? [laughs]
AD Diggs: They were like, “You? Of all people? You’re private! You come from Corporate America!” They always say that I’m a little bit of a stickler. Like, I don’t loosen up. I’m always very ‘politically correct’; I say the right things. I’m really fun and outgoing, but only with my close friends and family. So, I, sometimes, overthink things that I say, and they’re like, “You’re such a cornball! What are you going to do?” I was like, “I don’t know! I’m just going to be myself! Fuck it.” You know? [laughs] It was funny. They were just like, “No way!” So, when it aired, my mother—she’s from Brooklyn, New YorkI’m Puerto-Rican and Italian, she will still hit you in the face if you say something disrespectful!

Parlé Mag: [laughs]
AD Diggs: That’s just how she was raised! For her, it was like, “I can’t go on the internet.” she was like, “I can’t deal.” Because, you know, for her, it’s ‘protect my baby’. So, I told them, ‘It’s okay. I’m going to be fine. I want you guys to understand that I’m going to be fine, and I’m in a good place. I don’t care. You guys can’t care.” I think, for them, that was the biggest thing. Just what people were saying. We come from like Cardi B and ‘nem! So, that’ll tell you! We don’t really play. We come from New York. Our family sticks together. They were just like, “Let us know what it is.” and I’m like, “Everybody just relax!” [laughs]

Parlé Mag: Do you plan on returning to the show? Will we see more of the relationship between you and Moniece?
AD Diggs: I’m going to tell you this. You will see more of our relationship, obviously, through social media and maybe from, possibly, some other things that we’re going to do. I don’t know if the Love & Hip Hop platform is going to be ‘it’ for Moniece and me anymore. We’ll have to wait and see. It’s just kind of one of those things when you think about how off-season works, productions, and different things like that. So, if it makes sense to Moniece and me, absolutely, and if it doesn’t, business-wise, then we won’t, basically. I’m about my money, and I’m a businessperson! So, we will see. [laughs]

Parlé Mag: So, aside from reality TV, as you mentioned earlier, a lot of people don’t know that you actually have a background in Corporate America. Holding a leadership position in such a male-dominated field as the automotive industry, what are some of the challenges that you faced, as a woman, working in Corporate America?
AD Diggs: I’m glad that you asked this question because it’s the big thing, now, that I’m facing. Before, I was able to kind of skate under the radar, a little bit, and, I guess, not really talk about my sexuality, not really talk about how I’m dating a black woman. When you don’t talk about it, it’s fine to them. But, as soon as they know something, or they think that you’re embarrassing the company or embarrassing them, it becomes different. At work, I’m fully-sleeved; they’ve never seen my tattoos. I’m always really cautious about how I cut my hair. It was just different things that I had to show differently to them. Now that I’m on TV, they caught wind of it, and I’ve been getting a lot of backlash.

Parlé Mag: Wow, seriously?
AD Diggs: Yeah, as a result of it. It has made me really uncomfortable in some of my settings, to the point where it’s given me levels of anxiety. I feel like my work shows. I’ve been with the company for ten years!

Parlé Mag: That’s a long time.
AD Diggs: I’ve worked my ass off to get to this position! I don’t think my sexuality or who I date should ever affect my hard work and dedication to a company, even what I’m doing outside of Corporate America, as a job, because that’s just a job. But, when I go home and I want to own a business and do reality TV, that should be my choice. So, I’m really cautious about what I put on social media. You don’t see anything illegal; you don’t see me doing rants. I’m very aware of what I do and put out there. It’s been a tough adjustment, for me, because I feel like I’m being singled out a little bit, as a result of me living my authentic self, finally, if that makes sense. I’m just saying, ‘Eff it! This is my sexuality. This is who I’m dating, and I’m going to let America see.’ Corporate America should also adjust, and it shouldn’t be a judgment. I’m learning so much about where I want to be now. Like, ‘Is Corporate America where I’m going to be the happiest at?”

Parlé Mag: From your social media, it’s easily noticeable that you are a huge advocate for love, peace, and equality, especially within the LGBTQ community, and you’re very authentic and unapologetic in your journey. However, sadly, even in 2017, a lot of people are still afraid to come forth and live in their truth because of the restrictions that society tries to place upon them. So, have you always been so comfortable with living in your truth? If not, what did it take for you to get to this point?
AD Diggs: My mother is really big on just being herself. She’s a hippie. She’s been like a ‘super rebel’ her whole entire life. My grandmother was probably losing her mind with my mother. [laughs] So, my mom was a free spirit. I grew up in that, not a lot of structure. But, what it created in me was, ‘Hey, I need to have more structure. I need to find a balance between that.’ My mom always told me, “No matter what you want to be in the world, whatever you decide to do, I’m going to love you.” That was always helpful for me. I don’t think she really knew that it was going to be about my sexuality. [laughs] You know? I don’t think that’s what she meant. But, I was like, ‘Oh, you’re going to love me anyway, so I got this.’ I always remembered her saying that to me. As just trying to come out, initially, I was like seventeen years old. I didn’t really have any gays or lesbians in my family, or anybody to kind of look up to, to know how to do this. I had to do it on my own. I went to my mom, and she was like, “Maybe it’s just a phase.” She didn’t really give me a hard time. She cried a little bit. She was like, “Okay, so, I have to accept the fact that you may not have kids, you’re not going to be with a man, you’re not going to do traditional stuff.” But, throughout the years, it’s been so accepted by my family and my friends.

Parlé Mag: That’s wonderful.
AD Diggs: It didn’t even matter what anybody else thought about it, at that point, because that’s who matters to me. So, [my family] gave me the confidence to get out into the world and say, ‘Eff this. This is who I am. I’m going to show up as me, and if you don’t love me and accept me, you don’t really matter to me.’ That’s given me the strength. I think, for me, I focus less on my sexuality and more about who I am as a personwhether I was with a man or a woman. If you’re a good person, people will like you, as a result of that. So, that’s how I kind of read into everything. When I got into TV, I didn’t even think twice about ‘people might not accept me because I’m a lesbian’ or ‘they might not accept me because I dress like a boy.’ That didn’t cross my mind. I was like, ‘Maybe they’ll either not like me because I’m just not a good person or they don’t like the way I treat Moniece.’ You know, these things. I didn’t even want to focus on that. That’s so ignorant to me. You can’t not like someone because of who they decide to love. Like, that’s really ignorant to me, and I can’t give energy to that, at all.

Parlé Mag: What advice would you offer those who are still struggling to accept themselves, due to being fearful of the judgment from others?
AD Diggs: I would say, find people of like mindswhether you’re coming out or you want to be an artist, whatever it is. Just surround yourself with like-minded people. The more relatable they are to you, the more you’ll find comfort and strength. Then, when you get out there and see the world where it may not be as accepted, you’ll be comfortable to always go back to the foundation of who do accept you, who does love you, and what they’ve also dealt with in the world. Just be yourself! If you snuff yourself out of being yourself, you will live an unhappy life. So, find people of like mind. There are tons of people out there who are dealing with similar things. And, therapy shouldn’t be off of the table! It really shouldn’t be off of the table. I think that therapy is an okay outlet, as well.

Parlé Mag: How do you hope to utilize your platform to speak out against LGBTQ discrimination and kind of break those cycles for the community?
AD Diggs: I’m doing it now. Even before the show aired, I got a publicist because of that reason. I didn’t get a publicist because I wanted to be famous. I needed a publicist to get me the right interviews, get me on the right carpets, get me into right things so that I can actually use my platform for these things. You know? So, that’s what I’ve been really focused on, making sure I’m not just showing up to the hottest partiesI don’t really care if folks see me. Unless Moniece and I have to attend something, that’s not really what I want to do. I want to make sure that there’s a purpose behind why I’m going to these things. If I do an interview, I want to make sure that the interview has substance and is going to make sense. So, hopefully, I’ll get to a point where I can do some motivational speaking in front of the kids. It doesn’t have to just be LGBTQ; I just want to get in front of people. I want to be able to share my story and the things I’ve been through. I just don’t want people to have excuses anymore, and I want to be able to wipe that away. It doesn’t matter how you look. That shouldn’t matter. So, I’m using that. I stress it to my team, right now, about putting me in front of the right people.

AD Diggs
Parlé Mag:
Amazing, amazing. So, switching gears, let’s talk about your unisex street apparel line, Digg The Kicks. How did the concept for it come about?
AD Diggs: Well, I’m huge sneakerhead! I played basketball for the majority of my life. So, I had a sneaker shop; I owned a sneaker shop. I had a business partner, and I dissolved the business agreement. It’s still a sneaker shop, and I still have my sneakers there; it’s just not my name there anymore. It was hard to manage a storefront. For me, I’m really business savvy, so I said, ‘Hey, I want to go online! I kind of want to do this on my own. I’m going to get away from sneakers, right now, and I’m going to create an apparel line that’s unisex, sneaker-inspired, and you can wear it with your cool sneakers.’ I’m just going to sell some easy clothes! Like, hoodies, t-shirts, and hatsall of the stuff that people like to wear, with just a dope ass pair of sneakers. It is all stuff that I actually wear every day. I wanted to make sure that it was stuff that I actually would wear. So, yeah, that was it. I want to expand, but I’m also the only one managing it. So, I wanted to make sure that it was manageable and I was going to get good quality sweatsuits, good quality track jackets, good quality hats. I feel like people do these big apparel lines and they can’t really manage it, then it turns out not being good quality. So, I didn’t want to put anything out there that I wouldn’t actually wear or wouldn’t put my stamp of approval on. Then, the name, ‘Digg The Kicks’, which is trademarked by me, my last name is Diggs. It was fun! So, that’s how ‘Digg’ The Kicks came out.

Parlé Mag: I love that! Would you ever consider opening a physical store for Digg The Kicks, or are you just sticking to online?
AD Diggs: So, right now, I want to do like pop-up shops. I have a really close friend of mine who’s a dope barbershe cuts my hair, and she’s amazing. So, I’m thinking about doing some kind of cross barbershop slash pop-up shops. I don’t only want to have Digg The Kicks in there. I really love putting people in good positions, and I want to put people on all of the time because I’m grateful for this. So, if there are some up and coming brands, I want to reach out to them and put them in these pop-up shops and just have fun and see people grow. So, that’s the main thing. The future of [Digg The Kicks] is pop-up shops, and I want to release some new colors in my sweatsuits.

Parlé Mag: Through your brand, what statement do you strive to set?
AD Diggs: I would say that, for me, it’s about the individual. The reason why the clothes aren’t too loud is because when you look at someone, you look directly at their feet because you want to know if they got some clean shoes, clean sneakers, whatever it is, right?

Parlé Mag: Right!
AD Diggs: So, for me, I wanted the focus to be the shoes, the sneakers. It doesn’t even matter if you’re wearing some dope flip flops or some heels, but the focus is that you got some flip flops on because you got your toes done, and then you throw on a pair of sweatpants! That’s the focus! We always focus on our shoes. So, I wanted to complement that, and I wanted to make sure that your individual style was able to be whatever your shoe preference was. That was really huge for me. I wanted it to be unisex; I wanted to not have to say, ‘Hey, this is men’s sweats, this is women’s sweats.’ I wanted it to be for everybody. Everybody can wear it! It’s a pair of sweatpants! Come on, man!

Parlé Mag: [laughs] Definitely! So, as the year comes to a close, what goals do you want to achieve in 2018?
AD Diggs: As I said, I’m really business savvy, and I’m always thinking about making money, so, right now, I’m doing real estate. I’m investing in some properties. So, that’s my goal for 2018. Hopefully, I can actually complete my actual purchase in 2017, and then I want to go to Vegas and get some real estate out there. I also want to expand the Digg The Kicks brand into something bigger. And, then, obviously, I have my relationship with Moniece that is super important to me, and her son, Cameron. So, hopefully, there will be, maybe, some rings going down the pipeline. Just don’t tell her! She gets a little crazy about it. She’s pressuring me! [laughs] The pressure is on!

Catch up with AD Diggs on social media:

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