‘Love & Hip Hop’ star Kendra Robinson is making boss moves in the entrepreneurial realm as a Criminal Defense Attorney and Real Estate Lawyer operating under two black-owned firms; Sanders, Robinson & Scott (SRS) and Kendra Robinson & Associates.
In addition to making her own paper, she became a wife and married her costar Yung Joc, who she’s been dating before even making an appearance on the reality show and had been dating the rapper prior.
After growing tired of having empty relationships on screen, the couple decided to bring the real about their love story, and enter season eight showcasing their relationship.
BET chatted with the newlywed about her business ventures, breaking traditions in the courtroom, her marriage, and what to expect for the next season of ‘Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.’
BET: Dating Yung Joc and being introduced to an audience of millions on Love & Hip Hop, were there conversations you had to have with Joc in terms of how much to put out about your relationship and also conversations with yourself on how much you want fans to know Kendra?
Robinson: It was a big deal for me to join the cast because I’m a corporate businesswoman.For the first four and half years of our relationship, Joc was on the show and grew tired of sporting empty relationships on screen. I truly didn’t have an interest in joining the franchise. People knew we were together because they would see me with him all the time.
BET: Do you feel like you were represented in the best way?
Robinson: Sometimes yes and sometimes no, and that’s a big issue that I’ve had over the years being a cast member as I’m so much more than the tidbit that they give of me. But, what people see on the show is exactly what you’ll get if you run into me in real life. I don’t put on a facade for the cameras or change. I’ve expressed this many times — I would love for the show to showcase my company and my real estate firm because, in order to speak to Kendra, you have to speak to those things. It’s not my show so I didn’t expect that, however, I do want to showcase my career life a little bit more. Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity.
BET: Can you share a moment on the show that you were most proud to share with the world and is there a moment you may regret/wish you could redo?
Robinson: A proud moment from being on the show is when I got engaged. I was proud of myself, proud of the moment, and proud of Jaisel (Yung Joc). I was just so happy. One of the obvious moments I’m not too proud of is in my first or second appearance when I had my run-in with Karlie Redd. We had a small debacle where we were arguing and yelling which made me embarrassed. Here I am trying to tell people I’m a lawyer but I’m out here telling somebody I might dog walk them. I was totally not proud of that moment
BET: Can you let us know what we can expect from the upcoming season of Love & Hip Hop and what’s been filmed thus far?
Robinson: Without spilling the beans, I can tell you how me and Jaisel’s storyline is very prominent throughout the season with viewers getting a chance to see some of the highs and lows. You’ll get a glimpse of our wedding and what it was like planning for it but you’ll see some situations you guys probably didn’t even know about. There will be some more moments where fans will come to my defense while also defending our union. It’s a wide range of emotions this season. I just want to see what comes of all this work we both put in from sun up to sun down.
BET: How is married life with Joc right now, and what would you say was something you both had to learn to get to this point?
Robinson: I’m enjoying it and so is Jaisel, but I’ll let him tell it (laughs). We’ve been having a lot of fun and we've both been trying to love each other harder and longer because tomorrow isn’t promised. We reflected on the long journey and the road we’ve been down to be where we are. We did premarital counseling and we’re currently in post-marital counseling with our pastor still who recommended both for us. We both had to learn sacrifice and communication. You can’t have a good, proper relationship with communication. We’ve gone the extra mile to work on that and vocalize if we feel a certain way about something. You also must be willing to sacrifice in a relationship which is what you promise God when you give your vows. We’re just really trying to have a strong family unit.
BET: Are you looking to expand the family yet?
Robinson: Not anytime soon so not this year, the next year, or the year after but if I were to have a child, it would be when I’m around 38 years old — knocking on 39. It’s not on my radar as of right now.
BET: Can you tell us a little bit about the honeymoon getaway?
Robinson: We did a two-fold honeymoon. First, we went to Miami and indulged in our favorite restaurants and see a few places we like to go to when down there. Then we went to the U.S. Virgin Islands and did an island hop. First, we stayed on the main island and then went to St. Thomas to sightsee and then another island they have over there. We really lived the beach bum life. We had a lot of fun and boy, did we eat (laughs). I’m a seafood girl so we had lobster, shrimp, and crab I try not to eat too much of it since too much isn’t good for you. Because we pigged out so bad, we came back and went straight to the gym and started eating better.
BET: How do you balance your career and being a wife as well?
Robinson: Jaisel is extremely understanding and just like I was doing before we got married, I schedule everything out. We have meetings on Sundays to map out what we both have going on for the week, our finances, and plan out when we can go to dinner together or meet up for a quick lunch. Sometimes he’ll even tag along with me to work whether it’s coming to the office or driving me to close a deal on a property. Because when you’re married, you want to spend that time with each other and you don’t really want to leave your significant other.
BET: Sometimes our community may not have access to resources to learn about owning your own property or the best ways to start a business / start your own career. When it comes to ownership and entrepreneurship, what were some key lessons you learned along that way that has contributed to your success?
Robinson: One of the most important things I learned is to delegate tasks and also find a mentor. In any endeavor, I’ve engaged in or any businesses I own, I have my mentors to help guide me. I have a mentor who was the first boss I had coming out of law school, his name is Craig Lewis. Anytime I have a question I call Mr. Lewis. Because when you're starting out on your own, and whatever it is, unless you're already an expert, even if you are already an expert, starting a business is different, because you don't get a paycheck, and you don't get an insurance playing, you are the provider of all these things. So having a good mentor that is key.
Secondly, learning how to delegate tasks to someone like an assistant. You may not want to pay for one, but they’ll make your life easier.
BET: In Corporate America, Black people are making strides to eliminate certain “traditions” that would hinder us including our hairstyle and how we dressed. We’ve noticed that you've gone to court wearing an iced-out chain. As a risk-taker normalizing the taboo, what goes through your mind when you go against the “standard” and how do you think you’ll encourage others who look like you to walk in a room and be their complete selves?
Robinson: This is something I deal with a lot and people of color deal with this as well. I mean, they just passed the Crown Act and it’s crazy how that had to even come about. When I go into a courtroom, sometimes I have a lot of diamonds on and other times I may feel like wearing chains or a pendant. By the grace of God, I feel like I can just walk in, do my job, and not care. Sometimes I get certain responses from not even the majority, but the minority because they expect me to wear a plaid suit three sizes too big. I'm always dressed professionally, but I don't feel the need to fit into the cookie-cutter of it all.
BET: You once said "I won't be boxed in, I'm a lawyer, but I like trap music," How do you think you’ll change the narrative for how the world views lawyers, specifically Black lawyers?
Robinson: I think I'll do so just in by continuing to be my true self. I am a lawyer as clear as day. I've almost been a lawyer for a decade, but I do like rap music. I am also about to become a music producer. My husband bought me everything I needed to do to make beats and you know, he's trying to get me placed with you know, the proper producer so that I can actually you know, start doing what I want to do. So even if you're a lawyer, but you want to produce music like me, or if you're a lawyer, you want to, you know, be on reality TV or you want to be an actor, and actually, you can do it!
BET: What are three songs that get you hype before you enter the courtroom?
Robinson: Okay, so I’ll share with you the playlist I had this morning. First, I played Young Dolph’s record ‘Everybody Know’ because I like Dolph. Rest in Peace. Then I had ‘Formation’ by Beyoncé followed by ‘Take Off’ from the Watch The Throne album by Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé. It’s a real inspirational song because whatever happens today, I know I’m just going to take over, I'm gonna be great at it, and I'm gonna be the best at it.
BET: Define what a Boss is in your opinion?
Robinson: In my opinion, a boss is a person who can make goals, make a plan to reach those goals, and actually meet the goals. Help a few people along the way, and make a lasting impression upon the people you meet along the way. And then ultimately, the person who can do all of those things, while changing their lives in a positive way, and then changing somebody else's life in a positive way. At the same time, is maintaining your whole normal life. So basically, to break that down, it's just a person, a man or woman who can do everything, who's organized, who can execute a task, who can get that done, who can provide for themselves, provide for their family, and actually help people it's not enough to be successful and be a boss and just get all the money and earn all the money and just go get it.
Ty Cole is a New York-based entertainment reporter and writer for BET.com who covers pop culture, music, and lifestyle. Follow his latest musings on Twitter @IamTyCole.