Antonia “Toya” Carter has come a long way since her tough love days - living in New Orleans, dealing with barely-there parents, raising a child at 15. But after episodes of openly sharing her struggles and personal story, the new woman on the opposite end of the phone is not sad or angry or claiming to know all the answers on how to bounce back from hardships or heartache. Instead she just hopes to touch a fan, friend or family member with her life. She is much more than just Lil Wayne’s ex-wife. The sky’s the limit for this wonderful mother, loyal friend, writer, and mentor.
What do you enjoy most about your newfound fame?
People come up to me every day... They just want to give me a hug, or they want to tell me their story. They open up to me because they’re going through something that's similar to my situation. Some of the messages I get make me cry because just when you feel like you're in a bad situation, there's always someone in a worse situation than you are. They thank me so much for opening my life up. They feel like they can relate in so many ways, and it makes me feel good to hear that. I have no regrets. They got a message: you can't let your past interfere with your future. That makes me happy because I really didn't know I was going to touch as many people as I did.
Growing up in New Orleans, did you ever imagine all this for yourself?
I never thought I'd be doing a reality TV show or nothing like that, and letting the world know about my childhood. But, I always knew that some day I would do something. Growing up, I went back and forth with fashion; like a young girls clothing line. As a teenager I would always cut up clothes and design clothes for my friends and cousins. That's something I always enjoyed. I would paint my shoes to match my clothes, and punch holes and rip stuff. You know, just make it happen. Everyone seemed to like it. It's a whole lot that comes along with starting a fashion line, but it is something I still want to get into some day.
What's up with the book?
I'm in the process right now in making that happen. It's exciting! I have two bids right now on the table, so that's coming out real soon.
Do you have a title yet?
"Unwrapped: My Life Before and After Lil Wayne.” It's not a tell-all though; it's just about my life.
How does Lil Wayne feel about the book and your show?
He really didn't say much. He told me he watched the show and he liked it. I guess he's dealing with it. He said the show was something totally different than what he expected it to be. I guess he thought the show would be all about him, bashing him... so he's real cool.
How's your relationship with him?
We're cool. That's my daughter's father. I'm going to always have feelings for him, but I’ve moved on.
Are you seeing someone?
Yes, I am, but I'm going to keep that a secret because people tend to want to tear things apart when you put too much of your business out there.
So, there is life after Lil Wayne?
Of course. I want to get married again and hopefully have one more kid.
Was it hard to move on?
It was so crazy because it's not like [moving on from] your average Joe. He was always on the radio, on every song, every time you turn on the television you see this person, every magazine you pick up, he's in it, every song, he's on it. It was hard, but I did it with prayer.
You know, I’m not going to sit up here and say that it was easy getting over Wayne, getting over heartbreak. I'm over it all the way now because it's been a few years, but I went through it then. There was a lot I dealt with, but I had to keep strong because I was raising my daughter. I can't let a man bring me down. I had to remain strong and pray about the situation, ask God to help get over this heartbreak and deal with it and move forward. And I looked at it like this - everything happens for a reason. I just kept praying and things just worked out and I love the way it is right now. We have a great friendship, we both moved on with our lives, and our main focus is on raising our daughter.
Raising a daughter at 15 is no joke...
Not at all. My family would tell me things like "you made your bed hard, now you have to sleep in it." I did. I was pregnant at 14 and all the other girls were going to their high school dances and I was inside with my daughter. It made me grow up real fast. I'm enjoying my life now though. My daughter and I are growing up together, so I'm able to do things with her that I never got the chance to do.
How is Lil Wayne's relationship with Reginae?
We both have a good relationship with her. We're both able to be parents to her and that's all I ever wanted, for real. If things didn't work out, I didn't want him to just completely walk away and not have a relationship with me. You know, because my mom and dad didn't have a relationship and that kind of messed us up.
Do you have a relationship with his other children or their mothers?
I speak to Nivea here and there. He's no longer with Nivea, but she's pregnant by him. She'll call Reginae, too, and say hi to her. I also got a chance to meet his little boy's mother in Atlanta.
What about Lauren London?
She's the only one I don't talk to, but that's because she's all the way in California. For real, I don't have no problems with those girls. Our kids are brothers and sisters.
Are you enjoying Atlanta?
I love Atlanta. I really do. This is home. I don't think I’ll ever move back to New Orleans.
Throughout this whole life change, what have you learned about yourself?
You have to love yourself first. When you work hard, work hard bettering yourself. I learned a lot from my relationship with Wayne. I thought I was missing all this love and attention, so when I finally got it from Wayne, it was like everything was about him, and that's not cool. I also learned that I’m very strong because I’ve watched people break down. They can't handle half the things I’ve been through.
How did you and Tiny meet?
Tiny and I met in Atlanta. We had a mutual friend. We were all hanging out one day and she introduced us and we just clicked. We just realized we had a lot in common. We both like to shop! Every time I call her, she's in the mall. Every time she calls me, I’m in the mall. It's crazy.
And Tiny is someone I can trust and talk to. She's going to be around when things are good and bad, not just when things are good. It don't matter what time it is, if I got a problem, I can just pick up the phone and call Tiny. She's always there to listen and give me advice and I love her for that.
Awww! OK, let's chat about something less serious, more fun.
Do you work out?
I do. I think it's very important to keep your shape together. I'll be lying if I said I eat healthy, but I try to make up for it by working out, so I won’t get fat. But I’m working on eating healthier.
I like Seven jeans, True Religion, Joe jeans, Hudson’s...
I like YSL's and Christian Louboutin, but they hurt like hell. But let me say, I'm a little different. Any shoe that's hot, I will wear it. It don't really have to have a name all the time. I feel like you can make whatever it is you put on, as long as you put it together right. It could be a shoe from Macy’s; I’ll wear it if I think it's hot. I'm not all into the designer stuff all the time. I will wear regular clothes. That's the difference between me and other people. I don't care what it is, and my daughter is the same way. I'll put anything on her if I think it's hot. It can come from Walmart. I'm not on that name brand kick and I don't ever want to get on it.
What are the tatts on your chest?
That was the old Toya. It's initials, but I don’t want to talk about that. I have a lot of tattoos. I think that was just a phase.
Favorite Lil Wayne song?
"Young'n Blues" and "The Block is Hot." I like the old Lil Wayne.
What's in your handbag?
My Bobbi Brown bronzer, my credit card.... I always keep a small thing of perfume, and my Donna Karan deodorant ... And of course pictures of my daughter. That's all I need.
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