With full-length articles devoted to her on various prestigious publications, and her having millions of followers on her different social media accounts, Yandy Smith has definitely become a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry. The TV producer, entertainment manager, and entrepreneur first gained attention by being one of the most dominant faces on the VH1 reality show, Love and Hip Hop: New York. She has since then gone ahead to venture into various other things that have contributed to her being the prominent figure that she is today, as well as having a net worth estimated to be about $18 million.
Yandy Smith’s Life Before Fame
Yandy Smith’s birth name is Yandielle Unique Smith. She was born to Ralph and Laura Smith on March 21, 1982, and was raised alongside her brother in the Harlem neighborhoods of New York City. We have no details about where she attended high school. We, however, do know that she attended and graduated from Howard University in 2004, majoring in Business Management.
The reality star has said that it was the NBC hit sitcom, A Different World, that inspired her to insist on going to college. As soon as she left the four walls of Howard, she landed a job at Violator Management, an artist management company based in New York City. She worked as an executive assistant in the company before the proximate influences that led to her eventual fame began to emerge.
The Unique Steps She Took To Become Famous
Bristling with energy and ambition, Yandy Smith had barely lasted a year in her Violator Management job when, in 2005, she met rapper Jim Jones while attending a hip-hop summit in Detroit. Following this meeting, Yandy and Jim reached an agreement about a management deal that would later see her resign from her job to manage him on a full-time basis.
She reportedly offered to manage Jim for free until she was able to deliver something concrete. Jim was said to have liked the way this hitherto random girl was passionate about her work and so he later offered to hire her as his full-time manager. Yandy’s decision to just be helpful to an upcoming rap sensation later turned out to be one of the best decisions she ever made as well as one of the biggest reasons she is famous today.
Her Role in the Launching of the Love & Hip Hop franchise
In his ambition to break even, Jim Jones approached the management of VH1 and asked them to create a reality show about him. This request later resulted in an 11-minute-long presentation tape entitled Keeping Up With the Joneses.
But, at the time, executives at VH1 were not sure of the commercial potential of the intended reality show. At that point, it was Yandy Smith who saved the day by suggesting to TV producer Mona Scott-Young whose production company was handling the series’ production to tweak the show to include Jones’ girlfriend Chrissy and his circle of friends. This retooling of the series is what resulted in the franchise known today as Love & Hip Hop, with Love & Hip Hop: New York being its debut series. The cardinal role Yandy played in the birth of the series helped to earn her appearances in it and has also earned her a ‘special thanks’ credit at the end of each episode.
In the beginning, Yandy’s appearance on the show was limited to cameos. From Season 2, however, she became a series regular and has maintained that position ever since.
She Has Managed a Number of Other Artists
Yandy Smith did not become complacent once she was in the good books of Jim and a couple of other professionals in the industry. Instead, she kept doing her best to add more big names to her career network. Thus, over the years, she has been able to manage, or at least be in the management team, of countless high profile musicians like 50 Cent, LL Cool J, and Missy Elliot. There can be no doubt that her association with these big fishes in the industry is one reason we have come to know her.
Yandy Smith’s Entrepreneurial Career
It is one thing to get up but quite another to remain up. Yandy Smith certainly knows this which is why she has never rested on her oars. In addition to her management job and her Love & Hip Hop: New York gig, the New York native has also been involved in other ventures.
She owns and manages a girlie-themed lifestyle and accessories brand known as Everything Girls Love. As a part of Everything Girls Love, Yandy publishes a magazine known as EGL which covers topics on love and relationships, health and wellness, fashion, and even finances.
Yandy also runs a nonprofit outfit dubbed P.U.D. which she uses to motivate young girls to get an education and reach their educational goals. Through the outfit, she also promotes women’s rights through her motivational speeches where she presents the challenges every woman faces in finding a balance between their private life and job.
Other than these, Yandy Smith has also tried her hands at book writing. In 2016, she published a book titled The Beauty of Branding In Business – A Guide for Aspiring and Emerging Entrepreneurs. Although the book did not attract as many sales as expected, it still got her favorable mentions that added to the pool of her reputation. It is said that Yandy now plans to author a series of children’s books.
A Look At Yandy Smith’s Marriage to Husband Mendeecees
Yandy Smith entered into a long term relationship with Mendeecees Harris after they met in 2007. Mendeecees was a real estate developer and the owner of a recording studio in the Bronx known as the Beat Factory. He later also appeared alongside his partner in Love & Hip Hop: New York. The couple’s appearance on the reality TV show made details of their personal relationship available to the public. Their love story has since then had its own fair share of ups and downs which the star has embraced.
Yandy’s husband has been accused of different things, including child molestation from which she has always defended him. Later on, he was accused of being a part of a drug trafficking organization that trafficked over $3 million worth of cocaine, heroin, and other illegal drugs for seven years until 2012.
Mendeecees had gotten engaged to Yandy and the duo were planning their wedding when he had to turn himself into custody following the charges preferred against him. Season 4 of the reality show saw Yandy trying to adjust to the new reality of her partner being away in jail. When he later came out on bail, just after Yandy had given birth to their second baby Skylar in January 2015, the couple got married. The wedding was captured on Love & Hip Hop, in a spin-off known as Love & Hip Hop Live: The Wedding.
By the time Season 6 began airing, Mendeecees was sentenced to 8 years in jail. VH1 had shared a video then of a heart-rending goodbye scene between Mendeecees and his wife and kids:
In November 2019, after spending four years behind bars, Mendeecees regained his freedom rather earlier than expected. The couple were happy to have reunited and Yandy was very eager to announce it on Instagram in a video titled “Never going back @Mendeecees”
Since Mendeecees’ release, Yandy Smith has been living happily with him, their two kids Skylar and Omere, their adopted daughter Infinity Gilyard, and Mendeecees’ two sons from previous relationships; Aasim and Mendeecees Harris Jr.