When we first were introduced to Mimi Faust on reality TV, she was going through a lot. In Season 1 of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, she was part of an infamous love triangle that brought a lot of drama and ratings to the standout series in the franchise. But as the years have passed, Faust moved away from such stress. She went from being in the middle of chaos to stepping to the side while fists flew so she could eat her food in peace. Eventually, a lack of drama contributed to her not being a part of the latest season of LHHATL, which she was fine with. And while she wouldn’t have a problem returning, she’s not bringing drama into her life for a check. “I’m happy” she tells ESSENCE when asked how she’s doing, a smile on her face. She’s in a good place personally (she’s reunited with Ty Young) and professionally and isn’t interested in going backwards.
“I have very little drama in my life. I don’t know how the fans will feel about that,” she says when talking about the idea of returning to the show that brought her fame. “They seem to like me going through it. They don’t want to see happy Mimi, they want to see troubled Mimi. I’m pretty happy right now so I don’t know how that’s going to work for me [laughs].”
So she’s trying something different these days. Faust is one of the stars of the second season of VH1 Family Reunion: Love & Hip Hop Edition. She helped put together the cast, made up of people from all four franchises who meet up to hash out issues, reconcile, or agree to go their separate ways. Faust is not sitting out from this work, as she dealt with the issues she has with her co-parent, Stevie J, so they could get to a better place.
“Once I found out my daughter’s father was going to be there I was like ‘Aaaaah! I just wanted to have fun with my friends!'” she jokes. “But it was good. He came and he brought a whole other element to the reunion. Stevie is always a character and good TV, all the time, be it good or bad. It was an experience, I’ll say that.”
So what is life on TV like for her if she’s not dealing with drama from her partner, animosity from her co-stars and is genuinely embracing joy? That’s something she’s looking forward to the world seeing. We talked to Faust about what attracted her to doing Love and Hip Hop a different way, reuniting with Young, raising a tween in a toxic social media age, and the keys to finding peace.
ESSENCE: What drew you to the opportunity to take part in this second season of Family Reunion?
Mimi Faust: So the opportunity came and they were like, “Would you like to do this?” I saw the first one and I thought it was good so I said sure. At that time, we didn’t have a full cast. It was maybe eight people that were selected at the time. It was a collaboration of course of “Who would you want there?” I think VH1 did an absolutely fantastic job picking this cast because the personalities…it’s crazy. The people we came up with? It’s very entertaining.
You and Stevie are supposed to be working towards a better co-parenting relationship on the show. What have been the obstacles to that and how have things improved?
It’s been our communication. I’ve been in therapy just dealing with stuff from childhood that I never dealt with, confronted, or just buried down that I really had to deal with. I’m a whole adult now so it’s time that I work through my childhood issues because I don’t need this coming up anymore. Communication was a big part of that. So he wasn’t only to blame in our co-parenting relationship, I was too. The moment I would get so defensive and angry and mad instead of listening, even though he could have been talking crazy, I could have turned the conversation around. This is something that I’ve learned to do.
Speaking of relationships, it’s so good to see you and and Ty reunited. How has it been getting all this support from the public and fans in regards to that?
It’s just weird when it comes to your relationship and the public. People swear they know everything because they see photos on Instagram. They speculate and they do this and they do that and they have their comments and it’s just so…you guys don’t really know us. You know what we show you but you don’t actually know us. So it will be crazy like, “You’re the happiest when you’re with Ty!” Why can’t I just be happy because I’m happy? We had to come full circle. We both needed to work on things and I needed to work on myself especially because someone else can not make me whole or complete. I have to do that myself, then someone can add to that. But someone else, if I’m not all the way 100, there was no way I could enter into a marriage. So that was my issue with getting married at that time.
Did the pandemic play a part in the self-introspection you did to come to that conclusion?
Absolutely. It’s never been a time in my entire life where I’ve had to sit with myself for months and months on end with nothing to do and just self-reflect. That really brought a lot of things to the forefront. I was like, “Oh…I need to go talk to somebody [laughs].”
Are you engaged again or are you starting over from scratch?
We’re starting over on every level — as friends, as getting to know each other, setting boundaries. I just want a clean slate. Let’s start over and see where it goes.
And how is Eva? What’s it like parenting your daughter in the social age and as a public figure?
She’s a tween! She just turned 12 yesterday. It’s difficult. My daughter does have a phone but she does not have social media on her phone. Social media’s not for children. The content is not for children. You can scroll up and see anything and everything on Twitter, on Instagram. It’s not structured for kids. That being said, she does have an Instagram page but I control the page, I run the page, I post the pictures on the page and I also can go and look at comments and delete comments and block people and so on and so forth. So when she does have her phone she doesn’t have it on there. She can go to my phone and I can show her what was posted on her page or whatever, but I do that sparingly because you don’t know what someone’s written or said about your child. They’ve done this before. I’ve had…oh God…I’ve had to block so many people and delete so many comments because they speak negatively about my kid and I don’t want her to read that stuff. It’s disgusting. What adult talks about a child? It’s gross. In my opinion, my daughter, as long as I have anything to do with it, she’s not going to have Instagram. It’s too much. I want her to be a kid while she can be a kid. I tell her this all the time: “When you’re an adult you’re going to be an adult until you die. You can never get these years back, so enjoy this time. Be a kid, do kid stuff, because you’re never, ever going to get the chance to do this again. Stay a child while you can because when it’s gone it’s gone.”
So you’ve had the chance to do a number things, from starring in music videos to being a TV personality and a mom. What’s next for Mimi?
Sky’s the limit right now. I have so many things. My agenda is so packed with things that I’m doing. I’m about to be my daughter’s manager so I’m going to be a momager.
Really!? Does she want to act or perform?
What? Never, but she’s a natural. My daughter did a photo shoot, and the photographer — shout out to Allen Cooley because he’s amazing — took over 1,000 photos because every time he clicked she switched her pose. My mouth was on the floor because I’m like, how do you know how to do this? Just a natural in front of the camera. It was incredible. So I have to cultivate the things that I know she’s good at. I tried her in sports, not her thing. Tried gymnastics, not her thing. I’ve got to give her what she’s good at, so that’s what we’re working on now.
Like you said, you’re happy. Even in the last seasons you were in of LHHATL, when chaos was happening around you, you were unbothered and just eating your food and trying to stay out of it. What is the key to your peace and unbothered-ness these days?
It’s a lot of keys. It’s not one key. You ever seen a janitor’s keychain? [laughs] Very much that’s it. It’s a lot of different techniques I’ve learned. Breathing. Something as simple as breathing when I’m in a hostile environment makes all the difference. So there’s so many different things that I’ve learned from my life coach, from my therapist that I incorporate into my life now that’s helped me out tremendously that’s gotten me to the place I am now. Even my pastor. Where and when I can get the things that I need, they just feed me and I incorporate those tools. I’m thankful for everybody that’s given me the tools to be on the janitor’s keychain [laughs].
VH1 Family Reunion: Love & Hip Hop Edition Season 2 premieres Monday, Dec. 13 at 8PM ET/PT on VH1.