Photo: Courtesy of Bedroom Kandi
If you don't know Kandi Burruss from Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta, you'll certainly know her songs. The singer/songwriter is a music industry veteran with two Grammys to her name for TLC's "No Scrubs." (She also wrote Destiny's Child's Grammy-nomitated hit "Bills, Bills, Bills.") Now, the musical reality star is taking on yet another industry: Luxury adult toys.
Through hosting her weekly web series, Kandi Koated Nights, Burruss discovered her passion for talking to women about their sex lives—and helping them make it better. In partnership with boutique adult toy company OhMiBod, the star recently launched her Bedroom Kandi collection of five intimate products—one of which even vibrates to your favorite songs when you sync it to iTunes.
We caught up with Burruss to find out which toy is her favorite, how to navigate sex-toy taboos, and what kind of vibes we can expect from her new Bravo special, Kandi Factory. Read the full interview after the jump.
Bedroom Kandi aside, do you have a sweet tooth for actual candy?
Kandi Burruss: I don't. It's so funny—I've heard it all my life: "Kandi doesn't eat candy?" The only candy I'll eat is a Kit Kat. I like the crunch I guess.
Why did you decide to create your own toy line?
I'd been doing Kandi Koated Nights for a year, which created an online following of people who like to talk about sex and relationships. And I've always had a couple of toys myself [laughs] so I knew there was a need for them. A lot of women are shy and don't want to admit to using toys, so I wanted to make a line that women didn't feel ashamed to say they owned. It's sad that the majority of women have never experienced an orgasm because you have to know how to please yourself before you can tell someone else what you like.
Few celebrities put themselves out there to champion women's sexuality—so what made you so vocal?
I'm very outspoken anyway, so it wasn't a conscious decision to champion sex—it just kinda happened that way. I guess I didn't feel the need to put out yet another perfume. I didn't know what people were going to think about the toys, but surprisingly so many people come up to me asking where they can get them. I've even seen preachers' wives buy everything we sell!
Why did you choose to partner with OhMiBod to produce the toys?
When I first mentioned on the [Real Housewives of Atlanta] reunion special that I wanted to have my own toy line, a lot of the bigger companies reached out to me wanting to use my name for their products. But that's not what I wanted. So when my friend showed me OhMiBod's products that work with music, I thought they were really cool, obviously, because I'm in the music industry. We reached out to them and it just made sense for the both of us. They have high-quality products, and I didn't want to just put some mess in a plastic box—I wanted something really fly that women would love having.
And not just women. Rise and Shine is a toy for two.
With Rise and Shine I wanted a couple's toy similar to a few products I'd used with a vibrating ring. I'm not trying to replace the man with a toy—I think toys are only supposed to make the bedroom more fun and exciting. A man doesn't have to be intimidated by it if it's something for his woman.
Do you think couples' toys are more common than people think?
I think toys period are a lot more common than we hear about. Did you know one of the richest women in Europe owns her own toys and an in-home party network? She makes hundreds of millions of dollars. So somebody's buying it! You don't want to be in a relationship forever doing the same old thing, going from having sex all the time to once a week to once a month. There are ways to keep your bedroom exciting without venturing outside of the relationship, you know?
Photos: Courtesy of Bedroom Kandi
Kandi Kisses and Make Me Over seem particularly exciting because they're disguised as cosmetics.
Those two are my favorites. I came to Oh Mi Bod with the idea of discrete toys, because a friend of mine had issues with her kids finding her toys. I'd seen some that looked kind of like lipstick, but it wasn't really like lipstick—and the more we discussed Kandi Kisses, we also wanted to put together Make Me Over, which looks like a makeup compact. When I got the first prototype, I would carry it around in my purse to show people, and one day I pulled it out to fix my makeup with the mirror. My friend was like, "You are so wrong"—standing in a lobby with my adult toy. And nobody noticed!
Is Happiness and Joy particularly important to you as a musician since it vibrates to music?
Happiness and Joy is important to me in so many ways. That style with double sensation is the equivalent of what people know as The Rabbit or The Pink Panther. You don't have to use it with the music, but a lot of people associate music with making love, so it was a no-brainer, really.
Have music and intimacy always been linked for you?
Even when I was first talking about this product, I thought about making songs specifically for Bedroom Kandi. I used to make mix CDs back in the day of songs I'd put together for my boyfriend and me. I think that connection's natural, so why not blend the two together with a toy?
What's the ultimate get-down song?
"Scandalous" by Prince
Do you think we'll hear some vibe-able jams from the talent on your new Bravo special, Kandi Factory?
[Laughs] Well, we've only shot the pilot, but we picked two people from the thousands of submissions and changed them from average people into music entertainers. And I don't mean just giving them a song—I had a whole team of people: choreographers, stylists, producers, image consultants. We took regular people who'd never recorded in the studio before to having hot songs with a full performance in front of an audience, all in a week. Honestly, it was a real challenge. I think we did a great job, and I can't wait to hear what people think. It was fun, but it has its share of drama.
—Phillip B. Crook