First please tell us about you as a child. What was life like for you?
I was told by my family I came into this world as a woman already, lol. I always knew what I wanted and marched to the beat of my own drum. Also I had a lot of early life experiences that shaped and molded me; and I had no choice but to be strong.
Growing up in Detroit; what was that like? How did it shape you as a person?
Memories of Detroit as a kid was so much fun! Even the hard times as a kid you don’t realize how somethings kids should never have to experience but I endured non-theless. I enjoyed my time with my family between Detroit and Atlanta in the summer.
I remember good times at River Rouge park, going skatiing, and just hanging in the neighborhood. Oh we also had a mobile pool truck, that came to the neighborhood…with games, music and all this crazy other stuff for the kids. One side of my family lived in Southfield which was the upper class, and I enjoyed that but I spent most of my time on the WestSide which was a lot of fun…but rough. It definitely molded me, the city’s spirit is very deep and rich in music, mayhem, and the grind. It creates a hustle that is definitely unmatched.
How did you know you wanted to become a business owner? — Were you always an entrepreneurial spirit?
Well, I knew after one year I got 11 W-2’s in the mail because I would quit a job. I am my fathers only child and a daddy girl, so I knew I could always call my dad to send me money. Lol
I remember my friends joking about me only being created to work for myself. The most interesting thing about my upbringing is that I didn’t know I was being raised by entrepreneurs.
My grandmother owned a daycare, my uncle had the first barbershop in College Park, GA, my aunt Jonell was always working, she used to take me to Eli’s donuts in Detroit as a little girl and I’d work and helpmake donuts all day and night and serve coffee. (knowing I was too young). To this day my aunts hustle I admire, she is a business owner with a restaurant, healthcare facility and an event center in Detroit.
I was just always around entrepreneurship. I really just thought that was normal, so it just came to me; honestly…its in my blood.
What was your support system like growing up? And how did you keep your motivation to keep going when this got tough?
My support system growing up was my father first and foremost and my two godmothers that stepped in and helped raised me. They are amazing strong hardworking women. One of them was actually a social worker, one of the best here in Huntsville. I just had a lot of women mother me throughout my life. My close friends moms, guys a dated mothers all showed me so much love and guidance. I think it stemmed from me being a girl cild being raised by a man. I am so grateful the love, its been such a gift to me.
My motivation has Always come from God. My drive comes from not wanting to be the statistic that I was supposed to be. I came from the inner city, a drug addicting mom and raised by a single father. The odds were against me and here I am now, still standing and having accomplished things that some only dream of.
What is it like being a city girl from up north, living and running a business in the south? — How do you like Huntsville?
I’m a city girl at heart, yet I call myself a city/country girl. I have a lot of southern experiences but I always gravitated towards the lights a big city. Thats why I lived in a lot major cities (Detroit, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Nashville etc.)
It has been interesting running a business in Huntsville. Prior to I had an online clothing store (House of Madonni) and did face to face sales with a patented hair product in Atlanta. especially coming from Atlanta, the first African American businesses of my kind in Huntsville has been an interesting journey filled with ups and downs and so much knowledge gained. “I will tell you, it isn’t for the faint of heart, yet I have learned so much and I am grateful.
What were you doing before the opportunity arose for you to be on reality TV, with OWN’s Love and Marriage Huntsville?
Well I was acting, I had my first national commercial that ran from for almost two years right before I actually got on Love and Marriage Huntsville. Prior to that I went to a performing arts college in Los Angeles pursuing acting. I was doing all my background, non principal roles, and non-speaking roles, getting my credits for SAG Aftra (the actors union) and I worked hard to earn my SAG eligible, SAG-E status.
I’ve sang pretty much my entire life so I have always been pursing music even prior to acting. I was in girl group at one time, also in a band in LA. I interned for D.A.R.P (Dallas Austin studios; he discovered Monica) in college where I just learned so much about the music industry. Also I was a corporate girl too, I in a high paced sales world as a manager and top performer. I always equated it my career at the time to “Wolfe on Wallstreet”! It was very good to me financially, just very stressful.
What was your casting process like? And what were your feelings about entering the world of reality TV?
It really wasn’t a casting process…I went on set one day and one of the producers said “who are you? Why don’t we see more of you?”. So it kind of just happen simultaneously because I was in the room. I actually reached out to Carlos King myself about filming my wedding reception that was in NY at West Point.
We had Skype call and Carlos explained that when we finally had our one on one video call, he explained to me “that those were really the services his company offered. He then said but I’ve heard about you” because I actaully ended up at dinner with one of the Kingdom Reign’s executives. I didn’t know who she was, I was just being me, and it grew from there.
What have been some of your biggest challenges navigating life as a public figure, and what have been some of your proudest moments?
People assuming you are one way from a television show or believe that’s what they see is who you are. I didn’t expect the fans or even the bloggers to go to the levels they do.
My proudest moment is giving birth to my son Law and my dad recently ringing the bell being cancer free. Yet prior to that, business wise…my proudest moment was opening my beauty supply store. To actually have a dream about the same building that MaDonni Beauty was created in is a dream manifested FOR-REAL!
We LOVE your personality and realness on the show! How do you care for your mental with all the pressure from viewers? And how do you maintain your authenticity with so much outside input?
I have always been a very strong minded person and confident in who I am. Yet I’m not opposed to self help…I have leaned into life coaching and I did a lot of therapy in my marriage and now singularly. I’ve always believed in mental health, I was actually getting a degree in psychology yet I put that on hold when I started my career in sales.
Then I realized some people are committed to misunderstanding me. In that moment I realized I can only be me and live in my truth no matter what. I know that my realness is often misunderstood, yet the real folks get me. So I can only rock with those that support me and want to see me win, and I want to see them win also.
When you wake up in the morning, and when you go to sleep at night knowing you’ve lived authentically in your truth that’s a peaceful rest. You may have your moments where you check a mofo; that’s being a human, but ultimately, be good to people.
Please tell us more about MaDonni Beauty!! Where did you come up with the brand name and what’s your mission behind it all?
So Madonni came from my dad and my grandmother’s names, which is Mattie and Donnie and I started that business in 2013. My first entity was an online venture, a online clothing store with a dropshipper called “House of Madonni “ I was ahead of the game with the whole dropshipping thing. Then I had “Madonni Hookah” pens that I used to sell to clubs and lounges. Then came MaDonni Beauty, the first beauty supply and salon suites in AL.
My mission for the brand overall was to get into my own product line created while servicing the community with all their hair care needs. The beauty supply store came by chance because of an experience I had in a beauty supply. I was on the phone and got a tap on my shoulder by an officer who asked to look in my purse. I remember me immediately dumping my purse onto the counter because I felt so disrespected.
The officer apologized after realizing he was wrong and I remember saying I’m never coming back here again. Then I’m going to invest my corporate money outside of these stocks into a beauty supply….and I DID. Now we are e-commerce and reigniting the brand of Madonni to support our product line (skin & hair) and candle line.
What do you hope consumers experience through supporting MaDonni? What can we look forward to from MaDonni this spring and summer?
I pray they feel beauty and glow while using our products and candles. There are hiccups with businesses so I pray for their patience with me as MaDonni transitions.
When you are a small business you get hit heavy because big companies like Amazon don’t feel the affect, the owners don’t get flooded with DMs and messages when they make a mistake… you don’t have so much direct contact to the owner at all.
Yet mostly, I’m just looking forward to the official launch of the Reignite Madonni candle and the launch of the Madonni Glow Up Collection which has three products as of now and will continue to grow.
Tell us more about your candles! What inspired this product launch and what’s the story behind the name and design of it?
One, I have a love for candles, I have them all over my house. I think it just adds an ambiance to your house, adds a beautiful fragrance and vibe to your home. When I was deciding to reignite my flame for life, I was thinking what do I want. Then I started talking to my chemist because they do an array of scents from a special bee’s wax. So in thinking of reigniting my flame, Madonni Reignite was created.
I started searching for a candles that spoke to me and when I saw the candle Molding it looked broken and I knew I was in a broken phase of my life. I wasn’t completely shattered, so I knew I was going to be whole again and the candle symbolizes… being broken yet putting the pieces back together, being whole and Reigniting your Flame.
We understand that you went through a difficult divorce. Please tell us about that process. How did you know you were ready to part ways and how has “choosing you” changed your life?
Listen, yall don’t have enough time, ink or paper to talk about this divorce. I will say it was one of the hardest times of my life. As a brand new mom with a weeks old baby, making decisions on a divorce post pardom was a rollercoaster of emotions. Even soon after the divorce was filed we got back together because I was fighting for my family.
Yet shortly after I realized I can’t live like this, my son and I deserve nothing but goodness and happiness. I knew I was ready to part ways and choose myself when I knew my son and I deserved a better life and that was no more fight left in me to make it work.
What are some things you’ve done to stay strong and focused throughout your healing process?
I have journaled all my life, yet during my divorce It was hard to write down what I had experienced.
As I’m getting back to a more full, and grounded place, I’m getting back into writing and journaling regularly. Trauma therapy, life coachikng, and GOD GOD GOD, I cant say it enough. I know we used to hear it from grandma, aunts, and uncles but I understand it now more than ever.
When you go through so much turmoil, so much pain and storms you have nothing #ButGOD. You have to remember, hey I am the storm and God has been carrying me this whole time.
Please tell us about life as a BOY MOM!! What are your favorite things about your son and what do you love most about being his mom?
Oh My God!! Being a boy mom, he is such a boy, a boy times 10. He likes to wrestle, run, and fight and I am his only playmate so I be tired. Yet, I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I love to hear his little voice now that he is talking more and being expressive. One of the things I love about my son is his independence and his fire which he gets from his mom. His sweet side, he is so so kind and has an amazing heart. What I love most about being his mom, is everything. I love everything about it. Being a mommy is my greatest goal manifested.
How are you managing business and motherhood? What are some of your best tips and tricks for Mompreneurs?
I’m managing it one day at a time. One of the tricks I would say is don’t forget you in the process You have to be whole to be the best mom and mompreneur.
Remember to self care , recharge, feed your soul, so you can be good for them because I know as mom’s we put them first all the time.
What are some of your favorite things to do in your spare time? What hobbies are at the
top of your list?
Read, Rest, take bubble baths, write and travel.
We love that you are popping out on the music scene too! Tell us more about that! — When did that venture begin and where do you hope to take it?
Like I said earlier, I have been loving music since I was a kid. I sang in the gospel choir since I was 6.I was apart of a quartet girl group at my church as well as the choir. My pastor used randomly call to the front of the church to sing. I started off very young in church, then doing talent shows and being an intern learning the business, how to record the studio etc.
I really went hard, I’d be interning until the sun came up then go straight to class at Clark Atlanta University. I was really focused when I was engulfed on the business side and creative side in music and learned so much. I just want to create a body of work that inspires people and make people feel good. I miss feel good music and I’m ready to make some feel good music like the early 2000s, early 90s music.
Have you had any mentors or professional guidance along the way throughout your endeavors? If so, who can you shoutout your appreciation for?
I’ve had a few coaches Teej Cummins, business consultants, my aunt who’s a business owner etc., as well as figuring it out step by step and pivoting when needed.
Is there any advice or words of wisdom you’d like to leave our readers with today? And how can we stay connected with your work and your updates moving forward?
You can stay connected with me on IG, Facebook, Twitter, and Tiktok at @thedestinypayton. For any email or bookings you can email email@example.com Words of wisdom would be set boundaries and find peace.
Interview: Brittany Miller @mrsbrittmiller
Hair: B Xquisit Hair Studios @bxquisit
Unit: Harper Leigh @glamlifecoach
Makeup: The Slay Queen @glambosskrissy
Makeup Touchups: Iris Marquez @makeupbyirissmua
Wardrobe stylist: Royal Fudge Styling @royalfudgestyling & Destiny Payton @thedestinypayton
Creative Director & Graphic Design: Brittany Miller @mrsbrittmiller
Photography: Dope Shots Photography @dopeshotsbyprecious