AMINA BUDDAFLY, you won’t be stopping her!
photographed by PATRIZHA VA-RA interviewed by LESLIE RODRIGUEZ makeup by ANDREA AVILA hair by GABY APARICIO styled by SOPHIA BONNYSource:
Call me different, say I don’t fit in, my ways, my looks, my style, you might not like it, but I won’t fit in. Just keep staring. I don’t give a damn, because I am myself, so hate it or love it, but you won’t be stopping me. (“You won’t be stopping Me”) These words touch me so much as a woman and having been through so much in life, to read your book and see some of your life unfold it’s so easy to judge or speculate on things we the viewers don’t know or see. I have a neoteric perspective of you, thank you for sharing pieces of you in the most vulnerable way. You left your heart exposed for the world to read and through this, we the world now have some insight of the real Amina Buddafly.
Early on in your book you speak of your parents, and how life in Germany was far different from here in the states, and one thing that captured my heart was your bond with your mother and sisters! You spoke of your mother and how extremely free-spirited she was, and how peaceful the energy that allowed you guys just to be kids, (to be loud, be wild and free, get dirty) do you have the same point of you now being a mother to Cori and Bronx or are you more like your father who was a bit sterner and rough around the edges?
Great question. I am the exact medium between the both of them! I love both of my parents and how they raised us each in their own way. How I am with my children today is a little bit of both worlds (both mom and dad). I definitely took so much from my mom being as far as being free-spirited as she was so I’m passing that on to my kids because believing that that is the best way to be. However, before I had kids I always used to say “I’ll be stricter than my mother was when I have children” and even though it’s hard when you have such sweet little girls, I meant it because my children need to know who is the boss is, and they do.
How has your life changed becoming a mother to two beautiful little girls?
I always say, “it’s made me a happier human,” and it’s the truth. I am happier now. The girls have changed my life in every sense of the way, I appreciate the little things, simply, my daily routine. Which also includes a whole lot of sacrifice. Which I don’t mind making those sacrifices, therefore I get so much more in return, so much love, and love is what we need to be happy right?
How different are Cori and Bronx? (Who is more affectionate, who is more likely to give you a run for your money, etc.?
I love this question because they’re both very different but have some characteristics that are exactly the same as well. I call Bronx the “Boss Baby” these days because she is that super bossy!!! She will get her way no matter what, or at least fight for it until I give in most times. Bronx is also tough and sometimes ‘rough’ with her sister Cori to the point where I have to check her. But, at the same time she is the biggest cuddle, she needs physical love with me every chance she gets, she has to put her face against mine and touch my ears or my bare skin anywhere on my body. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! So much I could die.
Cori is a great listener (although sometimes she will not do what I say either but I can always convince her in the end.) She also is very loving and her being the older one. She verbally loves telling me how much she loves me all the time and what a great mom I am! I die again!!! Cori will protect her sister and teach her every chance she gets she is a proud big sister! I love seeing the interaction between the two its beautiful. But to answer the question, Bronx is a tough cookie where Cori is soft like mommy.
How did you get into yoga? And how do you make time to be so fit being a full-time mommy, working, filming, composing, etc.?
I have always been athletic, although I struggled with my weight during puberty, I love working out. I found Bikram Yoga through my sister Sophie. I tried it first in 2010 it became my addiction, from 2011-2014 I was doing it daily, and those are the years where I finally accepted my body with all its flaws. Where I really started loving life more. Having self-awareness over your body is such an amazing feeling, and yoga (especially Bikram Yoga) is a lot of mental training, it made me strong, in fact very strong. I was scared of anything before. But every time I mastered a class, I would feel so powerful like I could do anything, and I can. Nowadays, I don’t have as much time to work out. I go to the gym maybe twice a week. I take Bikram once a week. I keep active with my girls every day. We don’t stay at home, we’re always out and about, in the mall or at the park or wherever it may be with two little ones by yourself is exercise. What’s crazy is when I stopped worrying about dieting and focused on just being healthy and active is when my body started being better than ever.
How often do you go back to Germany to visit are your parents still there?
My entire family is there. I don’t go enough, maybe once a year. Now that I’m in Los Angeles it’s even further away and harder to make the trip with my kids, I’m hoping i’ll make it for Christmas this year.
Being that music was almost an essential early on in life at home do you instill the same in your girls? Do they like to sing and dance?
Yes! Of course! They light up when I play music and sing and dance with them. Much more than when I turn the TV on. So, I like the TV off. We don’t watch much TV. Music, however, we can play all day, that is one thing my girls love when daddy comes to visit. He doesn’t hesitate to pick up the guitar or play the piano or music, and it gives an energy of joy and happiness. I can already see Bronx is the dancer and Cori the singer. Music is in the family from both sides.
In your early childhood you noticed that confidence was something you lacked, even developed an eating disorder you became somewhat of an introvert, does this experience allow you to do things differently with your girls?
It makes me want them not to have to go through certain things. How to prevent it, I’m not sure. I definitely try to teach them what my mom tried to teach my sisters and I, which is that they are beautiful no matter what and I hope they accept themselves and love themselves always. In my opinion, society is to blame and can cause young girls to be super self-conscious, at least that is why I had that eating disorder, because where I’m from (Germany) you were only beautiful if you were thin. The goal was always to lose weight, which all changed when I moved to America.
What are some thing you like to do when you have downtime, no babies just time for Amina?
Go to a nice chill spot with cool people and have some wine or a cute coffee shop solo! The simple things! I enjoy going to hear live music or just relax sometimes too, but it’s crazy cause I always feel guilty when I do like I should be working on my craft, practice or something. It’s a habit that I feel that way. The urge to always be productive. I guess it’s a good thing though.
Tell me something that I wouldn’t know about you from reading your book or seeing you on television.
That one of my favorite bands/groups are the Backstreet Boys, and I have a thing for cheesy pop songs in general. I watched their documentary and am in love with all of them, but I’d been a fan forever. Also, N’Sync used to buy their albums and everything. Actually, Justin Timberlake was my imaginary boyfriend for years when I was 14, and I would write in a journal every night to him. (I still have it too)
What are your favorite things to do with your girls?
Cuddle! Dance and Sing! I adore watching them having fun!
When can we expect some new music? Because I always look forward to hearing your voice and lyrics as you have helped me get through a few rough patches in life. It’s like you know just what I feel or have felt it’s a connect I think many people can say we find while listening to your music!
Thanks, and that’s what my music is all about! Making people relate and helping them through situations. Because I know music always helped me. So now I want to be the one. I’m releasing a new album this year, it will be my 5th independent project. Second full album. And I want it to be my best, so I’m going to take my time with it.
How has your transition from NYC to Los Angeles? How’s Cali living treating you?
Cali is great I love it, always have. You know the entertainment world is something to get adjusted to and I don’t really relate to everyone wanting to be “perfect.” The pressure is definitely there. But I love the vibes, and my girls love it there especially the weather.
How do you stay so humble and down to earth after everything that has transpired throughout the last few years? That’s one thing that stays consistent with you and such an empowering attribute your posse!
My parents made me that way, how I grew up made me that way, and I would never change that, I know I’m not better than anyone else so why would I act that way? I do feel I’m special, but everyone is, in different ways. Simple as that.
Do you ever consider not being a part of filming and leaving that part of your career alone, being that your experiences haven’t always been the greatest?
Sure. I’m not filming now. I’m not on the next season of Love & Hip Hop. And I’m totally fine with that. Makes me focus on the things I really want to do. Makes me look at the bigger picture, follow my bigger dreams.
How often do you and your sisters get together? And when you do, is it still so easy to just pick up where you left off? Do you guys sing together and reminisce about all the crazy times you guys have shared together?
We get together like once a year and when that happens it’s just family time, yes, music is involved, but we don’t focus on it, it’s just a part of our family. I see Jazz about 3 times a year because we’re twins and we just can’t be apart that long. So, she comes to visit!
Where do you see yourself in the near future? Do you have any new goals in life?
I do want to inspire more people. In the near future, I want to live in a house. I want to make more people aware of my music and continue to do me and inspire just by being me. Acting is also interesting. So, if I do TV in the future, I’d love for it to be scripted as opposed to reality.
What’s your favorite song to sing to the girls?
I don’t really sing to them I sing with them all the time. Cori likes the Spice Girls and Aqua “Barbie Girl” we also sing a lot of German kid’s songs by Rolf Zuckowski.
Do you have any family traditions you do with the girls that you did with your parents growing up?
My mom used to just always make everything by hand. Whether it’s decorations for holidays like Christmas and Easter or a birthday cake. That’s all I ever knew, and I loved it. Here in America, everyone buys the stuff. It was weird at first. I just remember those little things were amazing to me as a kid and I want to try to let my babies experience that as well.
If you could give one bit of advice to anyone especially to all of us who truly look up to you what would it be?
Be you. So, cliché. But that’s what I’m all about and what I was fighting to be all my life, and I finally am nothing but that.
What was your favorite 90’s jam?
Mariah Carey all of her 90s albums all songs!! And maybe… mmmm Deborah Cox “Who Do You Love” or something, there are so many!!
What inspires you?
People who live life on their own terms no matter what. No matter if I like it. If I can see someone is authentic, I automatically am inspired. And you know, nowadays scrolling through social media, (the right pages) I get inspired by yoga posts and such. Also, my kids they inspire me to want to write happy songs now.
What have you learned about yourself since you became a celebrity?
That I’m stronger than I thought, still an outsider and the underdog but way more aware of who I really am. When you get told how and who you are over and over but it’s not really you. That’s what happens.
What things in life are still a mystery to you?
The universe. Men.
If you were god for a day, what changes would you make to the world?
I would not have innocent people go through so many trials and tribulations. I would make it, so the bad people get served what they deserve. I would make racism go away… god there are too many things I would change I could write a book about that…
Tell me about your upcoming album “Mother.”
“Mother” is my new full album containing 12 songs all written by me. I produced about 75% of the songs as well, and I am super proud of myself, solely because of the meaning of this album, the positivity, the growth, the stories I’m telling, the independence and power these songs express. It really reflects the place that I’m in at in this moment of my life. The woman I’ve become because of what I went through, and mostly the woman I’ve become because I’m a mother. A lot of the songs were inspired by my children. Without them, I would have never created probably half of this album. The title track “Mother” is every mother’s anthem just giving credit to us! My first single “Love My Life” speaks about the struggles I go through daily (and I think every mother will be able to relate to that as well). It talks about how hard it is but at the same time how amazing! How much I love it! I definitely feel this is some of my best work yet.
Where have you performed? Do you have any upcoming shows?
I’ve been laying low! My last show was before Christmas 2017! in New York, at a venue, I love to come back to called The Bitter End. Lady Gaga started there, and I love the intimate vibe of this space. I will always go back there to perform. In the past few months, I’ve been entirely focused on getting this album done, Hope you guys are ready!
Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set playlist?
I always have to do at least a couple acoustics (either on Piano or Guitar). My go to’s would be “Colorblind” or “The Real Me” which are songs from my previous releases and I always have to play “Don’t Wanna Be Right” just because it has been my ‘biggest’ song to date, charting on 03 in the iTunes R&B charts.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
Great question, because I just realized I have to get rehearsing for a show next week. I’m always super last minute which is a bad thing!!! I should always be ready, and I feel like I’m not. Its advice I give young singers and people who want to get in the game. “Always be ready.” My rehearsal time really needs to be scheduled because I normally do it at home, but my kids be running around and not letting me get through one song ever, lol. Bronx hates when I play my instruments! She starts crying. It’s because my attention belongs to the instrument and not her while I play. So, it’s hard. I have to do it while they’re asleep or get a babysitter to really rehearse.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
I write my songs. I’m a singer/songwriter. I never considered myself just a singer, especially the more years pass and the more I create, I can almost not imagine singing someone else song anymore. So, when people try to give me “songs” I’m initially not interested. I’m the kind of artist that needs to be part of the process. It has to come from me to be special. Otherwise, you can take any pretty girl that can sing, there isn’t anything special about that. Plus, I’m not looking for a HIT record. I’m looking for authentic, great, timeless songs that make you feel something. That’s what music is about to me. The topics vary from project to project. Like I said my recent album doesn’t have one song about heartbreak on it just because I’m not in that space anymore and I feel great about it!
What skills/personal attributes are most important to be successful?
I feel you just need to be authentic, just be yourself to be unique. All those things, and above all else be consistent. You have to be confident in what you’re doing. I don’t believe in faking it till you make it anymore, I’ve done that way too much in the past, and it’s gotten me nothing but unhappiness.
How is the single mom life? What has been the biggest changes thus far?
SINGLE MOM LIFE IS TOUGH! It’s HARD! People don’t believe me because I do make it look easy on social media, but not many do what I do. I know a bunch of single moms, but they have much more help than I. My biggest change? I don’t know because I’ve pretty much been raising my girl alone from the beginning. So, I have no idea what raising kids in a family is like. Probably beautiful, but I don’t miss it because I never had it.
What made you decide on divorce?
I wanted to divorce my husband because I finally got over him. I finally felt that I’m ok. I’m fine. I rather be alone. It took two years until I felt like I’m in a place where I can go for it without it being painful.
How was your experience on marriage boot camp?
Marriage boot camp was fun. Many wouldn’t think so because of what you saw me go through being on screen, just like they did on Love & Hip Hop. I had fun in the house, which most of that wasn’t shown. It was only hard because I had a two month-old baby which I wasn’t able to see for 16 days, which killed me, thinking back, I don’t know how I held through it. But I did it. And as for my husband, I was proud of him because of how honest he was. I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear during most challenges, but I heard the truth, and I will always appreciate that much more.
Do you think the exposure of your personal life and relationship pushed you to make drastic changes in your life?
Yes, the exposure had something to do with it, but I also think that without the exposure the situation being what it was, was crazy and I would’ve made the drastic changes regardless! I know myself, and I may struggle letting go of something I love, but I’m strong, I’ve always been fearless. I know how to get out of misery even if it takes time.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
www.iamamina.com will have all the updates on my new album and it already has links to all my releases. These days I’m most active on INSTAGRAM @aminabuddafly just because I have the biggest following on that platform. So I’ll be announcing all shows and releases there as well.
photographed by PATRIZHA VA-RA
interviewed by LESLIE RODRIGUEZ
makeup by ANDREA AVILA
hair by GABY APARICIO
styled by SOPHIA BONNY