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FEATURE: Tiny, Troop A Bid With Ya

Tameka “Tiny” Cottle is a trooper. With her soul mate T.I. locked up, the former Xscape singer/songwriter has had to hold down the fort on her own. In the face of much adversity, she’s done an admirable job. Thrust back into the spotlight, Tiny stoically delivered an acceptance speech on Tip’s behalf at this year’s BET’s Hip Hop Awards. She’s ALSO the co-star of Tiny and Toya, which has become one of BET’s most successful shows.

In addition to taping her second season, Tiny is helping get her daughter Zonnique’s singing group, the OMG Girlz, off the ground. The pre-teen quartet, which also includes Lil Wayne’s daughter Reginae, is promoting their first single, “Ain’t Nobody,” and are in the early stages of developing a children’s boutique line. To say that Tiny is keeping herself busy would be an understatement. XXLMag.com caught up with the multi-tasking mama to discuss her relationship with Tip, adjusting to life of a reality star and her advice for co-star Toya as she prepares for ex-husband Lil Wayne’s impending bid.

XXLMag.com: With the Tiny and Toya show being such a success and T.I. being away, how has that affected the dynamic of your relationship?

Tiny: Well, right now it’s pretty easy because our relationship is where it is. He’s there and I’m here, so all I have right now is to make sure I do a lot of focusing on my career. Once he comes home, I’m going to try and balance it out. We email each other all day long and we speak a couple of times throughout the day. I go to see him one day every week.

XXLMag.com: A lot has changed for the both of you over the last several months. What if anything have you noticed about you that’s changed during that time span?

Tiny: I noticed that I can do a lot more than I decided to do, and a lot of things I could have put my time into didn’t take too much time away from the house, you know. A lot of things I can do in-house and be creative, I’m really liking that aspect of doing things [on my own]. I can still be with my kids, be mom and still work; that’s one great thing. The positive that’s come out of it makes me want to do better and be better.”

XXLMag.com: It’s ironic that Toya is now going through a similar situation with Wayne getting sentenced recently. Seeing as how you’re living through this right now, what advice do you have for Toya?

Tiny: She’s seen me go through it. She’s been there for me, and I’ll be there for her. We’ll just be supportive; I’ll be there whenever she needs me. As far as the baby, Reginae, you know I keep her over here when we’re working. We have a lot of fun I think she’ll be okay. I know she’s going to miss her daddy but I’m going to try keep her busy, to keep her going and uplifted. Right now [the OMG Girlz] are working on their album. We’re laying down songs trying to keep it young and fresh, and we’re working on TV shows for them—we’re working on a couple of things.

XXLMag.com: With such a difficult situation, how do you explain the circumstances to your children?

Tiny: I didn’t do a lot of explaining to my kids per say. Tip did all the explaining, and he did a great job. It was something I didn’t have to do; he spoke to his kids about him leaving, why or what they could expect. I was just there to be supportive. I pray and they pray a lot to God to help their father [through this].

XXLMag.com: Speaking of family, last season of Tiny and Toya you spoke of sharing vows and moving forward with a wedding. When can we expect to hear about a wedding date?

Tiny: Sometime [next] year, but we can’t really give a date yet because we have to find out exactly when Tip is coming home. We’ll have to just plan around that, but I envision a fairy tale wedding.

XXLMag.com: Fair enough. It’s clear you and T.I. are very committed and talented individuals, so why haven’t we heard any collaboration from the two of you?

Tiny: (Laughs) Well, we did one song and we just never really got back in the studio, but I can’t say that you won’t hear anything in the future. I don’t want to give it out yet; I want to hold it to make sure we go in that direction. We have several things that we’re talking about doing together, so we’ll see how that works out.

XXLMag.com: As for the show, what can viewers look forward to in season two?

Tiny: Season two shows [Toya and I] going into our new projects, going into new things as women and mothers. So far it’s been very positive as far as my kids, it’s help push me to start my company in part with Kiesha [of Xscape] and my focus with the OMG Girlz. It’s helped me to want to do more. Toya and I are going to do a kids boutique clothing line. We’re starting on that now, that’s going to be something to look out for. The rest all I can tell you is you have to stay tuned. —Rosario Mercedes Velazquez

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