You probably have seen Shay Johnson on reality television, but she’s actually so much more. Boasting 1.1 million followers on Instagram alone, the Hawaii native is a health and fitness guru, a businesswoman with her own brand The Healthy Hand, and overall life motivator.
Having been in the entertainment world for the past decade, Johnson actually got her start as a bottle girl before making her debut in 2006 as “Buckeey” on Flavor Flav’s hit dating series “Flavor of Love 2.”
Suddenly, the world fell in love with her sweet but crazy personality as she fell into superstardom.
The crazy part is, it all began with Craigslist when she was looking for an apartment. After seeing an ad for the dating show, she logged in and wrote 5 sentences about herself. That day, she just so happened to have an attitude with her manager at the time, so the sentences were “very disrespectful.”
“I do what I want to do, when I want to do it. You can’t tell me what to do.” She explains, “It was coming from anger, but he called me within an hour of sending that over. I got on ‘Flavor of Love 2’ weeks later.”
From being a flyer and Hpnotiq girl in Atlanta to “Flavor of Love,” “Charm School,” “I Love Money,” “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” “Love & Hip Hop: Miami,” it’s safe to say Shay comes from humble beginnings.
Her drive and passion for life is what keeps the fans coming back for more.
AllHipHop caught up with Shay to discuss how reality TV landed on her lap, her unwavering passion for health and fitness, growing her brand, and more!
AllHipHop: Where are you located?
Shay Johnson: I’m in Miami right now, it’s beautiful. The weather is amazing. I love going to the beaches. It’s very multicultural, a lot of different cultures here. A gumbo full of Hispanics, Asians, Jamaicans, I love it. I’m not trying to discredit Atlanta because Atlanta’s my #1, but I’ve gotten so comfortable with Miami. I have no plans on leaving. It’s like a vacation. Flights are cheap. You can relax, enjoy the beach, have a good time.
AllHipHop: What were you angry about when you submitted yourself to “Flavor of Love 2?”
Shay Johnson: My manager was starting to reprimand me for something I didn’t do. It was the manager of human resources at the time. Something they said I didn’t do, claiming I didn’t do it and I did. I had this attitude. By the time I was ready to go to lunch, I found out I got on Flavor of Love.
AllHipHop: Being a reality TV star, were you ready for all of that back then?
Shay Johnson: It was different. I didn’t know what to expect. You know, it’s levels to life. I started off as a flyer girl in Atlanta, Georgia passing out flyers, then I upgraded to a Hpnotiq girl. They hired me as a Hpnotiq girl, I wore t-shirts, hats, all the Hypnotic drinks. I got into doing videos, I’m like “this ain’t for me.” After that, I got on Flavor of Love. From Flavor of Love to Charm School to I Love Money to Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta to where I’m at right now: Love & Hip Hop: Miami. I’ve had my ups and downs throughout my journey.
AllHipHop: What have you learned about yourself through it all?
Shay Johnson: I’ve watched growth for sure, I have more potential than I thought. What I was focused on didn’t matter. One thing I regret is instead of focusing on love, family, relationships, marriage, I was more focused on “what’s the next gig? What’s the next TV show I need to go on? What new business do I need to start?” I was so focused on the entertainment world, I lost sight of family and love. That’s something I shouldn’t have done. I’m so into it right now, because I lacked that before.
I came to the reality of what’s more important in life: love, marriage, kids. I don’t have any kids. I’m on the right track now with my love life, I’m dating someone. I did Speed Dating With Shay in quarantine in March. For a few months, I was speed dating online, on social media, with my dating coach. Shout out to Gen for helping me, that’s my PR/Manager. My speed dating coach would give me a list of guys. Every Tuesday and Wednesday for 15 minutes each, I’d speed date the guys. After a few weeks, we decided to start narrowing down the guys I liked. It came down to 3 amazing guys, but one stood out. We had a connection, I couldn’t resist. I actually cut him off in the beginning like “ehh, I don’t wanna talk to you. You’re not the one.” He’s so persistent, I’m like “let me take a second to look at this guy.” I chose him and we’re together in a relationship.
AllHipHop: That’s so great, congrats!
Shay Johnson: It’s fun too girl, I love it. I’m so happy I found him. He’s amazing. Let’s keep it real, he got his flaws. We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve been having our arguments but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t want to argue with anybody else. I wouldn’t want to lay back up with anybody else. He’s still growing to know me and I’m still growing to know him, so we’re going to clash. But that’s my boo, that’s my rock. He’s not going anywhere, I dare him.
AllHipHop: Is he on the same health and fitness tip that you are?
Shay Johnson: That’s an issue, let’s talk about it. I used to pressure him a lot. I’d let him know “you shouldn’t eat that, shouldn’t eat this.” I forced my detox on him. He’s embarrassed because we’re still growing, fresh and new. He kept running to the bathroom, I’m in there like, “What does it look like? Is it green?” He was one of my test subjects. He got so mad. “All you do is monitor the way I eat, I’m tired of it.” So I pulled back, I don’t try to force it on him. When you care about somebody, if you see them heading towards a brick wall and you care and love them, you’re not going to let them hit the brick wall. You’re going to jump in front and stop. I’m into health and wellness. He’s gradually growing into it. He’s not eating as much meat, staying away from a lot of salt and sugar. Gradual baby steps.
AllHipHop: When did your passion for the entertainment field come about?
Shay Johnson: My mother said ever since I was a little girl, I’m always screaming “I’ma be famous mom!” I never said I’ma be a singer, an actor, a rapper, nothing specific, I just knew I was going to be famous. She has a video of when I’m 6 years old saying “I’ma be famous.” I never knew what direction I was going, I just knew I’d be in the entertainment industry. Reality TV fell in my lap, I didn’t even think the Flavor of Love ad was even real. Once I got into it, I enjoyed it and people liked my personality. That started the domino effect of show after show after show. I’m on Love & Hip Hop. I’m not a singer or rapper, but I’ve dated people in the industry and people enjoy the fact that I’m honest. I’m a little too honest. I’m very relatable to the people, that’s why I started my business.
AllHipHop: What’s the premise of The Healthy Hand?
Shay Johnson: The Healthy Hand is a business I started when I had fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors that grow on your uterus. They can be as small as a little pea or bean, or it can be huge like a grapefruit. It depends on your body, you could have one, 10, or 50. Me, I had 4. I had one big one the size of 2 grapefruits. Had all these menstrual issues, pelvic pain, all that. That’s how The Healthy Hand got started. I went to a holistic doctor, he gave me herbs to suppress my symptoms.
I make herbs for other women with fibroids, because don’t nobody talk about it. How is it you don’t know what fibroids are, and it happens to at least 70 to 80% of all women around the world? You can get miscarriages because of fibroids. I had it, went through my experience, started my business, started selling herbs that work to help other women. I came out with my own brand of detox: Total System Detox, Total Belly Detox, 21-day Detox that pacifies your whole body, burns fat, removes toxins from your body, detoxifies your blood, your kidney, your liver, your pancreas. I promote my products on my website, thehealthyhand.com.
AllHipHop: How easy or difficult was it to start your own business?
Shay Johnson: A little hard at the beginning. When COVID hit, my detox took off because people started to get more into health and wellness. They started to understand the importance of boosting your immune system. I came out with my Immune Booster pills, I came out with Elderberry pills, moringa, turmeric, black seed oil. People were sitting at home, going to the refrigerator, eating everything in sight. They gain weight. They want to burn fat with my detox and protect their immune system with my Immune Booster (in case they come into contact with COVID). I became more of an educator in health and wellness, based on what I’ve experienced.
AllHipHop: What are your thoughts on COVID-19, have you been taking more extensive measures?
Shay Johnson: I’m definitely cautious. When I leave, I put on my mask. I used to wear gloves all the time. COVID’s been around for a while. The 19 we see is a different strain that’s a little more aggressive. COVID to me is not necessarily killing people, it’s more so people with weak immune systems. Say you have pneumonia and you catch COVID, it’ll make it 10x worse. A lot of people were dying anyway from certain diseases and pre-conditions they already have. Especially bronchitis or respiratory issues, once COVID gets into your body, it makes that worse so it’s harder to breathe. Harder to move.
Why not build your immune system so that if you come into contact with COVID, your body’s ready to fight? My business started to grow because so many people said, “okay sh-t, you’ve got all these products for me.” I have no symptoms. If I was to have COVID, it’d be minimal because my immune system is so high. I’m not trying to brag, but I’m ready for COVID’s ass. It can come my way if it wants to.
AllHipHop: What does a regular workout routine look like for you?
Shay Johnson: I was doing it on my Live every Thursday 11am, training with several different trainers. It depends on what you working on that day. One day, you want to work on your glutes, or your arms and your abs. Abs, you can do a 30-minute blast. Take about 6 to 9 routines within that 30-minute blast, break them down into 3 sets each. Bam, you’re done. It’s not how many you do, it’s how you do it. If you’re not doing the routine properly, you won’t receive the burn. I’m not a trainer, but I’m into health and wellness. Even before I started [The Healthy Hand], I had Shay J Fit. I provide meal plans, belly burners, resistance bands, t-shirts, flexibility belts. Shay J Fit is from The Healthy Hand, but we’re still all under the Shay Johnson umbrella.
AllHipHop: What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Shay Johnson: I stretch. I’m heavily into yoga. I have a smoothie. I make my own smoothies. I’ll make you a smoothie, girl you’re coming back for more. In the daytime, I’ll have a salad. I love vinegar. I’m addicted to vinegar, apple cider vinegar. Pour that vinegar on there or some type of Italian. If I have a snack, it’ll be peanuts or seaweed snacks. Everybody knows I love seaweed snacks. For dinner, I’ll have sauteed vegetables. I don’t eat pork, fish, chicken, or beef.
AllHipHop: If you make a bomb ass smoothie, you need to open a smoothie bar.
Shay Johnson: Eventually, I want my own juice bar so I can serve detox smoothies. My brand’s still growing so I’ll get there. I’m speaking that into existence. Right now, I’m focused on getting my 21-Day Detox, Total Belly Detox into stores. I’m in Bravo, a couple grocery stores, but I want to get it into Walmart, Publix, stores like that. It’s coming, trust me.