Staten Island, New York native, Krystal Garner told us she grew up in the hood but decided that she was going to allow her struggles to mold her into the person and woman that she is! Garner supports that she is a positive product of her environment. At a young age, she realized that in order to get ahead, she simply had to: hustle.

How did you end up on The Grand Hustle and winning?

I always the desire to be an entrepreneur and to never make an excuse for anything I wanted in my life. Fast forward through the entertainment industry with modeling, acting, hosting, and personality work, I had the opportunity to audition for a show and that show was The Grand Hustle. The purpose of that show was to bring together 16 hustlers to compete for a chance to have an executive position on Grand Hustle Empire. I believe in the way, I won because the whole time my mindset was that I came here, took a risk, I was working a job that gave me the flexibility to still do what I wanted to do while keeping money in my pocket so that I could survive in New York, but I had to take the risk and quit the comfortable opportunity to get on this show. My mindset the whole time was that the only competition is myself. I still to this day believe that is how I won the show, I won because I didn’t look at other people and think that I should tear down what they’ve worked so hard to create just so that I could get ahead. Instead, I focused on myself, what I was able to do, and only compete with myself.

Why is it so important for you to use your platform to motivate and uplift others?

People always say that when I make it, I’m going to go back to my hood, do this, or do that. A lot of times, life moves super fast and you’re not able to do that but I’ve always wanted to make sure that I’m able to do that. In a way that I really feel like I’m going to be able to do that is by speaking out on different topics that I feel passionate about and give advice on my social media. Another way I am doing this is by writing my first book, which I have begun called, “Survival Guide of a Hustler” and it’s my chance to give back on a wider scale. I’ll be able to go into schools and talk to them about what I’ve gone through, how I was able to survive through my hustle while bringing up people with me, and what tools I used to get there. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of personal development books and I believe that plays a huge part in who I am today because I grew up in an area where there aren’t many role models and a lot of people were doing things that just weren’t positive. It turned a lot of people’s lives through loops but I was able to use that as motivation to get better. In a way that I found myself and what I was passionate about was by reading personal development books. I think it’s so important for us to realize that in order for our communities to be uplifted, we have to take control of our community and stop running away.

Nipsey Hussle’s goal was always to stay where he was at and uplift that same area. Even with his actual personal self not being here, his legacy will live on because he taught so much through his work. We’re the only ones that can fix our community.

Women’s empowerment is something you are passionate about. Why do you believe women’s collaboration is so important?

Issa Rae said it the best when she said, “We need to focus on networking across.” We have so many people that look like us that are talented and passionate about what they do. If we focus on art of collaboration then we can work on keeping the dollar in our community. As women, we’re often taught to be each other’s competition and its not even for work or for different opportunities. It’s for us to feel like we’re wanted and that men are attracted to us. I believe it’s blatantly disrespectful. Black women are one of the lowest paid but I know for a fact that black women are the hardest workers you’ll ever get in any industry. For us to decide to take the time out and help build one another up, then we’ll continue to move up to a level where people cannot say to us that we’re not worth a certain dollar amount. We’ll get comfortable enough to walk into a room and demand the pay that we deserve.

What do you hope to accomplish in the years to come?

In the years to come, the overall goal is to be that woman that people are able to say her name and say that’s who I aspire to be like. I want to be someone that motivates and pushes people to go towards the impossible. I want to be someone that is able to be a real philanthropist and is out there in the community to make things work. I think overall, it will be more of Krystal on the philosophy and philanthropy side and that is just building our community and culture as a whole.

For more on Krystal Garner, be sure to follow her on Instagram & Twitter today!