Tamera “Ty” Young makes her way up and down the court, but she’s also making a statement in fashion. WNBA star Ty plays the game as Guard for the Atlanta Dream after her recent trade from Chicago Sky and has also recently launched her own clothing line, “TY1.” It is sporty and rare, fashionable and comfortable, and she’s aiming for a broader outreach. She hopes to see men and women wearing her clothing, as well as she rocks herself. It’s more than just a brand, it’s a lifestyle. Ty and I talked about the trade, the clothing, charity work, dating LHHATL’s Mimi Faust, and whether or not they will have their love on display this season. Read below:
PYNK: First things first, what was your inspiration behind the clothing line and the brand name Ty1?
Tamera “TY” Young: My inspiration, I actually started with this hoop cred company and we had a few players from the league and … Okay so it started off with just finding a logo that I liked, and one being my basketball number before I was traded here to Atlanta, and then my initial TY is what I had for the logo. Just being an athlete and a lot of times being in sports gear and being a role model to people, that’s what initially started it, and now I’m trying venture out into not just having a sporting line, but also a lifestyle line.
PYNK: Okay, I like it, a lifestyle line. So that’s the end goal?
PYNK: Okay, I like it.
TY: Because I don’t want to only be geared towards athletes or people that work out, I want people that don’t really work out or people that just like certain styles to be able to wear my clothing as well.
PYNK: Okay, therefore you’re reaching a broader audience. I like it. Are you very much so involved in the creative process?
TY: Yes, I’m very hands on with it. All of the items that I sell I pick out myself, and I work with the different companies who are producing it, but everything I’m hands on with picking out and trying to figure out what angle I would like to go.
PYNK: Okay, have you seen the growth in it so far? Are people receiving it pretty well?
TY: Yes, like I said I first started out with just T-shirts, but then I ventured out to sweats, hoodies, hats, socks and the feedback is phenomenal so I just have to continue to find people that can produce the products for me and the quality is the main thing for me. I’d rather have better quality than just bringing out a lot of different variety of items and it’s not good quality.
PYNK: What are your personal favorite pieces?
TY: My personal favorite is probably the socks and the hats because I’m a sneaker head, so I’m really into shoes and socks, and then I love hats too. That’s probably my personal favorite, even though I wear all of it, that’s probably my personal favorite.
PYNK: Okay, so speaking of- you say your sneaker head, what are your go-to or your must haves on the road? What is it that you cannot not have?
TY: As far as shoes or …
PYNK: Anything. Shoes, clothes, or anything, period.
TY: My iPad and my cellphone are my go-tos. It doesn’t have anything to do with shoes or clothes, but if I leave one or the other I’ll panic.
PYNK: Okay so as far as clothes, though, what is it that you have to have? What can’t you do without as far as clothes then?
TY: Clothes, I always have to have a hoodie. No matter the weather, even if it’s hot outside, I’m still having a hoodie with me. I’m like okay, I’m indoors and I’m in places, or it’s going to be cold so having a hoodie would be fine. Flying on the plan I like to be comfortable. I don’t want just a sweatshirt, I gotta have that hood because I like to put my hood up. It’s just one item that I’ve always packed, I always have to have one, whether it goes with my sweats, or some jeans, or some shorts, I always have to have a hoodie.
PYNK: That’s awesome. So who are some of your favorite designers right now at this moment?
TY: I really don’t have favorite designers.
PYNK: You wear your own clothing mostly?
TY: Yes, I wear my clothing but I also like this old company from Chicago called Fashion Geek. I love their hoodies as well. I pull my inspiration from their stuff that I’m trying to design.
PYNK: Sweet, okay, I like it. I know you mentioned earlier about Atlanta Dream or whatnot, tell us about the recent trade from Chicago Skys to Atlanta Dream, and how has that adjustment been?
TY: It’s different. It was a comfort level because this is where I initially started. I have my house here, I have my friends and I have family here, but as far as playing, it’s been totally different. I went from starting and averaging 26 minutes in Chicago to not playing as much here. So that’s definitely an adjustment… The city, the people that work for the team, they’ve all been very welcoming and showing me much love, so in that aspect it’s a great thing. You always want to be somewhere where you feel wanted.
PYNK: Right, so has it also- has the move back made the relationship with Mimi stronger as well?
TY: I wouldn’t say stronger- we’ve always had a strong base, I would say it’s better as far as being able to spend more time together. With having a long distance relationship, her being in Atlanta, me in Chicago, the only times we would actually see each other is if she had days off and could travel to Chicago, or vice versa. Now I see her every single day, except when I’m on the road. That aspect is definitely comforting and it’s something good to have.
PYNK: That’s awesome, but hey you all survived the distance, how did you all manage to get through the distance? How did you get through that? Or how do you manage now when you’re on the road?
TY: For me, we both have FaceTime, we both have iPhones so we FaceTime a lot. We text, we talk, it’s just about having trust and communication. That’s just mainly the basis of it, being in a long distance relationship. Being able to communicate. She knows my schedule and I know her schedule. It’s just about finding time – I think time is an important thing in relationships, and if you want something to work, or you want something in general in life, you’re gonna make time for it. That’s just what we’ve both been doing in the relationship to make it work. It’s just finding the time for each other.
PYNK: That’s very important, time is everything. So what’s something that people think they might know about Mimi, but really don’t?
TY: Mimi is so giving and so nice. On TV you see her, she’s feisty, she’s wirey, but she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. There’s times when I’m telling her “you’re being too nice, don’t let people take your kindness for a weakness.” She just has this big heart where she always wants to give and help people out. Unless you really know her, then I don’t think a lot of people know that about her.
PYNK: Aw, that’s sweet. And switching gears a little bit to- I know you’re really big in charity, doing charity work, and recently you gave 30 pairs of sneakers to Steve Harvey’s girls mentoring program, what provoked your heart to do that, and how did they receive it?
TY: Me being into shoes and growing up my mother couldn’t afford the type of shoes I wanted so I always like to give back because that was something that I wanted to have growing up. When I saw the opportunity for these girls- Steve Harvey was having his girls week, I talked to Ken, my publicist and I was like hey you know, I want to give away some shoes to the organization. He talked to them and we got the address because I had a game so I couldn’t actually physically distribute them to the kids, but I made a video and we sent it out, and we mailed them the 30 pairs of shoes.
PYNK: Aw, that’s sweet. I bet you their faces lit up and that’s really cool. So you also visited the Ronald McDonald house in Chicago as well, why did you choose to get involved in that, and how important was that to you?
TY: I love kids, and the Ronald McDonald house had an open opportunity to go visit and give back and I just wanted to show them that it doesn’t have to just be family to support you and show you love. It could be anyone. Just to put a smile on their face, I wanted to do that. We went there- I visited with them, the families gave out coloring books and crayons to the kids, t-shirts, and just to show some love and sympathy for them. Showing them love outside of just seeing their families every day.
PYNK: That’s cool, giving them something else to look forward to. So what did you learn most from the experiences overall, what did you learn most?
TY: You can’t take things for granted, you can take the day for granted. Sometimes we get upset about the simplest things, and here you are, you have kids that- or people in general are just fighting for their lives and we take so much for granted. You go to a place like that and you see someone where you come there just to interact with them and puts a smile on their face, that we need to be more appreciative and grateful for the things that we have.
PYNK: Any plans to get involved again in the future with the same organizations, or any more charitable opportunities that come your way, you’ll be willing to be involved?
TY: Oh, definitely. I love to give back, I also do a 3on3 kill cancer event each year, this will be my third year that I started it, it’s annually. The whole 3on3 is free and it’s free for everyone, we ask for donations. I do a ticket raffle where I give away shoes or gift cards, or things like that, and I will send the proceeds to cancer societies.
PYNK: Amen, that’s so right. I know we talked earlier about the clothing, I was looking at your Instagram as well, and any time maybe you’ll be getting involved in the works of maybe Vans, from the look of your Instagram?
TY: I wish, I love Vans and they have this thing now where they can do customization and that’s where I got the idea and made those customized Vans. It was a process to do, but it worked out. I actually just received them this week. Any open opportunities that I could do anything with them, I would love to, but so far, I’m not sure.
PYNK: Okay, well fingers crossed for the future. Can we expect to see you in Love and Hip Hop Atlanta this season?
TY: I don’t know, they tried to get me last season and I didn’t do it, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.
PYNK: Yeah, you should do it. Mimi can do it, you can do it.
TY: Mimi is much more outgoing than I am.
PYNK: I can see that though, just looking at the pictures and stuff of you all and looking at how you all, I can just look at the different personalities and tell that you’re more reserved, laid back, and she’s more of the outspoken one. You speak when necessary.
TY: Yeah, definitely. Right, that’s so my personality.
PYNK: That’s awesome. So any plans for you all to have children in the future?
TY: I want a baby, I mean I’ve been wanting a baby. I said by the age of 30 I wanted to have a kid, and here I am going on 31 so. Time is ticking, but yeah I definitely want a baby.
PYNK: Aw, that would be cute. You all have a little one together. I think you all should get on that.
TY: It would be cute, huh?
PYNK: So what advice would you give to someone young that looks up to you or has dreams of playing in the WNBA or the NBA for that matter because I’m sure little boys look up to you as well. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since your draft as well, and what advice would you give to them?
TY: The main thing that I’ve learned is to be self-motivated, self-disciplined. It’s a lot of people who think things are supposed to be given to them, but you have to work for it. One of my favorite quotes that I always used growing up is to prove doubters wrong. Everybody is not going to agree with you, everybody is not going to root for you, but you can use that as motivation to prove them wrong, to achieve the dreams and goals that you have aspired for yourself.
PYNK: So where can people go to check you out, as well as the clothing to purchase, where can they go to do it?
TY: My clothing is TY1 gear purchase dot storenvy dot com, my social media twitter is Tyoung11, and my instagram is Tyyoung11.
PHOTO CREDIT(S): Tamera Young