Beyonce said it best, a diva is a female version of a hustler and Krystal Garner—skilled athlete, proud AKA, model and get it by any means necessary beauty—is precisely that. The Staten Island native knows first hand what it’s like to juggle numerous gigs at once making her a fierce competitor wrapped up in a lean package.
As a former marking specialist for brands like Diageo, brand manager to herself and editorial model, producers thought Krystal was the perfect fit for BET’s show The Grand Hustle. The reality TV competition placed 16 hopeful businessmen and women in a swanky ATL residence, where they were placed in scenarios that challenged their patience, problem-solving skills and tested their leadership qualities. The winner received a 6-figure salary and job with the king of the south, T.I.
Over the season, Krystal stayed true to herself, kept her eye on the prize and conducted herself with stealth poise, an attribute she learned as a ball player. Her goal was to win and she did.
When Krystal got a second call back to be on the show, she didn’t know she would be vying for a position on T.I.’s team, but went into the house with a game plan.
“I’m super competitive. I’ve played sports my whole life. I played two sports in college. My eye was on the prize. My eye wasn’t on like, “Hey this is going on, it can give you some sort of clout,” she said during a candid convo. “My mindset was, the only person who can get me off this whole situation is myself.”
Krystal immediately left her mark on the rapper-turned-mogul when she used her brain and charming personality to excel at challenges.
“I adore T.I.,” she said about the show host. “He’s a genuine humble hustler. When it comes to business he’s very open to conversing with you. He’s let you know his thoughts and analyze what you do and tell you about yourself and help yo get better.”
She continued, “You could never tell in a business setting what was going on personally, he was literally about his business. Like how I am on this show. It was like Krystal, drama. I’m going that way.”
Before she became a reality TV star, Krystal could be seen on billboards in Times Square. She was a model, like her mother in her former years, and witnessed what unattainable beauty standards set by the modeling industry did do the girls around her.
“I would go on auditions and hear, ‘Oh, your waist is too big. Your breasts are too big. You have too much hips. I was a size four at that time,” she revealed. “I did struggle with my weight. I would try to get really small and that’s not healthy.” Krystal was able to maintain a healthy weight, but that’s not the story for model. “I’ve seen a lot of women go into bathrooms and throw up. It’s real life.”
Krystal has a strong Black mother to thank for her grounded upbringing. “She would cook breakfast and I have to eat it before I leave,” she explained. “I came up struggling so we didn’t have that much food for the month. She made sure we had. So it was just more of the, she did things and I may have never realized but she did things because she needs to do for the household, but it benefited me in the long run because I didn’t go out and do everything else.”
Black women have been instrumental in Krystal’s career, including her sorority sisters, who were ready to put out a missing persons report when she went on hiatus from social media while sequestered on the show.
“My sorority sisters, they’re special. I love AKAs,” she gushed. “I told them before I left, ‘You will not be able to reach me.’ I think because I wasn’t on social media, somebody told one sorority sister, who told another who was a cop. They were ready to put a missing person report out.”
After winning the show, Krystal had a crying session and said she went on an “emotional roller coaster.”
“When you got out, you felt like you were sucked out of a situation,” she explained. “I hate saying the depressed word, but I think i was a little down because you go from your life being filmed every second to people catering you on TV back in your room with your bills. You come back and there was a whole world going on.”
Since the competition, Krystal is focused on her next business venture and looking forward to being apart of the grand hustle team!
Follow Krystal on Instagram, here.