If you’re an aspiring DJ and you need some inspiration, look no further than DJ Duffey. From long nights practicing and teaching herself how to DJ to touring the world as French Montana’s personal DJ, Duffey is a superstar in her own right. If you’ve had the opportunity to see her live, you already know the energy she brings: twerking, turning up the crowd, and bringing the party with her anywhere she goes.
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Duffey is the definition of somebody who put in the work: taking over the nightlife scene and solidifying her name before embarking on her next endeavors. While she has a wide array of talents, the multihyphenate is a mother first, who recently welcomed her second child, baby Shadi, into the world.
On the entrepreneur tip, Duffey launched her own product titled Fine Fine, to help girls with their weight loss goals. The pills are cosigned by Duffey herself who not only used them to slim down, but regain energy and confidence after giving birth to her second baby.
On the 27th episode of Shirley’s Temple, I spoke with DJ Duffey about her first time DJing at Coachella, traveling the world with French Montana, welcoming her second child, naming her daughter Shadi, how she met her fiance, being a Division 1 athlete & why she quit basketball, former job working at Enterprise, how she ended up DJing for Curren$y, an epic moment playing songs for Lil Wayne, her favorite 42 Dugg song, why she kept her second pregnancy a secret, her weight loss company Fine Fine, a hair company in the works, being a tomboy, manifesting her way onto Basketball Wives & why she got into it with Tami Roman, why she stopped managing artists, and more!
I saw you were twerking and DJing for French Montana at Coachella. You were lit!
Thank you, that was one of my biggest shows. It was meaningful. It's so hard to even get into Coachella. You know when people try to get in there and can't get in? I'm on stage DJing my first time ever being there. I’d always heard about Coachella and I never got to go.
Were you nervous?
No, I was lit. I was so fucked up that whole weekend. I'm just happy I didn't mess up.
Do you usually party while you DJ?
Normally I am. Normally, I want to feel like everybody else is feeling, but I don't want to be too lit. I'm not trying to mess up, but I want to be feeling like y'all feeling. When I'm completely sober and I'm DJing, it's not as fun. I have a job where it actually helps to be a little lit. Not too lit, but lit enough.
Coachella is a lot of people, you weren’t nervous at all?
I'm always on every show, completely nervous all the way up to about song 3. “Okay the music's going good, everything's going good,” because people don't realize there's so many things that could go wrong. For me, there could be 20 different reasons why the music isn’t playing. Sometimes, it's not even me. Somebody else might have messed up, or their chord or their sound at the club. But then right around song 3: “Alright, we got this.”
Have you had a traumatic experience DJing, where something went really wrong?
Yeah, it was our first time in Morocco. French's first time being there since he was 16 years old. His dad was there, it was a big deal. The first song, the sound was so low. The second song, the sound is so low. He's looking back at me, I'm like, “It’s not me!” I could not breathe. The guy comes up there, there’s this one little switch I'd never seen before on the little soundboard. He flipped it over, then the sound goes boom! Everybody's like “Ahh!” Oh my God, okay. Damn, out of all shows? This is such a big show.
Y'all jumped off the tallest building in the world in Australia, how are those moments?
Amazing. I love traveling the world with French and doing really cool things with him. Documenting it on Instagram so other girls can see it and be inspired.
You’re a supermom! You have two kids and you’re still DJing.
I'm still a lit mom. I'm a cool mom. Sometimes it feels crazy, when my 10 month old gets up at 6am and wants to play and watch Barney. I had to be in the studio until 3pm, trying to get myself a record. Times like that I'm like, “This is crazy. What am I doing?” But then I get messages from other moms or aspiring females who say, “Wow, you inspire me. Wow, I want to be like you.” Oh yeah, I am doing something cool. It’s rare. The people really remind me that what I'm doing is cool and rare, and I should really appreciate and live in the moment.
How was it welcoming baby #2?
I had a beautiful daughter named Shadi, I love her so much. She’s the most perfect little girl in the world. She's so happy, she's so smart. Her name means “full of joy” in Farsi. Her dad is Persian, so I had to give a Persian name. She literally lives up to her name, it's crazy. She’s the most happiest baby.
I had Toni Romiti as my first guest on Shirley’s Temple today. She was saying how she really lucked out because her baby sleeps through the night.
Yup, my daughter goes to bed at 7pm at night and she gets up at 6:30am. We on clockwork. I do not play by my baby's sleep schedule routine. I don't care if I'm there or not there, my fiance knows you better be on the schedule. If I call or I look on the camera and she’s not down for her nap by the time she's supposed to be, we have a problem. I do not play with the schedule.
How was your second pregnancy?
It was good. It was during COVID, so I would’ve been in the house anyway. I lucked up. I'm calling all my girls like “ya’ll this is the best, you need to get pregnant. This is the time.” Because a lot of my female friends are in the industry, there's never a right time for a female in the industry to have a baby. I didn't mean to do this, but literally the best time ever. And it was: the whole time I was pregnant, French did not do one show. I got to go throughout my whole pregnancy stress-free. I didn't have to feel sad I missed work, I was home and happy.
Did you miss DJing during that time?
No man, I needed a break. I DJed 9 years straight on every birthday, every weekend, every holiday. I was always working for 9 years. With French, we had traveled the world for two years straight. 13-hour flights, 14-hour flights. I have young kids. To be able to be with my son then be carrying my daughter, being around my family during that time, I really took it as a thankful time. I was happy to slow down because I'm a go-getter: go, go, go. You see, we back outside. I’m back going, but it was fun to take it easy and be with my family.
There's so many similarities between you and Toni. She used to hoop, you used to hoop.
I know, me and her been talking. I was supposed to go to a barbecue she had the other day, but I had to go DJ in Vegas. She invited me, it was going to be our first time hanging out. I looked at my schedule, it said “Vegas.” I’m like damn.
What were you doing in Vegas?
Me and French have Drais, we do Drais. We're back.
What was DJ Duffey like hooping?
Girl I was cold. I was cold, I ain't gonna lie.
Do you still hoop?
I can still hoop, I don't because my nails. And I’m tired, and I weigh about 80 more pounds. [laughs] I used to be really good. My dad pushed me my whole life, I was a basketball player my whole life. Division 1 athlete, had a full scholarship. I was really good. I probably would’ve been better but my freshman year in college, I Googled how much WNBA players get paid. When I read that, I said, “Dad, I don't know why the hell you had me working out for the last 8 years. Maybe for the scholarship, cool, but I have no desire to go to the WNBA.” It wasn't enough money for me. They’re starting to get paid more, and that's great. I want to advocate for that. WNBA players should be making a lot more money compared to the males.
What position do you play?
I was a shooting guard. You know, last second on the clock. 3 seconds down, who they gon’ pass it to? Me.
Toni told me she made 10 3’s in one game. Have you ever?
I think I did 13. I was in high school, my dad couldn't believe it. He bought me stuff, he was so happy.
How does he feel now?
He’s so proud of me. When I first bought my DJ equipment, he looked at me — because I had just went through a divorce with my ex-husband. I was living at my parents' house trying to get my life together with my one-year-old son. They came home one day and I had DJ equipment on the floor. My dad's like, “What's this?” I said “I'm about to teach myself how to DJ. I want to be a DJ.” He said, “Well when you get down with that, you better not sell it because we're going to use that for the barbecue.” He thought it was some little phase. He's proud of me now.
You were working at Enterprise, right?
Yes, renting cars. I was sleeping in the back of the vans. I was trying to get my friends discounts. I was out there. They used to want us to lie about the protection, act like everybody needed it but not everybody needs it. You gotta call your insurance because sometimes rental cars are protected in your insurance. You know how you’re supposed to sell it to everybody? I'd be like, “Well if you got such and such insurance, then you really don't need it.” I’d wink at them because I’m so nice. I’m not trying to take these people’s money. It wasn’t for me. [laughs]
When was the next chapter, when you were DJing all over Texas?
I started out opening up at 10:30pm. A couple of years later, I had the hottest nights. I'm closing, celebrities coming through on my nights when they in town. I was poppin’, I was the woman.
I had no idea you were Spitta’s DJ!
That was the first artist I DJed for. I seen his manager at SXSW, he said, “Yo, I'ma reach out to you about DJing.” I said “okay.” I didn't think he would, and he did. I wasn't really into smoker music because Texas, we can't smoke. It's illegal. He said “I want you to DJ for Curren$y.” I look, I’m like “well I only know two of these songs.” I was listening to the songs over and over and over again for the whole week before I was going to DJ for him the first time, trying to remember the songs. I ended up learning the songs quick and I love him. He's one of the most talented people I've seen in the studio. The way he writes, the way he remembers his words at his shows, the way he's effortlessly cool. I love him. I see why him and Wiz are best friends, they’re both super super cool, cool guys.
Fondest memories DJing for Spitta? Because he has such a big fanbase.
Alright, we’re in New Orleans. I'm DJing for Spitta, it’s some weekend going on. My homeboy Hood Boss is from Dallas, but he lives out here now. He’s with Chris Brown a lot, he works in the music industry. He comes up, taps me on my shoulder asking me if I got one of Lil Wayne songs. I’m DJing, I said “yeah I got it. Why?” He said “Alright, he's going to come out.” This one of my favorite rappers of all time. I don't care if it's two songs I played, I DJ’d for Lil Wayne. [laughs] For two songs, that was so epic. I couldn't believe it that night!
How annoying is it when people say “ay, can you play my record?”
See, in the clubs in Dallas, they used to ask me: “Can I pay you $200 to play my song?” I'd say no. Because I'm a female out here DJing, I don't want to play your song, then it's wack. They’d say “I paid you to play the whole two minutes!” Or you pay me one time, then maybe the next time Future might be hosting. I'm trying to do a lit set, you think you could come up and pay me $200? I don't do that. If I rock with your music, I see you and it's the right time, I’ll play it. If not, people need to know I ain't taking your money. You ain't about to blackmail me over $200.
How does it feel to be DJing in Vegas?
Lit, Vegas is a vibe. I used to think Vegas was the biggest, craziest clubs in the world. Now, it's my job in my office. I go in, the club used to look crazy years ago. Now, it’s work. It's always fun there because everybody's there to party and have a good time. It's Vegas, everybody wants to have a good time. You can't go wrong.
What's your favorite song to drop in a set?
It depends on whatever the hottest record is right now. One of my favorite records right now though when I hear it come on, is 42 Dugg, “Maybach.” “From the Westside…I be turning up for my city!” [imitates 42 Dugg] His little voice, it makes you want to just turn up. Where's the shots? [laughs]
I love that song on the album, but I hate Future’s line, “tell Steve Harvey I don't want her.”
But Steve’s so cool. I could see Steve hearing it and being like, “See, I told her to ass not to fuck with that n*gga. Her ass don't want to listen to me, now he's saying my name in songs.”
Bitches love Future too. He’s toxic though!
And they love it. They love everything about it, and the men love him too. That's the thing, they know all the Future lines. They always copy him. Under our photos, we might put Drake. They putting Future lines under theirs. Now, it's turned more into Lil Baby, a lot of people are putting Lil Baby lines.
A huge part of the show is mental health, how were your pregnancies?
My first pregnancy, I was going through a divorce so I definitely experienced postpartum depression. But the second time, I was so happy. I was with my family. I didn't have to move from my house. I felt bad, I kept my pregnancy a secret for a long time. Because when I’d go on social media, it’d be Black Lives Matter stuff going on. Then it was COVID, the world seemed so sad. I didn't want to be like “I’m pregnant and happy!” Everybody's like “look what's going on!” So I held it for a long time because I was in a different space from the world.
I'm thankful I was in that because last time, I didn't get to enjoy it. If it's too much for me, I just block it out. Sometimes, social media can be too much. I had to turn off CNN. I was watching CNN too much, it was depressing. Over and over again, all day. Boom, boom, boom, the world is crazy. I unplugged, spent time with my family and learned about new businesses.
Talk about the businesses you have right now.
I started a weight loss company, Fine Fine. We're slowly adding products and wow, it’s doing amazing. I've sold out 4 times in a row. I’m not going to lie, I’m rich bitch! [laughs] I’ma keep growing on that. I'm working on some other businesses, which I don't really want to say too much. One’s a hair company. You know wigs, that's my thing. I'm working on that, you're going to see more of the entrepreneur spirit in me.
I ran into you at Teyana's and you were with Jonathan. Talk about your guys’ friendship,
Jonathan, I was one of his first celebrity hair clients. It was two of us, he was doing Asian Doll and me in Dallas. I told him he was going to grow. I don't know if you know his story, but he's talked about it so I'll talk about it. When he started doing my hair, he had an ankle monitor. He just got out of jail, out of prison. I was motivating him when he got that bracelet off, to go to LA and go get it. I said “You're talented. You're special.” I’d be telling everybody ”Wait, he's coming!” When he got loose, he was killing it. I'm so proud of him.
What is your secret to staying snatched?
Being an athlete most my life, I think that helps. I'm a naturally thick person, naturally small waist. But to lose weight, I use my products. I use appetite suppressants, because I love food. If you had food on the table right now and I wasn't hungry, I would still eat some. But when I take my appetite suppressant, I don't. I'm good. It takes away my cravings, so that helps me a lot. I would workout, but girl I hurt my knee.
Oh no, what happened?
I fell on an escalator trying to run up the escalator, get a hundred bill I dropped. Busted my knee open. This was a couple of years ago. I'm so gangsta that I went to the ER, got that shit stitched up. Got on a plane, a two-hour flight, DJed in heels that same night. Swear to God.
You did not!
What’s wrong with me? I'm such a hustler, this shit ain’t about to stop me! The doc sewed it up. It was really, really bad. I should’ve got X-rays. I really should have got it looked at, it was really bad. Now I feel it, from all that twerking on the DJ booth on tour with French. I really messed my knee up that day, I gotta get it checked out. You know when you’re trying to avoid something? I know if I go to the doctor, they're going to try to make me do some surgery. I don’t want to do it.
What do you do for self-care?
I'm a tomboy y'all. I'm not going to lie when I'm at home, I'm not in LA doing something with TV or filming, or at a show in French, I'm at the house bald head. No wig on. I shaved my hair bald myself, my man loves it. That's his favorite style, me bald.
I love that. Why did you..?
Because my hair is just a lot. When I did decide to shave my head for the first time: if I hate it, I wear a wig. Not a big deal. But when I did it, I felt so empowered. I felt so sexy, and I'm so happy that my man feels the same way. He thinks it’s so beautiful when I do that, I’m really happy about that. I hate getting my nails done. I don't understand why we have to sit in there for 2.5 hours.
How did you meet your man again? I know he's an NBA agent, he used to hoop.
One of these guys who played for the Lakers was dating my homegirl's mom, they knew each other. He saw my fiance at a hotel in Dallas and said “Where are you going?” He said, “I'm leaving.” He said, “Don't leave. There's this DJ I want to introduce you to, I think you’ll like.” So I'm DJing, I get done DJing and go to the bar. My friend's mom's boyfriend says “Yo, this is my friend. I want you to meet him.”
He's 6’6”, Persian. I never had this flavor before, this looks kind of good. I was nervous because I'd never dated outside of my race. What do Persian men act like? What do they listen to? We hung out the whole night. He was knowing the words of the hip hop songs, I’m like “yes, yes, yes!” Because music is important to me. If he didn't know no hip-hop, honestly it wouldn't work. He loves hip-hop. He loves a lot of stuff that I love, it was cool. We got along good.
How did you shoot the shot?
The dude introduced us, I was already lit. We didn’t separate that whole night, then the next day and the next day. We still rocking out.
How does it feel to have a baby with him?
It feels good because I always want a little mixed baby with good hair. [laughs] I be combing and brushing her hair like girl, I wish I had hair like this. This is so nice. I would’ve never shaved my hair if I had hair like my daughter. She wakes up with these big spiral curls, super soft. Perfect wand curls, her hair is gorgeous. My little Barbie doll baby.
You got a lot of talent: you can DJ, you can hoop. What’s your daughter going to be?
I don't know, all I know is she’s going to be a boss. Even running my business now from home, she's watching me. Wow, you get to see me. By the time she's 10, I'm going to have whatever companies. It’s going to be crazy. Whatever she does, she's definitely going to be a boss. Period. Maybe even a singer. When I hit a high note, she'll hit a high note. When I hit low, she’ll hit low. That's really advanced for 10 months. Oh my god, are you a singer? Because you know, I’d be a crazy manager mom. My babygirl would make it, if she could sing.
I used to wish I could sing.
Me too. I can’t, at all. I used to, but after so many people tell you no. [laughs] Tell you stop. God gifted me with so many talents, I'm a very talented woman. My friends ask “What can you not do?” And when they make that statement, I'd say sing. I wish I could sing, but I can't sing.
For fun though, karaoke?
I can't sing, it's embarrassing. Even I got a natural, raspy voice. I can’t sing. I sound like a man in the morning who just woke up, it’s not good.
How was your time on Basketball Wives?
It was cool. It was something I manifested. When I was younger and saw Real World and Road Rules, as soon as I'm 17 I'm applying. I think I did. I tried for something when I was 17 or 18. I always wanted to do reality TV so when the opportunity presented itself, wow they’re really about to let me be on TV! This is crazy, I was really excited. It was when I was DJing for Curren$y. I thought “they gon’ laugh at me, they gon’ think this is crazy. They let me on Basketball Wives?”
When you look at Basketball Wives, you see the bougie girl with the purses. This is me. I’m DJ Duffey, I'm crazy. My wigs might be different colors, I'm outspoken. I’d rather wear sneakers than heels. I'd rather go turn up with you and take a shot then sit at a restaurant. I thought I was very different, but it was cool. It was a little stressful.
I got into it with Tami Roman. I knew she was, I was really excited to work with her. In my head, I thought, “She’s going to be my friend.”
What was the beef over?
Something crazy. I was supposed to be helping her daughter with her music video. One week later, she said “We haven't heard nothing about the music video, you're fired.” I’m like “you fired me?” It went left there. Next thing you know, we're in Portugal and she’s coming around the table. Oh, is she about to try to throw me off this balcony? It was 60 stories up, it was crazy.
Did it get physical?
A little bit, but they cut out that part. I never spoke to her. Now that I'm older and wiser, I know reality TV better and how it works, what she did was nothing personal. She was trying to make a good story, but I didn't know that being my first time. I’m like “Why are you picking on me?” I took everything so personally. There's no hard feelings for me, and I know she ain't thinking about that.
Would you do reality TV again?
Yeah, I'm into TV. I’d love for something to be like in Texas. I keep having to come to LA, but Texas is my home. It’s where I have my house at. I have an apartment here, but I got my big home in Texas. I miss you. [laughs] It's too expensive to live here. I don't know why y'all choose to live here. I see why, because all this stuff happens in LA. If you were in Dallas, all this nice production, everything you have, weed, it'd be a lot you wouldn't have. But it's expensive. I pay 3 times for my small apartment here than what I do for my 6-bedroom home in Texas, it’s a lot.
How often are you here?
Right now, I've been here since June. I'm here when I'm working, I got some stuff going on. I'm executive producing now, trying to get some records done. I’m doing my DJ Khaled thing, trying to get some people on some records. “I want DJ Duffey!” on the beginning of the track. [laughs] I've been talking to some of my little industry friends and trying to get these verses. It's hard because everybody has their own thing going on. Right now, I'm hustling trying to get these records. Me and my best friend Zoe, she's a really big A&R in the industry. She's helping me and I'm excited. I can't wait to have a record and you be like “yo, that's Duffey’s record!” I'm working.
Are you still managing artists?
No, I gave that up girl. They were so unappreciative. It was like having some bad ass kids that don't appreciate shit. I'm like “Get out! Get out the house.”
You were managing 5 at one time?
Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking. One of them stole my chain. I don't know which one of them did it to this day because there were 5 of them in the room. I had bought everybody clothes for this concert. I said “Hey everybody, try your clothes on.” That night, I realized my diamond chain I just got was gone. There's no point, nobody's going to tell me “alright Duff, I took your chain.” I was more mad at myself, because I don't have street smarts. I will leave my phone and think “Oh, it'll be fine.” That was my fault. I shouldn't have left anything like that around a room full of people. I thought since I was doing so much for them, I didn't have to think of that.
Any goals for yourself right now?
My goal is to have 3 businesses going by May. The projects I'm working on in LA right now that I can't say, I'm really excited. I'm really, really excited, some big shit’s coming in. I’m really excited for the future. I'm excited to be a mom of two now.