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It’s always the women in the little black dresses.

She immediately gets my attention as I walk onto a video shoot for emerging Houston rapper Tank Law’s street single “Standing on the Couch.” Although the presence of rappers and local media – including RapSumo, EliteSolutions PR, LaToya Hillis and JKB Entertainment, producer Code Redd and his wife, Black Kameii, and more – eye candy, the ample presence of Moet champagne, and the laid-back demeanor of the cameramen have me feeling like I’ve stumbled into an intimate gathering and celebration in Belvedere Lounge. That’s until director Michael Artis and crew member David Butler begin issuing out orders and encouraging everyone to get “quiet on the set.”

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But back to the girl. I recognize her but I can’t deduce from where. And her hair is long, dyed purple. Many have tried; plenty have failed, but she wears it well. She’s the “love interest” in Tank’s video, sitting alongside him and raising a glass as she looks directly at him. She’s the special guest. She’s playing the background and yet she stands out from everyone else. Just like a Diamond would.

You may remember her as the bark and all bite femcee on-board former Atlanta rap stable Crime Mob – the blond-haired girl who pounded her fist into her palm and carried the hook on the “fight in the club” anthem “Knuck if You Buck” and whose short shorts did all the work for her in the “Rock Yo Hips” video. The girl who snarled into the camera as she boasted that she had a “Lotta Money.” But time, circumstances, and maturity change things. Purple hair, a demeanor that’s not nearly as ratchet as her “Stiletto/Pumps” bars suggested, teeth bared in smiles and warm greetings instead of mean mugs – this is not the Diamond I remember. Which is the point.

“I’m 25 now,” Diamond tells me matter-of-factly. “I’ve been through a lot more experiences in love and business and so I had to grow up.”

Sitting down with Day & A Dream during a break in the “Standing on the Couch” filming, one of Atlanta’s finest (literally) broke down the evolution of herself as a person, as a brand, and as a businesswoman. This is not the girl you remember. Rather, Diamond is a young woman who stands alone now, and she won’t let herself be counted out or forgotten.

From All Up in the Screen to Behind the Scenes

“In 2011 and 2012, I had big singles in back-to-back years,” Diamond says, referencing her biggest one to date in “Lotta Money.” “In 2013, I worked with Rob Brown musically, but I also focused a lot more on endorsement deals and [diversifying] my business interests.” Most recently, Diamond’s currently pushing and promoting her own cosmetics brand here in Houston, Body by Royalty, whose lipstick line is especially popular. As well, she’s overseen the creation of her own electronic hookah. “I thought it would be creative to incorporate my ’32 Flavors’ into it,” Diamond says, citing one of her older songs and a staple of her image as an artist. “It comes in banana, cherry, all that.”

In 2014, Diamond will return to the forefront. She’s gotten into acting, and just wrapped up filming for a movie, Mississippi Blues, in which she stars. “It’s about the shady business side of the music.” And speaking of the music, she hasn’t forgotten about it – Diamond has a new single dropping next month and an album on the way.

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On Transitioning from An Artist to a Businesswoman

“It brought some great challenges,” Diamond admits, “and I had to learn to juggle so many things at one time.” However, it helped that Diamond associated herself with things she had a passion for. “I always loved fashion and makeup,” she says, “so Body by Royalty has been a fun experience.

“My brand is a reflection of me: it’s about having swag, and being confident in and unapologetic about who you are. It also gives me an opportunity to give back to my fans.”

And Speaking of Fans…

While on surface it may seem like Diamond’s been flying under the radar the last few years, she’s actually just devoted more attention to directly engaging her fans and followers. In addition to using Twitter, facebook, and the like, Diamond runs a “Diary of Diamond” e-Diary webisode series on her website, missdiamondATL.com (which she was kind enough to scribble upside down on my notepad). She takes her connection to her fans very seriously. “The Body by Royalty line was definitely made with my female fans in mind,” she says. But she hasn’t forgotten about the fellas. “I’m putting out a Diamond calendar for the new year for the guys, as well,” she adds with a smile.

Shameless self-promotion: DiamondATL strikes a pose while displaying one of her "32 Flavas" e-hookahs.

Shameless self-promotion: DiamondATL strikes a pose while displaying one of her “32 Flavas” e-hookahs.

“So, I gotta ask this since you brought up the guys. Is Diamond spoken for?”

“I’m single, I don’t have any ties or any kids,” Diamond admits. “I had baggage in my first real relationship, and so right now, I’m just dating and having fun. I’m trying to just enjoy my twenties and soak it all up while I can, because the time goes fast.”

And, finally, Advice For Young Girls Trying to Break Into the Industry

“You have to be mature,” Diamond insists, “and you have to have good lawyers. A handshake and a smile doesn’t [always] match.

“Furthermore, you have to be strong and know who you are. People will try to make you what they want you to be. But just stay true to yourself, and no matter what, never give up.”