Cardi understands the game and that VH1 benefits as much, if not more, from her as she does from them. Her booking fee, which has leveled up considerably in the past year, is significantly higher than the per-rate episode the show provides, she says. Despite the immense success it has brought her, all of the newfound attention via the internet has not entirely rewarded her in kind. Many of the new followers she’s acquired through Love & Hip Hop seize on her accent and her biography for target practice. A cursory look through the comments on Cardi’s Instagram turn up responses from people calling her names, reducing her to her former occupation. But how, I ask her, could a “dumb bitch” successfully execute the contemporary pipe dream of turning an Instagram account into a career—singlehandedly, at that?

“A lot of people think I’m just a dumb ass, like, hoe ass bitch because I can’t talk English properly and it’s just, like, yo if I was dumb, I would not be in the position that I’m in,” she says. “It’s just like damn everybody wanna be famous but, like, people don’t realize being famous don’t make you like rich. Like, yo you really gotta work to get rich.”