After years of being a momager to superstar rapper, actor and all-around businessman Bow Wow, Teresa Caldwell is focusing on the next chapter of her life. She’s gearing up for the rereleasing of her book, “I Once Was Her.” In it, readers get an in-depth look at how she turned obstacles such as homelessness and domestic abuse into triumph.

With her partner Michael Elliot, she also owns and operates The Taste Boutique, a trendy Atlanta clothing store. Additionally, the two fused their talents to create Taste Interior Design, where they offer concept development, furnishing services, remodeling and more.

“I Once Was Her” will be available on Nov. 1 at all major book retailers.

What made you want to write this book? A lot of people would say, “I’m successful. I’ve already made it.” Why did you want to reach back, give advice and discuss what happened in your life?

I get asked this question all the time by my girlfriends, like, “Why? Why? Why?” So for me, I felt like all the different things that I’ve been through in my life, all the tears or the mountains that I had to climb to get to the other side, I felt like me sharing my story and my testimony and my experiences in domestic violence, rejection, abandonment, just different issues — I felt like I could help people. Younger girls. We need somebody to help the younger ones. They need role models. I’ve always been a role model to a lot of the celebrities growing up — like Solange and all those little girls growing up. I’ve always been very, very close to them. [People] say they can listen to me, you know, I’m giving good advice. I didn’t judge them about anything.

Speaking of role models growing up, Bow Wow was kind of thrust into the world of Suge Knight and Death Row Records. It sounds like the craziest thing to have a 5-year-old around, but you spoke about how they took such great care of him and how they were great role models. How was that?

You know what? I must say that I was a little nervous in the beginning, but I felt like it was something that I had to do. And with me, I’m a praying woman and I prayed so much. And I asked God to guide me and let me know if that was okay. You know? And then having conversations with Snoop, Dre and Suge, I just felt comfortable. Yeah. And they were really good. No complaints.

In your book, you said God was present in all of the situations that you went through — like the anonymous call you got inviting Bow Wow to “The Chronic Tour” and it coming at the right time. You have such a testimony.

Oh my gosh. When I tell you I remember living a very tough life and I just remember this. One of my friends, he was a cop, and I remember him coming to me. He was saying — they call me “Spider” because I’m terrified of spiders — saying, “Spider, listen, they’re on to you.” And really, I got into that whole world because of my abuser. I was basically his slave. So, I did all that for him, and I didn’t get anything out of it, you know? And then I got that phone call and it was so weird.

They said, “We have tickets [to ‘The Chronic Tour’]” — because at that time, [Bow Wow] was Kid Gangster — “We have tickets for Kid Gangster to go to ‘The Chronic Tour’” and I’m like, “Oh my god” — because I was very proper — “There is no way.” And I didn’t take him. [Some of my friends] took him to the concert, and AJ Johnson picked [Bow Wow] to go up on a stage and rock. And he did and they started throwing money. It was crazy. And then that same night, he was [telling my friends], “Mom doesn’t want to go on tour. It may be an opening act.” And when I tell you, I never looked back since that day.

It seemed like fate. There was so much going on in your life at the time and still ’til this day, you say you don’t know who it was that called.

I’ve spoken about it in the past. Nobody’s come forward, but I can hear God saying in a soft, quiet voice, “That was me.” Yeah, I got to know God. I know. That was God.

That’s awesome! Now, your book mentioned certain illegal activity and your friend who was a cop told you to be on the lookout. How do you speak freely about the things you’ve done in the past but not get in trouble?

Oh, see, I can go like 10 years back. You have to wait a certain amount of time before they can come back and get you. So I waited and that’s why I’m just now talking about it. I really didn’t talk too much about it. So now I can tell my story.

Okay, got it. You’re good to go now. Each chapter of your book begins with a story about how your friends got to know you. Was it easy to build those relationships?

Trust me, it was really hard for me to trust people. It was really, really hard. And the friends that I had in my book are still my friends. Those are my sisters. Like, those my soul sisters. And they will tell you, it took a minute for me to even trust them.

I think your story about receiving tough love from your parents is very relatable. It also showed how that shaped your wanting to be so close in Bow’s life.

For me, that was really tough with us because he didn’t understand why I was holding on so tight and he didn’t understand me being as strict as I was. And then there were times in our life when we were being tested, but he didn’t understand because I had a totally different relationship with God than what he had. So anytime you higher up like this, that relationship with God, I think that’s why we get tested a lot. The enemy knew that there was only one person that could take me there and make me worry and have me depressed or have anxiety, and it was my son. I think now he finally gets it. Because in that industry, being a woman and being his manager and his mother, oh, you already know, I was tested so many times.

Yes. Things weren’t how they are today. You’re a pioneer. You laid the groundwork.

I mean, when I tell you I laid the groundwork! Yes. And that’s another reason why I needed to write this book. Because having to hold all this stuff in and not really be able to be my authentic self in the industry. But then I had to. I was very quiet. That’s why I never wanted to show my face. Never wanted to do any interviews. I always wanted my story to be told by me, my way.

You spoke about issues with family in your book. Do you ever have relatives try to reenter your life now that you’re successful?

I really never had a close relationship with my family. I was homeless. I had aunts. I had uncles. Nobody took me in and I was in school. So for me, I disconnected from all of my family except for my cousins. I have one cousin I’m really tight with. I don’t even know half of my family. Every now and then they’ll reach out to me and want tickets to a concert or something like that. I don’t even respond.

Do you think more people in the Black community should try therapy?

Most definitely. And when I say therapist, I’m talking about somebody with a PhD. I’m talking to a doctor, not a life coach. I had a therapist, a licensed therapist, a doctor. I think everybody needs a therapist. Even my son. I got him one because of his issues and the things that he dealt with because I didn’t understand the dark side or depression. I didn’t understand. I’m like, “What do you mean?” You know? Like, “Get it together.” Growing up as a child celebrity in the industry is really tough on the kids. Oh, yeah, because he — I mean, for most of us, like, my mistakes in life, nobody really knew about. But him? You understand?

Yes, he grew up so publicly.

He had to grow up in front of all of us. That’s hard.

What was it like being a momager? That situation was new for you. You’d done work in other fields, but managing a career that really skyrocketed… How do you think that happened?

Suge [Knight] gave me advice. He said, “You should manage your son, don’t ever allow anyone to manage him because you know what’s best for your child,” which I think is true. And also Miss [Janet] Jackson, she gave me advice, which I will never forget. She said, “Do not allow the industry to make your son a slave,” and I remember that. I had so many people giving me advice in the industry. It was like I was meant to be in the industry. I built some great relationships, and people really helped me through.

Let’s talk about your clothing boutique, Taste. Fashion has been a passion of yours for quite some time. When did you finally say, “Okay, I’m focusing on me, I’m branching out and doing something I want to do”?

To be totally honest, it was kind of thanks to Bow. So basically, what happened was he decided to part ways with me managing him. He felt like it was my time to do whatever I wanted to do. I’d given so much to him that I wasn’t able to really focus on myself. I didn’t understand that at the time, so when he decided to get a new manager, it was very painful. But looking back, it was the best blessing ever because now I am able to be his mother. I still manage. Like Kiss, that deal with the do-rags and all that stuff, that’s me. So I still have that, but other than that, that’s it. So now, our relationship is closer. We’re really close now and that’s because I’m a mom. Yeah. We don’t really… I don’t even talk about the industry.

I don’t even know what’s going on in the industry because I’m so much in my role. Not only am I the founder and co-owner of Taste Boutique, we also have Taste Interior Design. So I’m an interior designer as well. So I’m super busy now.

Well, we’re excited about all that you have going on and look forward to the rerelease of your book. In the meantime, how can we keep up with you?

Thanks so much. I’m on Instagram @ms.teresacaldwell and my clothing store is @thetasteboutique.ATL.