Cardi B and younger sister Hennessy Carolina have been “ride or die since day 1”
Cardi B’s younger sister Hennessy Carolina is a star in her own right.
The influencer, reality star and fashion designer first rose to fame alongside the “Bodak Yellow” rapper on Love & Hip Hop: New York, and has appeared on shows including MTV’s The Challenge and Hip Hop Squares in the years since.
Boasting millions of Instagram followers, she’s made a name for herself as an influencer, as well as a model and designer, collaborating on a collection with Boohoo in 2018 and landing a campaign with Moschino the following year. “I want to dominate the fashion industry and I would eventually like to get into the makeup industry,” she told Galore in 2019 of her career plans.
Born on Dec. 22, 1995, in the Bronx, New York, Hennessy is the daughter of a Dominican father and a Trinidadian mother, Carlos and Clara Almanzar. She was born three years after her older sister, whom she’s been close with since childhood.
When asked if there’s any competition between herself and her Grammy-winning sister, she quickly set the record straight, telling Paper. “That’s not even a problem for me.” She added, “We’re always looking out for each other.”
Navigating the spotlight has its challenges, she told the outlet, but being able to rely on her sister makes it more manageable. “What we tell each other, is let’s not pay these haters no attention,” she told Paper. “But it’s hard because we really have big hearts.”
Together, they’ve worked to tune out the negativity. “It just really hurts our feelings. So we just learned to let people just talk, let them have their opinions, and not take it offensive. Don’t let that mess up our minds,” Hennessy added.
Here’s everything to know about Cardi B’s younger sister, Hennessy Carolina.
Her name inspired her sister’s stage name
The legend of Hennessy’s name is something she’s discussed in a handful of interviews, with Cosmopolitan and Galore reporting that she allegedly got her memorable moniker after her father showed up to her birth intoxicated and suggested they name her after the cognac brand he’d been enjoying that night.
Her name ultimately inspired friends and family to give her older sister an alcohol-related nickname as well. Cardi — born Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar — explained on Twitter: “My name is Belcalis ,Growing up people called me Bacardi cause my sister name is Hennessy ..FYI.”
She starred alongside Cardi B on Love & Hip Hop: New York
Hennessy made her reality TV debut while sharing the screen with her sister on Love & Hip Hop: New York in 2016. During the season 7 reunion episode, she infamously got into a fight with Major Galore while defending the “I Like It” singer — a moment, but not a motive, she has since said she regrets.
“One reason I regret it is because I’m grown and I wouldn’t want to let that represent me, so that people wouldn’t judge me based on that,” she told BET. “But I have a good reason, it’s because the girl was being fake and she was talking crap about my sister, and I’m very defensive over my sister.”
She’s later made her mark on a number of other reality TV shows and competitions in the years since, including MTV’s The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars in 2018 and Hip Hop Squares in 2019.
She made her first major red carpet appearance at the 2018 Grammys
Hennessy often accompanies her sister to red carpet events and premieres, from award shows like the VMAs to galas like Rihanna’s Diamond Ball.
In January 2018, she made her official red carpet debut at the 2018 Grammys, where she showed support for her sister ahead of Cardi’s performance with Bruno Mars.
The lookalike sisters dressed to the nines for the glamorous night out, hitting the red carpet in coordinated white gowns and white roses in support of the #MeToo movement.
She’s a doting aunt to Cardi’s children
Hennessy Carolina Instagram
Hennessy is a proud aunt to Kulture and Wave, Cardi’s daughter and son, whom she welcomed in 2018 and 2021 respectively with husband Offset.
“I actually really now know what it really feels like to actually say a baby is a blessing…” Hennessy gushed in a tribute to Kulture in celebration of her first birthday.
“I love you like you was my own child,” she went on, adding, “I just want to protect you and be the coolest aunt in the world. Thanks for givin me something even more great to look foward too [sic]. I look foward [sic] to watching you grow, teaching you what you need to know, and making sure you have everything you could ever need.” She added that she planned to take her “everywhere your mommy and I couldn’t afford to go/do growing up.”
Celebrating Kulture’s third birthday in 2021, Hennessy opened up about the quality time they get to spend together. “I love spending quality time [with] her,” she wrote on Instagram alongside a slideshow of photos and videos of the pair. “I be hands on with my niece all the time usually my clothes, hair and makeup ends up getting messy with paint /slime or playing for hours by the end of the day I look a hot mess.”
She marked her nephew’s first birthday with a loving birthday tribute as well, sharing photos of herself holding and cuddling him at his birthday party.
She studied fashion design and has her own clothing line
“Growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer, which I’m still in school for,” Hennessy told BET, per Bustle.
“Like that’s what I want to be: a fashion designer,” she said, adding that she dreamed about dressing stars for the Met Gala. “I would dress everybody.”
Hennessy got one step closer to achieving that dream when she landed her first major fashion collaboration with Boohoo in 2018. “I love that I could partner with a brand that represents forward fashion, that stays on trend, and that’s super affordable,” she said of working with the brand, according to BET. “Working with Boohoo was amazing! I’m looking forward to seeing how the campaign comes out.”
Hennessy also noted that her mom, Clara, was always supportive of her sartorial choices. “My mom always cheered me on when she saw my outfits before I would head out everyday to school,” she told Galore.
She came out at 20 years old
Hennesey has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community since coming out to her family at age 20.
“My parents weren’t happy about it, but I needed them to understand my life and my love and happiness,” she told Galore. “So, I sat them down multiple times and gave them the talk till they finally listened and understood that there was nothing wrong with being a lesbian.”
She later opened up to Paper about navigating her sexuality at home and in the public eye, saying that her family eventually came around. “They actually started accepting us, and accepting my girlfriend. Sometimes everyone would be a little weird about it, but then they would just see like, ‘Oh my god, this is love,’ you know?” She went on, “But now I feel free and now I just try to spread the message as much as I possibly can. Love is love no matter what gender.”
Hennessy previously dated Michelle “Mel” Diaz, whom she often referred to as her “wife” on social media. (Cardi even referred to her as her “sister-in-law” in a since-deleted Instagram post as well.) She first went public with their relationship in August 2017, sharing a since-deleted photo of the couple.
In June 2018, Hennessy came out publicly as bisexual, sharing a sweet and since-deleted snap of herself and Mel kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
“If you can’t accept the B In LGBTQ.. (L)lesbian (G)ay (B)BISEXUAL (T)ransexual (Q)ueer, then please don’t speak up for the community if you can’t fully understand ALL of us!” she wrote at the time. “A bisexual girl expressing that she sometimes likes to kiss and hook up with girls especially when she gets a little loose when she drinks wine, Sounds human and normal to me! I don’t have a problem with that!!”
She’s a model
Hennessy made her catwalk debut in 2018 at the Philipp Plein show in Milan — with no practice! “No rehearsal and … i was nervous sweating my heels off i had to grip them tight with my toes but i loved it,” she said on Instagram, sharing a video of herself on the runway.
Cardi got emotional watching her sister strut her stuff, expressing her support on Instagram: “I could cry 😥I’m so proud of @hennessycarolina !!” she wrote, calling her sister, “Soo swaggy ,talented and pretty .She is my rock and i can’t believe she evolving in to this beautiful woman !In my eyes she still little Hennessy !”
The following year, Hennessy landed her first editorial campaign with Moschino, becoming the face of their “Good Luck Trolls” campaign. “I’m so proud of this moment!” she wrote on Instagram alongside a video of her face on the brand’s website.
She loves Hello Kitty
Hennessy Carolina Instagram
From nails to necklaces, Hennessy often shows off her love for the Japanese cartoon character.
“If you know me you know i always loved Hello kitty!💕” she once wrote on Instagram, explaining the reason for her affection for this particular rendition: “She has a beauty mark on her face like me 😍😍😍.”
Hennessy has displayed her appreciation for Hello Kitty on a number of occasions, with the Sanrio character topping two of her birthday cakes — one in 2018, which was a gift from her then-girlfriend Mel, and another again in 2021.
She’s also flaunted intricate Hello Kitty-themed nails, calling them “so me,” and often wears a blinged-out chain necklace featuring her as well.