Season 11 of Real Housewives of Atlanta is just around the corner, and the new Mrs. Sterling is ready for her close-up. The runway diva and mother of two chats with EBONY about her first season as a full-time cast member and marrying the man of dreams, and shares a bit of new mommy advice she’s given to co-star Porsha Williams.
Congratulations on the wedding to Michael Sterling! How has married life been treating you?
Married life has been incredible! I wish I [had known] it would be this great; I would’ve done it sooner!
The wedding looked absolutely incredible.
Thank you so much. My planner, Eliana Baucicault, deserves the credit. It was such a perfect day for our family.
We saw your Real Housewives of Atlanta castmates in attendance to support you on your big day. Did any of your old castmates from America’s Next Top Model reach out to wish you well?
Yes. You know, social media has this way of keeping us connected. You really feel like you know the intimate details of people’s lives because of your relationship with them through social media. I actually speak to Yaya [DaCosta] all the time online, and I’m so proud of her! She’s gorgeous and flourishing, and we’ve always loved and respected one another.
I haven’t heard from Tyra [Banks] for no other reason than we’re both incredibly busy, and Jay Manuel actually provided a lot of the makeup for my wedding.
What made you decide to allow the BRAVO cameras in for your wedding?
Being a part of the show last season, I realized that the most successful, relatable housewives are the ones who are truly transparent; the ones who are unapologetically themselves and share that with their fans. It would be kind of strange for me to allow the cameras into my home and to document my life so closely, then ban them from such a huge moment. Also, I know the fans have been following, and I wanted to share that moment with them.
Congrats on baby Michael. How is Marley Rae enjoying being a big sister?
She loves it! After six months, she finally realizes he’s not a toy [laughs]. I think because he slobbers all over her now, and she’s like, ‘Oh, he’s a real little person.’ She wakes up early in the morning and gets an hour of play in with him before we even get the day started. She truly loves being big sis.
Your husband is a very respected voice and figure in Atlanta. Did you guys have any concerns about joining a reality show, considering his political background and aspirations?
To be honest, no. I think in today’s political climate, people want to know that their politicians are real people. Michael’s reputation precedes him; he’s very well respected, but he’s also just a regular guy in a lot of ways. He knows I would never embarrass him, on or off camera, and he’s comfortable enough with himself to share our journey.
How did your first season as a friend of the show compare to your first as a full-time cast member?
You want me to be real with you? The biggest difference is that I was secretly pregnant during my first season and couldn’t drink a thing! Fans of the show know there’s always a party to go to, there’s always something to celebrate, there’s always a reason to toast somebody. Even just having a chill night in, someone is going to break out the wine, and I had to just sit there, lookin’ all sad [laughs]. This time around, I’m able to have just as much fun—responsibly, of course!
You weren’t the only one to join the show full time for Season 11. How was it getting to know Shamari DeVoe and Tanya Smith?
Tanya is a friend to the show, and it was really great having a Black woman from the tech space on the series with us. Most of us have entertainment backgrounds—modeling, singing, radio—and it was refreshing to have this intelligent woman of color represent for a field that’s so different from what we do.
Shamari is pretty much every girl’s first cousin or best friend, just a down-to-earth, ’round the way girl. She’s a ride-or-die friend who will stand by your side, right or wrong. She’s also very transparent. Her life hasn’t been sugary sweet, she’s been through a lot and she has no problem sharing her story, which I really admire. She also has twins who aren’t much older than baby Michael, so we’ve definitely bonded over motherhood.
Speaking of which, last season, you were pregnant on the show but kept quiet while filming. This time around, Porsha is the one with the baby bump. Have you given her any pregnancy or new-mommy advice?
She actually asked me recently about heading back to work after having the baby. I told her, as much as it seems like you’ll want to be on maternity leave forever, about three weeks into it, you’re going to be ready to pound the pavement again.
I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest on her radio show, Dish Nation, and I can tell you, she truly loves her job. She loves to work, so I have no doubt she’ll take all the time she needs, then get back to the grind. She’s so open to suggestions and advice, and she always asks about how I handled my pregnancy. I’m always glad to help!
Outside of the show, what are you working on?
I’m very excited about my new home decor line. It’s so interesting and fun for me to look back at my life and to see how much I’ve grown as a woman over the years. I feel like this is the next step for me as a wife, mom and businesswoman. There’s nothing like living in a comfortable, beautiful space, and we have comforter sets, blankets, quilts, pillows and a lot more beautiful items that are affordable, high-quality and gorgeous.
The Eva Marcille Home Collection will be available in spring 2019.
Season 11 of Real Housewives of Atlanta premieres Sunday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo. Check out a trailer for the new season below.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.