It’s been exactly 10 years since we’ve seen Melyssa Ford in a music video. She knew then that it’d be the last time she’d step on a soundstage—playing love interest to Usher in his 2004 video, “Yeah!”—and even that casting was purely by accident. She had no idea what the future would hold. The only thing the former video vixen was acutely aware of was that she was no longer interested in being the It Girl music video model.
That life was over.
So what’s she been up to? Her career has taken a sharp left, as she now works in real estate in New York City. And we’ll get a glimpse of her life as it exists now via Bravo’s latest reality show, Blood, Sweat and Heels.
She says she’s never been a fan of fame—only success—and is happy to settle into this new life working in the world of real estate and navigating the world of reality TV (the latter which coincidentally could give her even greater fame than she’s ever had).
EBONY: Looks like you’re experiencing quite the transition.
Melyssa Ford: It seems like there might be a little bit of loss in translation as to when I actually stopped doing music videos. My last video was January 2004. I had a great time on set. I actually wasn’t even supposed to be the model chosen for the video. I just went down to set just to say hi to my homies.
Little X was the video director, and he was kind of responsible for kind of starting my career. Then it kind of became, “Well, Luda wants you to be his girl in the video. No, wait. Hold on a second. Usher wants you to be his girl in the video.” “Okay. Whatever. Am I getting a paycheck? Great.”
Since then, I've enjoyed success within the realm of acting, hosting for BET, Stars in Black, ESPN, and having my own radio show with Sirius. So I’ve done a lot of stuff in the interim, but right now is where I can honestly say I feel like my life is really starting. If I could have been this wise and this in tune with who I am at the age of 25, God, I would have loved that! But here I am enjoying the wisdom of past choices, triumphs and tragedies, and parlaying that into a successful career in real estate and seemingly so a Bravo reality celebrity!
EBONY: Real estate is such a departure from music videos, acting, hosting and the like. What gives?
MF: I just thought that real estate was a good choice for me. I’m very diplomatic because I’ve had to deal with so many different personalities throughout my years in the entertainment industry. I’m obviously very personable. I know how to identify what people seem to want. I just thought that would really kind of assist me in a new career in real estate. Plus, this is New York City. In my first year, I’ve transacted more than two million dollars in real estate.
EBONY: So you’re doing well in this new avenue, then?
MF: Yeah. That’s going to come out as it needs to, but it’s been very rewarding. It’s been very hard. I have definitely had the typical rookie year New York City real estate agent would go through. I’ve asked for no special favors. I’ve done the work, and I’ve had some very good mentors and co-workers that have assisted me through the process. But real estate seemed to make sense. It was just lining up with what I already knew, the attributes that I already had.
EBONY: I’m sure this wasn’t the first time a reality show approached you. Why was Blood, Sweat and Heels right for you at this particular time?
MF: I’ve been approached many times. It was a bunch of different concepts [that] just didn’t fit right. I always knew that if I was ever to do a reality show, it would have to mirror who I believed I was. I am a single, successful woman, who does not rest on her laurels or her good looks, who works really hard, is not afraid to get dirt underneath her fingernails, and none of her success is attributed to any handout that any man has given her. I need to be positioned alongside females whose road and the path that they’ve traveled is very similar.
When I go the call I was like, “Somebody is punking me, for real.” I already had my relationship with God, but that was when I truly understood that if you communicate specifically with the universe and tell it exactly what you want—you’ve got to be specific—it’s going to give you what you ask for. You’ve got to be careful that what you ask for is really what you want, because it delivers like a mofo!
EBONY: What was it that you got early on that gave you the insight or confidence to push through, and not just be happy being the video girl of everyone’s dreams?
MF: What I looked like was never impressed upon me in my home, never impressed upon me amongst my friends. So I took that with me into the world of doing music videos. I was like, “As long as I’m collecting a check, this is a business. At any given moment, I can be replaced by somebody who is just as good looking, if not better looking than me. So I’d better utilize whatever tools I’ve got to my best advantage. When I see the pathway for growth, I need to leverage what I've got now and use that to get to the next level.” I don’t a lot of the other girls looked at it the same way that I did.
Your ego kind of plays a role when you’re being admired for your attractiveness. You have to X your ego out of a lot of different situations. My ego could not exist when I went to real estate school because I’m amongst just regular everyday people. They’re looking at me in class like, “Aren’t you Melyssa Ford? What are you doing here?”
The whole fame thing really never impressed me. I could care less. I never really cared about the fame that came along with the success. It was merely just a by-product.
EBONY: What’s your reality now, Melyssa?
MF: My reality now is that I sell real estate. I’m actually in [board package] hell right now. I’m trying to purchase a co-op in New York City for a client, and it is a long, tedious and very arduous process! It’s rewarding at the end of the day, but I cannot say that I do not love what I do right now. So my reality every day is I go into my office. I absolutely keep myself up at night worried about my clients, about their closing dates, and just getting them situated into their new homes, their new reality.
Then just straddling the line of Melyssa the normal woman, the normal person, the real estate agent. And then Melyssa the entity, the personality, the Bravo reality star. It can be quite confusing at times, I won’t lie. But at the very end of the day, I am literally just… like my mind is boggled by the success that has landed in my lap and how blessed and happy I am. I am so incredibly appreciative of everything I’ve been blessed with.
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EBONY Entertainment Editor