It’s rare that we get to know the real person behind reality TV. Reality shows often give us a false perception of the truth and highlight negative situations for the sake of drama. Atlanta socialite and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star, Marlo Hampton, found herself in the midst of chaos after her appearance on the reality show last season. Not only was she labeled as a hot head after her infamous argument with Sheree Whitfield, her criminal past was also a huge topic on the show and in the blogs. Since then, she’s made it her mission to show the world a different side of her.
Many people don’t know that Marlo Hampton grew up in a foster home after running away from home at the age of 11 to get away from her abusive mother. Her experiences in a foster home is what led her to create the organization, Glam It Up, which is a program geared toward teenaged girls who currently live in foster homes. Through her organization, Marlo takes the teens to brunch, concerts, slumber parties, the beauty salon and more. Aside from Glam It Up, Marlo is also the creator of the Thanksgiving charity, Simply Giving, where she selects 20 families who are in need of food for Thanksgiving and takes them to the grocery store to pick out a full course meal for their family. When asked what is the most important lesson that she wanted her girls to take away from her program, Marlo said, “to love yourself because can’t nobody love you like you can!”
I recently had the opportunity to chat with the Atlanta diva about her past and promising future. Check out excerpts from out girl talk below:
IOE: Why do you think that most of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast members were so concerned about where you got your money from last season? Where did you get your money from? How did u get started as an entrepreneur?
Marlo: That’s interesting. That’s still a question to this day that I don’t understand: why would another woman be so concerned with where I get my money from? Like really? Where did you get your money from? Not what type of person you are and not what type of friendships you have? But before the “Housewives” I had The Red Carpet Boutique at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta for three years. I just saved my money. My home is paid for and my car is paid for. I saved my money and that’s what it is. I invested.
IOE: Would you consider yourself to be the most fashionable Atlanta housewife?
Marlo: Absolutely. Me and Nene Leaks would be the two most fashionable. Not being cocky but that’s my opinion of course.
IOE: You mentioned that you tend to have a fairly good friendship with gay men. How do you explain using a gay slur during your fight with Sheree last season and why did you feel that you needed to back track when they confronted you about it?
Marlo: I back tracked because Sheree wasn’t coming from a good place, she was coming to be nasty and I felt that wasn’t the time. I didn’t direct that toward Lawrence. He has been my hair stylist and friend since I came to Atlanta. I mean its Atlanta, I have a thousand people in my circle that are gay. I was just angry and my mouth got ahead of me. I was trying to say something to hurt and I said something that hurt a lot of people. I apologized. I hated that I said that, it was awful. As soon as I said it I ran to my room crying and I called my assistant Dave, who’s gay also, and I told him I felt so bad. I just apologized for it and I have a thousand gay friends and I know they know I was just talking. They have forgiven me and I’ve moved on from it. The negative people who don’t like me want to keep preying on it but I’m not worried about it. I’ve apologized for it. I know I truly didn’t mean it. But I need to definitely think before I speak next time.
IOE: Are u still dating Charles Grant? If not, are you single or dating someone new?
Marlo: I am absolutely not seeing Charles Grant any longer. I am single and ready to mingle and looking for love! Maybe I’ll move to New York and try and find love?! Atlanta is tough! It’s hard to find a man here.
IOE: Some of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast members said that you were a little too obsessed with labels and fashion. Do you think that you are too obsessed with fashion?
Marlo: I don’t feel that I’m too obsessed. Now do I love fashion? I do. I will love it and I will love it until I die. I express who I am through fashion. Some people love music, some love cars, I love fashion. It’s so crazy because it’s not just the labels, I wasn’t always able to afford labels. I just love fashion. I can go to Target and get a black dress and accessorize it and its still fashion. That’s one thing I can say that I got from my biological mom. I just want people to know it’s more to me than just fashion but you can’t fault me for that. It’s who I am and that’s something I will never deny. If I had a bad day, I will come home, pour me a glass of wine and play dress up by myself. That’s my thing. Fashion is my high.
IOE: Who is your favorite fashion designer?
Marlo: Chanel is my top favorite. What’s amazing is that I didn’t like Chanel at first. I thought it was for old ladies. One day I sat and read her story and I was just like oh my God! Since then it’s been my favorite. She was an orphan also. Her father dropped her off and was supposed to come back and never came back. When she started designing, she designed hats and nobody was wearing hats at the time. But she was headstrong and a rebel and look how successful she became. To me, I feel like my story is like hers. I’m different. I’m considered the black sheep. I don’t believe in following what everybody is doing. I believe in doing what makes Marlo happy. I can’t live for you, I have to live for me. She did her thing on her own and she made it.
IOE: How many pairs of Christian Louboutin shoes do you actually own?
Marlo: Oh my God. I have no idea but I do have a lot. Jimmy Choo is starting to be one of my favorites now because like everybody has red bottoms now.
IOE: Is there anything else about Marlo Hampton that we don’t know that you want the world to know?
Marlo: If you want to know anything else about me, you can follow me on Twitter @iHeartMarlo and go to my website SimplyMarlo.com and check out my blog, Musings From The Boudoir. There is more to Marlo than what you saw on “Real Housewives of Atlanta”. There is a lot more to Marlo than the clothes and just telling people off. I love people and I’m okay with who I am. I accept my past, I’m not ashamed of it. I’m human and humans make mistakes. I knew that everything was going to be revealed once I did the show, it is what it is. I’m not afraid of my past. I’ve made mistakes. You live in learn. I’m a work in progress, we are all a work in progress.
To read more about Marlo’s Glam It Up organization and Simply Giving charity, click here.