She’s best known as the sassy and self-assured fashion maverick on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta and the woman we loved (or hated) on I Dream of NeNe. That’s right! The one and only, Ms. Marlo Hampton gave an exclusive interview to TheHotZone. She talked about her amazing fashion sense, giving back to the less fortunate, her thoughts on the new castmates on the Real Housewives of Atlanta, and her return to television!
CN: You are one of the hottest fashionistas in Atlanta! What or who is your style inspiration?
MH: My style inspiration I have to say has been embedded in me as a little girl from my mother. As a little girl we had to dress at Good Will. We were always the best dressed little girls with barrettes, ruffled socks, and ruffled dresses. As I got older it was embedded in me. Even in high school I would be the girl who was always into fashion.
CN: Your fans love your style. Have you ever considered opening a boutique in Atlanta or New York City?
MH: I’ve owned a boutique in Atlanta for 5 years. It’s called The Red Carpet and my fans love it. I am thinking about doing even more with fashion because, you’re right, I can post anything but when I post an outfit my fans go crazy! So I definitely am going to work on something this year with fashion.
CN: You formed the Glam It UP organization. Can you tell us more about Glam It Up and what inspired you to create the organization?
MH: What inspired me to create Glam It Up was pretty simple. Growing up, I was a foster child so I knew what it felt like not to have hugs and kisses. I knew what it felt like not to have a key to the house or be able to eat what you want. Not being able to go to different places where other kids went. So I always said to myself growing up, “when I get older I have to do something to giveback”. So really that was just as easy as breathing. How can I not help foster kids? I aged out of foster care at 18. I was in foster care from 10 to 18 years old. So that is something I will always do. Without my platform, without TV, that’s just something that’s dear to my heart. To help people and let them know the world is theirs. Their current situation doesn’t define who they are and doesn’t interfere with life’s benefits.
CN: You are also the founder of Simply Giving. Tell us about the organization and how it helps so many families who are less fortunate:
MH: Absolutely. Simply Giving piggy back’s off Glam It Up. The less fortunate are able to have a meal every year, on Thanksgiving and Christmas. One year I said to myself “I want to feed some families. I want to help out. I need to buy more and give to these families. Give them my heart. Let them know they’re special”. So one day, I called Publix and they worked out a deal with me. We had a great turn out and I just want it to get bigger every year.
CN: We truly miss seeing you on TV. What are your thoughts on the new cast members on the Real Housewives of Atlanta,and the direction the show has taken since the last time you were on the show?
MH: The fashion is not up to par of course (laughs) but I like Porsha Stewart’s fashion. I think the girls are awesome. I love Kenya Moore. Claudia Jordan is awesome. I met her and we hit it off instantly. I’m not going to knock it. I love RHOA. It gave me a great platform. I definitely still do not like Nene Leakes. We’re not friends. I wish her nothing but the best but some things you just have to let go.
CN: Is there any possibility you will rejoin the cast in the future or are you done with that chapter?
MH: It’s definitely a possibility. I never say never but regardless, you will definitely see me back on TV soon.
CN: A lot of times people judge reality stars based on what they see on TV or read on the blogs. What is your response to those who make negative comments and judge you based on what they see on TV?
MH: People don’t realize with reality TV, it doesn’t always show you in the best light. Reality TV is real but it’s edited. We’re letting people come into our lives. If I’m in Beverly Hills and I look at three different homes, at least one of those homes can relate to my reality, but do they want to share it with the world? That’s why we have billions of viewers. Each person can relate to one of the cast members reality. At the end of the day when you talk about it and say “oh it makes her look this kind of way, it’s so negative” it doesn’t matter. It’s still reality. I feel it helps out each individual in some type of way. When Cynthia came on with her story, believe me, many women have been through the same thing. I’m sure Cynthia inspired them from that. There are a lot of women who don’t speak their mind. I’m sure when they watched me on the show many women said “hey I want to have the courage to start speaking my mind more like her”. So I feel it’s more good than bad.
CN: There’s a stigma on African American reality shows. What are your thoughts on those people who feel negatively toward African American based reality TV shows?
MH: I feel, at the end of the day, we’re not the first lady of the church. It’s a job. It’s a legal job. It may not be for you but it works great for me and for others. We have to take that platform and do what we have to do. There are other jobs out here that are not reality TV that are not black, and a lot of illegal things going on off and on reality TV. What I do believe is that the fighting should be a no-no. You shouldn’t put your hands on each other but besides that it’s reality. What happens in a household, is it always the most positive? No. But it’s real life and that’s why it’s the number 1 rated show.
CN: Have you considered starring in your own reality show? I’m sure your fans would love it!
MH: I’m sure you’re going to see me back on TV. Right now I’m in LA. I’m headed to do an interview with BET for Lift Every Voice with Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins. I’ve been out here working on some great things and I can’t wait to share it with you guys.
CN: You have a very fit physique. I have seen the videos of your workout routines on social media and it is definitely inspiring. Have you considered coming out with your own fitness workout video?
MH: You know what, I haven’t but you just put that in my mind. That’s something I have to think about especially since I gained weight from the holidays (laughs).
CN: During this time of year many of us are trying to keep our New Year resolutions. Most resolutions are staying in shape, diets, etc. What is your advice to sticking to those resolutions and staying fit?
MH: I look in the mirror and I’m like “Okay. Get focused again”. I’m really big on working out and trying to eat right but around the holidays, I’m sure everyone pigs out. So you just have to eat right. It’s really a part of health. I say to myself “I’m not going to eat after 8 o’ clock and no fried foods”. Or I may have one fried food only once a week. Set your goals for where you want to get with your body and you have to workout! You at least have to do cardio 3 days a week minimum. Or just walk around the neighborhood to burn carbs.
CN: What can we expect from Marlo Hampton in the near future?
MH: You can expect a book coming out. Definitely fashion projects and a return to television. Most importantly you can always expect me living in my truth and being honest and real with you.
To stay updated on Marlo Hampton’s fashion, fitness, and her return to TV follow her on Facebook (Marlo Hampton), Twitter @iheartMarlo, and Instagram @marlohampton. Also, check out her website www.simplymarlo.com!