Black Enterprise Q&A: Demetria Lucas Talks Branding & Boss Moves
Bravo’s newest reality show “Blood, Sweat and Heels” had an explosive 2.5 million viewer debut, and seems to be the fans newest reality “fix.” The show follows six up-and-coming black women as they struggle to succeed in the concrete jungle of New York City. Demetria, already becoming a fan favorite, is much more than your typical reality television star — she is about her business. Not only has she taken her blog A Belle in Brooklyn to national heights after writing a controversial blog which was the continued topic of conversation on the show, her brand(s) can also be seen integrated throughout the show on each episode.
Already apparent from the first few episodes, Demetria has set her sights on building her multi-platform brand, and advancing her career to her next level. Somewhat of an industry veteran, the former Essence relationship editor is also a criticically acclaimed author, life coach and award-winning blogger.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Lucas as she discusses the challenges of exposing her life on reality television, her latest project “Don’t Waste Your Pretty,” and expanding her brand.
Black Enterprise: As somewhat of an industry veteran, what made you decide to do the show?
Demetria Lucas: I’ve been approached about doing some form of reality show before Bravo. What led me to it was the focus on professional women working in the city and on professional life. Over the years I have blogged and shared tons of life story as well as about my business. My book [A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life] is very all in. I thought this was an opportunity to share life in video and for people to see it and not picture in their minds. It was also a chance to show my professional career.
Do you think being on a reality show, especially because of some of the negative criticism that reality shows now receive, will tarnish your brand in any way?
Doing a reality show is always big risk, and I realized this especially on the day after the super trailer was released. I was and have always been very candid about my perception of reality TV. I didn’t see women like me in media. I’ve talked about images of women on reality TV for years. When I was approached, producers knew my critique of reality television, and I thought it was opportunity to show a different side. However, I can’t speak for other castmates and can’t speak for what everyone does on the season.
After months of filming, was the show what you thought she you getting herself into?
No. You don’t’ know what it is until you’re actually in it—the idea of cameras being trained on you all the time. What you’re doing is being aired to millions of people with millions of different opinions. I was very cautious. I found myself thinking a lot and having delayed reactions because you want to be yourself but also be conscious of how you’re acting on television.
How shocking was it for you to hear that other black women of color don’t believe that women should serve in leadership roles?
I would have never thought in a million years a woman would say that. If you’re in a certain environment with women who struggle to get things out [of] life, then you would think ‘I understand where this is coming from. ‘ Then I would say, “OK, I get that.” To my knowledge everyone on the show has a business or a brand. I was shocked that an actual woman would say that they don’t believe a woman would lead. At first I was like are they doing this for the cameras. I was really sitting there in shock like OMG.
Do you believe the stereotype that black women don’t support each other to get ahead in their careers?
People constantly talk about black women are not supportive of each other. I’ve been to the panels and discussions. I hear it, but that’s never been my experience. My first job was at BET and they were the ones that pushed me to say you can do something with your writing. Most people know me from ESSENCE and was an office filled with black women. When Angela Burt Murray was Editor-In-Chief, she was the one that said, “I read your blog I think it’s so good, I think you should have a column.” She really pushed me and believed in me. I feel that about the rest of the office. I’ve never had that experience. I don’t know if I’m very rare or I just don’t promote that stereoptype.
You’re notoriously private about her relationship with “CBW” as you call him. Why did you decide to include him on this very public TV show?
That’s more his thing then it is mine. He’s a behind the scenes type of guy. We talked about showing my life and he’s a huge part of my life. We thought it would be odd to not show him. I’ve [written a blog] for 6 years, I had a column [about my life] in a magazine. I give bits and pieces [of my story], I give enough. If you’re expecting big blows up and fights [between us] that’s not how we get down in the real world.
What’s next for you and your brand?
The next book – “Don’t Waste Your Pretty”- is a hard core advice book based on the Formspring I’ve done over as the past 3 years. I’ll be delving more into [advice]. The book is the nitty gritty version of the advice I give online, not as much narrative as my previous book “A Belle In Brooklyn.” I’ll also launching 15 city speaking tour from March to December in US and South Africa called “Conversations With Belle.”
Originally published here