In her short time on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Marlo Hampton has made quite the impression on her cast mates and the show’s fans. According to the socialite, her time on the show ends soon after they return from the epic Africa trip. But, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a lot more to say.
While the source of her wealth is in constant debate on the show, there’s much to look up to Marlo for. She was a foster child who we all know had some tough times with the law – including a rap sheet with at least eight charges. But now, she has made herself a comfortable life, become a well-known figure in Atlanta, and founded Glam It Up, her organization that mentors girls growing up in the foster care system.
“The main part is that I invested my money,” Hampton tells The Hollywood Reporter about her money. “I wasn’t crazy, I didn’t have to spend on everything. My home is paid for, my vehicles are paid for… I came from nothing to where I never want to go back to being a foster child, being homeless, or being in the projects, and just struggling, and not knowing where my next meal was going to come from. I don’t want to go back to that.”
At any rate, she caused quite a stir on the Bravo show with the housewives and spoke to THR about what went down including her on-air fights, her money, and her controversial use of a gay slur during her argument with Sheree Whitfield.
I’m impressed by the fact that you and Nene Leakes dated the same guy, but you guys get along and got over it. How did you do that?
Marlo Hampton: I really didn’t care from when I first heard about it, them dating or whatever. I didn’t know him then. Why the hell do I care who he dated before me or talked to before me? I didn’t know Nene, I didn’t know him. So, the only thing I did want to know though, like “Hey, if I am going to be working with or around her, I want to know what happened, is it over with?” And once it was all confirmed it was like “OK, move over, get over it.” And when she cleared the air, he cleared the air, it was done. But the girls wanted it to be something major.
How would you characterize the experience of the Africa trip?
Hampton: Oh my God, that was just a life experience. I just loved that experience, it changed my life. It was wonderful, the bad part definitely being Sheree’s argument, I hate that that happened. But then the orphanage and the children, I loved that part, it touched me like no other. It reminded me of my dad, which you don’t know, well you should know. I grew up in a foster home also, so just being in there just kind of reminded me of my childhood and it was just really sad. I wish I could’ve grabbed them and brought them back here to the U.S. with me.
What was the real cause of your fight with Sheree?
Hampton: I would not have cared about her inviting me to the party, because I know that Sheree doesn’t really care for me too much, whatever. But, after we sat on the boat and we’re all like “Hey, we’re going to bond, at least when we see each other we’re going to speak, we’re going to be cordial,” I’m like, OK, we’re starting off on a new foot, we’re connecting. So as soon as we get back to the room, you call Cynthia over and invite Cynthia and not me, really? Sheree, seriously? Where we just left 30 minutes ago saying “Oh, we’re going to try to get along,” so that really just shocked me. And then we started the argument, I guess the part that blew me was when she was like, “Oh don’t go there, you’re dating an 80-year-old white man.” I just lost it.
The source of your money was an ongoing drama among the women. Why do you think Kandi Burruss is so interested in where you got your money?
Hampton: I don’t even know, to tell you the truth, it took me by surprise. Like, say if I meet someone, I’m assuming I’m going to say, “What do you do for a living?,” not “Where do you get your money from?” So, it took me by surprise. Like, I don’t get it, I don’t get it. That one puzzled me, I want to ask her too, why was she so concerned about that?
You still don’t know why?
Hampton: Oh I just got it. It’s jealousy and envy, that’s what it was. I mean, it’s got to be jealousy and envy, something, Lord — women with low self-esteem only. The gay men love me, men love me, and strong-minded women love me, who have high self-esteem. Only the low self-esteem women have a problem with me, and it’s like, “Why? What is your problem?” Just because I love fashion, my story is different from yours, my occupation is different from yours, what is the problem?
So, where did you get you your money?
Hampton: I mean, from work, and I did own and found the Red Carpet Boutique at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta for three years, which I just closed when I started taping with Bravo. And people always ask about my clothing, they love my advice, my style, and it made more sense to go global, so I did the Simply Marlo, Marlo’s Closet online, and I invested my money. I mean, I did have a boutique for three years, and of course, I have been spoiled by my boyfriends. The main part is that I invested my money.
You mentioned gay men tend to be cool with you. How did you explain your use of the gay slur during the fight with Sheree?
Hampton: I feel absolutely awful. When I said the “f-word,” this wasn’t on camera, but I was crying, I was so pissed off and frustrated. I called home to Daniel, my assistant who’s gay. I just told him about the whole thing about Sheree, I mean, I just felt awful, I mean, I was upset like that whole night. Daniel’s gay, my sister’s gay, you know, my whole circle is. It’s like, wow, but the only thing about it, when I talked to Lawrence about it, he told me a “faggot” was a gay messy male. And I did know that guy was being messy, but he’s like “Marlo, you cannot say that, though, you’re not gay. It’s like a man calling you the B-word.”
So, I mean, when it really, really hit me also is when I saw Twitter and the people going off at me. Some people were like, “How can you dare do this? What I went through…” It just touched me, like it really messed me up, seriously. I’m like, “Wow, keep your big mouth closed and think before you speak Marlo.” But it really did hurt me, and I did apologize, my friends love me and they know I was just talking, and I’m just trying to build that relationship back with the gay community, because, I mean that was awful, I really feel bad about that.
And earlier in the season, did you mean to make a jab at Kim Zolciak by referring to your “Big Poppa”?
Hampton: No, I wasn’t trying to give a jab to her, because Kim, when I originally met Kim, she was so nice and sweet and talking to me, but I wasn’t trying to pull a jab. It came off like one though, but I really wasn’t. I said I had a Big Poppa. But no, I wasn’t trying to give a jab at her at all. I feel like, it wasn’t even about you Kim. And she has a past herself, and her comments about me have been inappropriate, but it is what it is. But it wasn’t targeted towards her. But her comments about me are inappropriate, that’s what’s crazy.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro