Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks is no stranger to hard work. Aside from being our favorite Atlanta housewife, this mom-to-be for the second time manages a law firm, a successful funeral business and a bootylicious workout tape called Phine Body. Not too shabby for a woman that does all of this while being filmed for one of our many guilty pleasure shows to watch.
We had the chance to chat with the southern belle and find out about her life when the cameras are off and the drama is on low. She's a determined business woman with tons to juggle but does it flawlessly and is sharing some of her secrets with us before her book comes out. So as Mrs. Parks would say, grab you a cup of sweet tea and have a seat as we get an inside scoop on her life outside of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Interview by Tannis Spencer (LaVisionary)
What’s it been like to be on the show and how has your life changed since the success of the show?
I think the show has always been a guilty pleasure for many of the viewers. Since I’ve been on it—we’ve definitely seen a huge surge in viewers so anytime you’re a part of a successful anything it’s always very rewarding, because you’re obviously a part of something that people like. I think whether it be a show, a successful company, a member of a successful group, or alumni of a school, anytime, it makes you proud. I feel very proud of some of the accomplishments of this show. Obviously being from the south and a native Georgia Peach, I think the southern culture is definitely one that is unique. Our show is predominantly a minority cast and I think it’s always interesting for people to see diversity at its best. We have a very diverse group of woman and we’re constantly trying to do better and have more success by creating situations that are entertaining.
Like I say on the show, “Google me,” my history definitely surpasses the show and it will never be contingent upon being a member of this cast.
It’s clear that you are a career woman, do you ever find that some of the drama on the show affects your business ventures outside of the show? Mainly your law firm?
No, I’ve been a lawyer for 14 years and I’ve only been a housewife for three so I was well established and very notable in the community prior to ever being on this show. I have been the president of the minority bar and a distinguished young attorney for the whole state of Georgia, so I had numerous accolades as a lawyer prior to entering the show. The show definitely did not create what was already in existence. Like I say on the show, “Google me,” my history definitely surpasses the show and it will never be contingent upon being a member of this cast.
On the show we see you going into the funeral business, how’s that going?
It’s going great, I’m a licensed apprentice now. I’m in school full time and I’m almost halfway finished with my bachelors in mortician science so I’m excited about that and I’ve been working with Willie very successfully. Now it’s been about three years and I have expanded the venture to include pets as well so I think that’s the new frontier. In our present culture we have a lot of dual income households so people have become attached to their pets just like they are their children. You can just see it from the number of doggy daycares and doggy spas, so I just want to help people celebrate the life of anything they loved in a very respectful manner so being a mortician definitely helps you do that. But I think it’s a ministry, you really touch people and help people at a time when they need you most.
It’s very intriguing to me to recreate something and restore it to what it was prior to its expiration. And that’s essentially what we do as morticians and embalmers. We make people, hopefully, look just like they did prior to death and it’s an art.
What is the most interesting part of the funeral business?
I love every aspect of it. Now I’m really learning a lot of the technical things that I didn’t know previously when I was just dabbling in it for years, now I’m in school so I get to learn. I know every vessel, I know every part of the body, I know muscle of the face. It’s very intriguing to me to recreate something and restore it to what it was prior to its expiration. And that’s essentially what we do as morticians and embalmers. We make people, hopefully, look just like they did prior to death and it’s an art. I really enjoy the artistic aspect of being able to look at a picture and making someone look just as they did prior to passing.
A lot of fields are dominated by men and of course the funeral business is no different, it’s saturated with men so you don’t see a lot of women in it. You see these men recreating woman and I don’t think men can do a women’s makeup or know what a woman looks like without ever truly being a woman. I’ve got great guys that I work with—sometimes they ask me “Would a woman wear this color pantyhose?” or “What eye shadow is the best eye shadow for this skintone?” So you really get to do things that really enhance that person and hopefully make their family feel that they’re getting that last viewing of that person in the proper light.
Kandi recently posted on Instagram that you are hosting a contest called PhineBody, what's that about?
It’s just a contest for people who have obviously bought the video. You submit three pictures and it puts you in a drawing to have a workout session and lunch with me and my husband. It started Mar. 1 and it ends Apr. 1. We’re really excited about it because we hear so many inspirational stories about people who are doing the workout and they love it. And of course our schedules don’t always permit for us to see everyone but we want people to have the opportunity to work out with us, we want people to have the opportunity to meet with us and have lunch, just hear the stories in person.
The book is really about getting what you want and maintaining your dignity and respect while doing it. The secrets are things that most women should probably know but not every woman had the pleasure of growing up in the south so they might not have gotten that training or insight.
We recently heard that you and Apollo are expecting your second child. Congratulations! Can we expect that to be incorporated on the show at all?
Thank you. Yeah the show would love to capture the birth because everyone loves a good wedding and a birth, you know that. Hopefully the cameras are back up when the baby is born, but who knows, it just depends on when we start back up. We’re on hiatus right now, we haven’t taped the reunion yet but that will be taped very soon. Usually we have a few weeks off and then we go back into production so it’s really just a matter of timing.
You have a book coming out called Secrets of the Southern Belle, what kind of secrets can we expect to be revealed in the book?
The book is really about getting what you want and maintaining your dignity and respect while doing it. The secrets are things that most women should probably know but not every woman had the pleasure of growing up in the south so they might not have gotten that training or insight from their parents, guardians, colleagues, or friends.
It gives advice on how to say something the right way without offending anyone—maybe it’s a little nice/nasty but you convey it in a manner that you can still be friends at the end of the day. It’s a book of stories and things that I’ve learned that have definitely enhanced my life over the years. And I thought following this season this is something woman should know because obviously on our show not everyone has been brought up to know what not to say and do in certain situations.
I’m really excited about that because it’s really safe and I think for woman like me that work late or are at the mall late, who like to jog at night and you want to be safe but you really don’t feel comfortable carrying a .9 millimeter in your undies, you can strap this right on your arm and jog.
Would you say the show is an accurate depiction of your real life and the women on the show?
What you have to realize is that it is television. Television is a medium for entertainment, it’s not a documentary, it’s for entertainment and I think you are definitely entertained. It’s an ensemble cast so you’ve got six or seven of us and you’re seeing a limited amount of our time. The show breaks everything down into 10 or 15 minute segments so of course it can’t catch every facet of a persons personality but it is what it is. It’s not meant to be a documentary, it’s meant for entertainment.
With the success of the show, the funeral home, the workout video, and your law firm, what can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve got my stun gun line that is completed and it’ll be available for purchase in the next ten days or so. It’s a wonderful product for whoever wants it, it’s a great safety device, it acts as a flashlight but it’s obviously a .7 million volts of wonderful electric fun for those who might need a little shock therapy. So that will be released soon and it’s called Phaedra Sparks. I’m really excited about that because it’s really safe and I think for woman like me that work late or are at the mall late, who like to jog at night and you want to be safe but you really don’t feel comfortable carrying a .9 millimeter in your undies, you can strap this right on your arm and jog. It’s pink, it’s cute, not too big and just zap someone if they need it.
I think Los Angeles is like Georgia on steroids with double the botox.
Do you want to continue to live in Georgia or would you move one day?
I love California and I love Los Angeles so if I ever left Georgia it would definitely be for Los Angeles. I think Los Angeles is like Georgia on steroids with double the botox. I like the ability to drive because I’m used to people having cars and I like that it’s clean and has lots of trees. And the people out there seem to have a good personality like southern folk, and they’re not in a rush like people in New York. I don’t like to walk fast and catch taxis.
I love New York in the summer—I don’t like extremely cold weather but in the summer New York is the absolute best. But boy, everybody moves so fast there. I enjoy being able to smell the roses and just chat with people and they not look at you like you’re crazy. Not everybody part of the world is receptive to that. I think once you get in that mode of moving fast and not looking people in the eye, it becomes a routine and here that is what we do. Have some sweet tea, sit down and talk—just enjoy life.
What song do you have on repeat right now?
I love Kandi’s “Stay Prayed Up.” She just recently released that and so I’ve been listening to that quite a bit. You know Kandi is one of my BFF’s and I just think she’s so talented, so that’s one of the songs that I love. The words are so poignant, it’s stuck in my head.
If you had to choose, whose album would you buy, Kenya’s or Kim?
To be honest I haven’t heard Kenya’s song, I’ve only heard a snippet of it. But I’ve heard Kim’s song all my life—well the past three years numerous times so I’m more familiar with her music and the genre that she’s catering to so it would probably be Kim. Kim’s is wonderful because Kandi is such a great producer and songwriter, she’s done such a brilliant job in the studio making the music magical.