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Friday, September 17, 2010

Stacie Was Hesitant About Joining The RHODC

Interview from Hope Today magazine.

More Than Just a Housewife Real Housewives of DC: Interview with Stacie Turner
By Tori Griffin

Photo:Stacie Turner
Catfights, shout matches, gossip, slander, and a maxed out credit limit are just a few thoughts that come to mind when one thinks of a housewife. Well, that is if she’s on Bravo. But there’s a new housewife in DC, with class, poise, a career, a perfect family, and the perfect reputation to match. As the only Black woman on the Real Housewives of DC, Stacie Turner holds it down, keeps it real, and keeps the catfights to a minimum, as she juggles her marriage, motherhood, a career, a foundation, and begins the search to find out who she really is. In this candid interview, we see why Stacie Turner is living the Extra-Ordinary Life!

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: You have a BA from Howard, a Harvard MBA, you’re a successful realtor, you’ve started a foundation; what on earth are you doing on the Real Housewives of DC? What prompted you to be on the show?
Stacie Turner: Like everyone I was very hesitant at first. I received a phone call from producers while on vacation with my family. I initially said no, but they were persistent. After having conversations with them, they said they wanted to do “DC” differently by showing real life experiences and showing women in a positive light. I thought it would bring visibility to my business and to my charity, so I decided to take a chance and take the plunge.
HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: You’re nothing like your Atlanta Housewives counterparts (in terms of the drama that is normally associated with the Housewives franchise)…Were you anxious about being labeled different or less interesting aka boring?
Stacie Turner: I was surprised that Bravo would even have a character like me. Because I was going to stay true myself and true to my life. And there were a lot of things that I’ve seen on other episodes that are not things that I would do. But I think they’re really trying to celebrate the diversity of women and the different lifestyles that are here. So once I saw who the other characters were and how different we were; yet had the same experiences, I thought that would be interesting. Lots of times you don’t have to flip the table to be dramatic. There’s drama in conversations, there’s drama in a purchase, so I was real pleased the producers were open to a different type of drama.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: On paper you’re a great role model for black women. How important is it for you to portray that positive image on the show?
Stacie Turner: That was so important to me. I have a daughter, so at the end of the day I want to conduct myself in a way where my daughter would still be proud to call me her mama. So there were boundaries that were set. I also run a charitable organization that is geared towards young women and teenagers in the city, so it was important that I represent myself in a way that is real and positive.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: You were adopted by a loving family. Your adoptive parents were black. We don’t often hear about black couples adopting children. Tell us about that experience and how that shaped you.
Stacie Turner: I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones who was adopted as a baby because a lot of the women that I serve in my charity are teenagers and have never been adopted by a family. I believe that women who give their children up for adoption are angels. It’s such a selfless thing to do and it brings so much joy to a family that may not be able to have children. I always knew I was adopted, in fact my parents told me I was more special than the other kids because they chose me. They provided a wonderful life for me. They gave me an education and support. I don’t even think of them as my adoptive parents because they raised me. And the people that raise you are your parents.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: You have a foundation, the Extra-Ordinary Life. Tell us about that, what motivated you to start it, and how readers can get involved.
Stacie Turner: My organization is targeted to teen girls in DC who are living in foster care. These are all girls who either don’t not have a permanent home or who don’t have a permanent family. When I think about all the influence my adoptive parents had on my life and all the exposure I had that really shaped the person that I am, and gave me confidence and self-esteem and all the tools to be successful, I wanted to do the same thing for young girls. Through local programs and travel experiences, I ‘ve had the chance to show these girls that the world is their oyster, and inspired them to dream and believe that they can overcome their circumstances and do anything they want to do. For instance, in July I took 8 girls to South Africa for the World Cup. These girls have never been outside of DC before, let alone in another part of the world. You can only imagine how going to a foreign country, with all of the sights, being in a new culture, meeting new people, just expanded their minds in a way that a workshop or a lecture could never do. It was an amazing experience for them and for me. Fortunately BET International took a film crew with us and documented the transformation of the girls and their experiences. Our website is and you can learn more about the organization there and how to help.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: There’s been so much controversy about Michelle Obama’s trip to Spain. The country and the world aren’t used to seeing successful, powerful black women travel like that. Tell us your thoughts on the First Lady, and share some stories where your success/power has been scrutinized.
Stacie Turner: I admire Michelle Obama and the Obama family. Barack Obama is such an intelligent and highly qualified man who’s making such a difference in a company. His wife is such an asset and I really love the fact that they’re a team. I’d vote for Michelle Obama for President. She’s that thorough, that together, that smart, that knowledgeable, I love that they're a strong couple. I love that as First Lady, she’s focusing on new issues like childhood obesity, and I also love that she’s stylish yet real.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: How do you juggle the career, motherhood, being wife, the foundation, and the show?
Stacie Turner: I’m trying to keep it all together! What I’ve learned that we’re always striving for balance. And it’s just so impossible. You have to pick what’s the priority. And in my case, family is always priority. At the point when all of my outside stuff starts to infringe on that, I cut things loose. I also surround myself with really good friends and people who are supportive of what we’re doing so I can lean on them and rely on them when things get to be a little bit too much for me to bear alone.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: How did you husband feel about you and your family being on the show?
Stacie Turner: I think Jason was more accepting of it then I was initially. He was like “let’s not be scared of it” and I was scared. He made me feel more comfortable about doing it. There’s this perception that cameras are following you 24 hours a day. And it’s not. It’s scheduled based on what you have going on. We were also able to set boundaries around our children, making sure they weren’t interviewed or filmed too often because we want to protect their privacy. Jason was supportive and it was really fun doing it with him. I think that he and I are in more scenes together than any of the other couples on the show, which it made it particularly fun for me.
HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: Who are your role models? Who do you admire?
Stacie Turner: I admire so many people. I really admire people who are not afraid to do the non-conventional. So when I see people who are building houses in Haiti or who are on missions trips to Africa, those are the people I admire. They’re making a difference in the world and they’re not afraid to make it happen. I always believe there’s nothing to it but to do it, so more so than people who are always in the spotlight, I really admire those people who you often don’t hear about that are doing important work and making a difference in the world.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: I read that you’re in the process of looking for your biological father. What’s that journey been like?
Stacie Turner: My biological mother will not give me any information on my biological father. So you’ll see that my journey takes me to the Nigerian embassy to begin the search. There’s such a curiosity to know my heritage, not just for me, but for my children. It was really surprising to find that my birth mother is Caucasian and that my birth father is Nigerian. Although I respect the privacy of my birth mother, the fact that my birth father does not know that I exist, it makes me more curious. He should know that, and I should know who he is and we should have the option to decide if we pursue a relationship or not. In the African culture, it is so family-centric; they’re much more accepting of the non-traditional forms of family. There’s polygamy, there’s compounds were multiple families live together. I don’t believe he’ll view me as a negative thing. But I’d like to find that out.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: What don’t we know about Stacie (or what gets edited by Bravo) that you’d like for us to know about?
Stacie Turner: So far, I think that Bravo’s done a great job of creating the character that I am. One thing that I’m disappointed in is that out of the many events filmed during the season, one big event that took up the majority of my time was not filmed. That was my big fundraiser for my charity. For instance Mary does fashion shows, and donates a portion of the proceeds to charity. My event was 100% for my charity to launch my organization and unfortunately it was not filmed. I really want people to know that Extra-ordinary life is a huge part of my life and is my passion and you may not get that from the show.

HOPETODAYMAGAZINE.COM: DC is known as Chocolate City, yet you’re the only black woman on the show. What do you think about that?
Stacie Turner: I was surprised that I was the only African American cast. There’s this level of pressure that I really didn’t want to have. I tried my best to make sure that the black experience in DC is represented as best as possible. You’ll get a glimpse of our experiences, and inclusion of my friends. You’ll see more unfold and hopefully we do a good job of showing all lifestyles.

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