By Jawn Murray
She's the sole African-American cast member on a series set in a place often called Chocolate City. Regardless, Stacie Turner is no table-tossing, neck-rolling, Ebonics-speaking, stereotypical character one would come to expect from a 'Real Housewives' cast member; but instead she offers sophisticated sass while showcasing her business acumen on the debut season of the 'Real Housewives of DC.'
A real estate executive with a heart for philanthropy, Turner received an undergraduate degree in Finance from Howard University and her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.
The happily married mother of two not only talked about life as a one of the nation's capital's 'Real Housewives;' but she shared with BV Buzz during our lunch at the Eurasian restaurant Oya her thoughts on the infamous White House crashers!
Heck yeah! All women are different so to think that I can represent every lifestyle of every African-American woman in DC is like insane. To the extent that I can show what my reality is and reflect some of what I think African-American women can relate to is all that I can try to do. I definitely feel pressure!
Do you hold back on the show? Is there ever a time you feel your inner "sister girl" coming out, but tuck her away because of the cameras?
I'm always thinking that I have a little daughter and she can not see her mama show her behind on camera. In past episodes, they show how this whole topic of things related to race that comes up innocently and it's this expectation that you'll let it roll off and not go there with it. Meanwhile, it's like why does this even come up? We are sitting here having dinner so just because me and Ted Gibson are the only Black people there why does there need to be a connection about race? All it does is create a situation. And when it is brought up, why does the neck roll and the dialect change? It's just interesting.
Would you like to see them add more diversity to the 'Real Housewives of DC' franchise next season? Can we get another Black woman or even a Hispanic added to the mix?
I would. I know lots of women who would be great, but the question is do they have the nerve to put themselves out there. All of my friends thought I was crazy and people probably still think I'm crazy to do that, but so far they have been pretty accurate in their portrayal of our family and hopefully this series will be a little different in that they do try to stay true to form to women who are not necessarily doing the antics of some of the other shows.
You do high-end real estate for Sotheby's. Has being on this show been a boost for business?
When I was taping the show I worked at Sotheby's, but I've since left and now I work for Long & Foster. People had this perception that we only did high-end homes but I do the gamut. I moved to Long & Foster because they have the biggest share across all price categories and I formed a team so now I have a couple of people that work with me.
Who has been your favorite celebrity that you've met since being on the show?
That will be open-ended. You'll see that the whole journey takes me to the Nigerian Embassy. I've met, talked to, had a letter correspondence with my birth mother who is Caucasian and has a whole other life that she has not shared with her family. Therefore, we really can't go there and she will not divulge information about my birth father. I think the Nigerian side would be much more open and receptive, because that culture is much more open and accepting of non-traditional families. You'll see that down the road it takes me to the Nigerian Embassy where I enroll their help to help me find my birth father. We don't find him this season.
You have a charity called Extra-Ordinary Life that's geared towards youth and aims to expose them to places and opportunities beyond their current access. Did being adopted inspire that?
It is and part of the reason that I started it is because I was lucky to be adopted. These children are still waiting for families. When I look back I could have been one of them and what made the difference in my life is that I had the parents who gave the foundational love, education, they took me on trips and paved the path that I followed which allowed me to be successful and boost my self esteem to make me feel like I could do these things. That's where our organization tries to step in and plug the hole to the extent that we can to really elevate these young girls.
Tell me more about the charity.
That's what I love to talk about. I started Extraordinary Life a year ago and it caters to teenage girls that are in DC's foster care system. There are about 2,500 girls that don't have a family or a permanent home. These are the girls that my organization tries to expose to people, places and opportunities that they normally wouldn't have access to, because they don't have that parent in their life giving them guidance on which way to go. We try to provide experiences that are above and beyond workshops and all of the life skill training they get. We inspire them to dream and believe that they can overcome their circumstance and be whatever they want to be. In July, I took eight girls to South Africa during the World Cup. I believe that travel is one of those perfect opportunities to expose all your senses to a variety of things. This was particularly significant because it was the first time the World Cup was on the continent of Africa and just happened to be in South Africa. Given the whole history of the people and apartheid, the resilience and the depth of the culture we thought that would be a unique place for the girls to go. Most of these girls have not set foot outside the beltway, let alone gone around the world.
What would you like to see different in season two of this show?
I haven't thought that far. I hope that they will show more of the nuances of DC that I don't think were fully captured in this season. There are really some interesting and exclusive events that happen here, but a lot of the population was so worried about how it would be played that it was difficult to get clearances to do cameras and so forth. I think that now they have seen that it's not quite as crazy as they expected, we will be able to get access to that. Hopefully, there will be more of a political slant to it next year. I'd like to see more provocative conversations which end up being dramatic because that's such a fabric of what's here in DC. We also need to see some more diversity. We need some more Black and Hispanic people. Again, this is an International city so we need to see more of that.
I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you about the Salahi's. Do you think the Michaele Salahi and her husband Tareq are going to be back next season? Will Bravo keep them around?
I think they were good from a marketing and PR standpoint, because everybody knows who they are and everybody is curious about the White House event. I think throughout the series they are definitely not dominant and you actually start to see a different side of them as it progresses. The White House thing happens at the end so it's kind of like the cliffhanger. I don't think that they're that important to it. Even when I read the blogs, the fans are sick of it. They're not worth talking about. I think it will be interesting to see if the Salahi's are back next year because the White House crash was kind of like it and then it was on to the next.