Phaedra Parks is back on the box!
The reality veteran makes her grand return to screens this week on the latest season of WE tv’s ‘Marriage Boot Camp: Hip-Hop Edition.’
Joined by new flame Medina Islam, Parks will appear alongside other celebrity couples who too are looking to work through their issues.
Ahead of the show’s premiere on Thursday (July 2nd), That Grape Juice caught up with the Georgia peach, who opened up about her decision to join, her relationship with Medina, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
She also answered the pressing question of whether she’d return to the ‘Real Housewives Of Atlanta.’
Our insightful interview with Phaedra Parks awaits below…
That Grape Juice (Sam): Tell us a little about your decision to star on Marriage Boot Camp?
Phaedra Parks: I had a lot of good reviews from former castmates that had participated in the show and they said it was really transformative and that it really helped their relationship. As everybody knows, I’m a woman of many talents, but being in strong, romantic relationships has not been my strong suite. So, I wanted to improve in that area, and I wanted to make sure that I was giving myself every opportunity to understand myself better in relationships, but also to understand my partner.
That Grape Juice: We’ll of course learn more on the show, but we’re eager to learn more about Medina. How you met and what are some of the issues that bring you to the show?
Phaedra Parks: He and I met through a dating app. We had actually known each other prior, because Medina was an actor one of Tyler Perry’s productions here in Atlanta for years. And so, we had seen each other around town. But we have a mutual best friend, and he had seen that I was single on a dating app and he had tried to link up with me on the dating app, but I hadn’t responded. So, he spoke to our mutual friend and gave me a call. He said, “Hey, do you know Medina?” I was like, “Yeah”, “He’s been trying to get in touch with you”. From there, I called him, well he actually gave me his number and he called me and we talked for three hours.
And from there I was like, “This might be interesting”, however, he lived in California. That’s a long way, that’s truly bicoastal because I live in Georgia. So we decided that even though there was this distance there’s lots of jobs in Atlanta and also there’s lots of jobs for me in Los Angeles, and we would give it a try. That being said, one of the biggest issues was the distance and sometimes he felt I was not communicating effectively. And I can’t say I’m the best communicator because I’ve got lots of careers and jobs. And so, sometimes I am not as present as I should be in relationships, that has been a problem in the past. So, he picked up on that quite quickly. He thought that we should be physically intimate, sooner than I thought was appropriate for myself.
That Grape Juice: So you hashed these issues out on the show obviously with a therapist and amongst your castmates as well?
Phaedra Parks: Yes.
That Grape Juice: The show of course sees you appear alongside other couples. What was that experience like?
Phaedra Parks: It’s sometimes off-putting, because you’re talking about very personal details about your life, whether it be your sex life or infidelity, just things that are very personal amongst people who are essentially strangers. Prior to the show, Hazel-E and I were friends, and I had no idea she was coming on the show, so that’s someone I had known and we quickly picked up where we had known each other for almost 20 years, so that was awesome. But other than Hazel, I really didn’t know anyone. I was a huge fan of Kurupt, but I didn’t know him personally. So, being in that house, you had to be very vulnerable and be willing to really open up in front of strangers and talk about very difficult things. I’m very private and that has been an issue for me, but we definitely worked it out. I grew to love my fellow housemates and from being with these ladies and these guys, we’ve really forged a true family within that show. I talk to most of them several times, if not every day of the week.
That Grape Juice: You’re renowned for for the famous saying “I have many jobs.” How important do you feel it is for women today to have multiple hustles?
Phaedra Parks: I think that is just the norm right now. Obviously, if you want to be in wealth you have to have multiple streams of income. But even though women have transformed into super women by doing numerous things very well, I think men still have old-fashioned views of women in relationships. And so, while we progressed from a career standpoint, from a relationship standpoint, we haven’t progressed because men still expect us to be very traditional and to do those very traditional things. And that’s not really the case, because if I’m making more money, I think maybe you should learn how to cook and clean. I think we’re in a time now, especially with the quarantine and all that’s happening in the world, we’re really rethinking roles, we’re rethinking the importance of family, the importance of relationships and friendships. And I think that that is going to be transformative as well for people after we come out of this pandemic. Because I think our value system would have hopefully changed in a positive way.
That Grape Juice: You’ve long been an advocate for positive depictions of Black manhood. Something we see with how you’re raising your amazing sons. What are you discussing with them about Black Lives Matter?
Phaedra Parks: They obviously have seen the news clips with George Floyd, and I was very hesitant to tell them that he had died during that incident, because they are very young and impressionable. But my youngest son, who’s seven, his first question was, after seeing the clips so many times on the news, “Why is the police officer standing on top of that man under the car like that? Why is he doing that?” And even though I was hesitant, I knew I had to really be honest and tell him exactly what was happening and what was going on and my personal thoughts about why this was happening. Because I wanted him to understand that even though every police officer is not bad, every police officer is not a racist, but there are some people that will see the skin color before they see the color of your heart and who you are as a person. So, those are discussions that we’ve had and we had the same discussion when they had the whole Papa John’s incident, and I told them we would not be eating Papa John’s pizza because of the racial incident that they had.
And I think it’s important as a parent to talk about the historical perspective of African Americans in the United States, so that they’re very aware of the progress, but not only the progress, the struggle. Because it has been a struggle, even for me as a professional. The first member of the Georgia Supreme Court, graduated from my law school in the ’70s, he’s still alive and I know him. And it hasn’t been very long that we have had the opportunity to attend law school to practice alongside of other white attorneys. So these are the things we have to tell our children so that they know that opportunities have not always been available for people of color. That’s the value of getting a good education, that’s the value of being well-traveled and well-read.
That Grape Juice: Speaking of well-travelled, you went to London School of Economics, didn’t you?
Phaedra Parks: Yes, I came for a whole summer session. I lived in the Knightsbridge area, loved it, had a wonderful time. Spent more money than I need to!
That Grape Juice: Hilarious!
So, we’ve missed seeing you, the boys, and your many hustles on the ‘Real Housewives Of Atlanta,’ would you be open to returning to the show?
Phaedra Parks: …I’m actually working on finding love not fighting with my love.
That Grape Juice: [Laughs] Ok! Moving on…
We’re used to seeing you on screen, but what are some of the shows Phaedra Parks can’t get enough of?
Phaedra Parks: To be very honest, I’m a very hard news type of girl, so I watch ‘Meet the Press’, ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos’. I like serious news shows, ‘Bloomberg TV’, ‘Nightline’ is my most favorite show. I love Jimmy Kimmel; he makes me happy. I watch shows like that. And hands-down Trevor Noah, I adore him, he’s also extremely cute.
That Grape Juice: As a reality TV veteran, what’s more important – being liked or being respected?
Phaedra Parks: Being respected.
That Grape Juice: And final question, ahead of the premiere of ‘Marriage Boot Camp,’ what would you say are three key ingredients to a healthy relationship?
Phaedra Parks: The three ingredients to a healthy relationship, number one, respect, number two is trust and number three, I would say, would be love.
‘Marriage Boot Camp: Hip-Hop Edition’
Premieres July 2nd on WE tv at 9/8c!