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Phaedra Parks talks about life as she covers Rolling Out Magazine

by Tasharna Brown-Taylor Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015
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Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks covers the latest issue of Rolling Out Magazine where she talks about her life, her road to success and black lives.

If you watch RHOA you may know Miss Phaedra Parks. She is the southern belle housewife with many successful businesses in Atlanta such as her funeral home and her legal practice company. She lived a happy life but that all broke down when her Husband Apollo Nida was incarcerated for fraud, which left her as a single mum of two boys.

Get ready to be inspired by Miss Parks.

Do you think your old-school mindset came from the way you were raised?
Growing up in Athens, [Georgia], coming from a political family, a family of preachers, we were the quintessential old school, middle class black family. Both of my parents are pastors and educators. I went to the school that my parents taught in, so people expected more of me.

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So, you grew up in a lot of structure. Being in the entertainment world as an attorney and as a reality star can be a very demanding and even chaotic. How do you make those two things fit?
I never had any intentions on being an entertainment attorney. I think this was truly my calling. My main goal was always to help someone, and I’ve always been very connected with Black men. When you look at the structure of the entertainment world and its leadership, there are not a lot of people that look like us. When I first got into the industry, that’s what resonated with most of my clients. They were the people that no one wanted. People didn’t understand them. They had issues that the majority of attorneys did not want to deal with. So, I found out what my niche was: helping people who most thought could not be rehabilitated. And I really made it my duty to show that just because someone has an issue doesn’t mean that they can’t be successful.

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You’re on a show where you can get pulled into situations and it’s not always about “speaking life.” How do you deal with that?
I’m on a show where they speak death all the time. But the way I have conducted myself has set me apart because I really try to think before I speak. I try not to say things that I can’t come back from. I’m always very careful, and just because you’re thinking something doesn’t mean that you should say it. But there’ve been a lot of times where I wanted to rip somebody’s wig off.

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On your social media pages, you share a long list of jobs and responsibilities you undertake. Is the list long because you’re still evolving as a person and finding out who Phaedra is?
Everything that I do comes from a place of passion and experience. I’m very multi-faceted, so I’m always thinking about the next frontier. My love for funerals came from experiences with death. It came from a place of pain, and I turned my pain into passion. I saw a lack of people in that business who genuinely wanted to help people and understood the grieving process. It came from some of my best friends committing suicide and getting killed. So, I really saw it as a ministry. I still do funerals for free, and haven’t made a penny off of any funeral I’ve ever done.

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You always seem to be thinking two or three steps ahead. Have you ever considered that maybe you overthink things?
No. I think anyone that’s smart is always thinking forward. The smart person is always thinking about the next phase of their life. At the end of the day, my legacy won’t be that I was on a reality show. I want my legacy to be that I’ve made a change for many people, opened doors for women, that I was a great mother juggling a family and a career. Not that I was a fool on a reality show. There’s no honor in that.

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During this age of social media, common, everyday occurrences are amplified and given great attention from the public, especially for someone like you. When the attention turns negative, how do you deal with it?
To be honest, I think if everyone’s agreeing with you, you’re doing something wrong. If you’re doing something right, that’s when everyone is criticizing you. Social media has made people so rude. But I really try not to open myself up to that kind of negativity. I don’t read the blogs because they are not news. I get my news from people who have been certified to do so.

Do you think “Black lives matter” in this country?
No. I don’t. I think Black lives have been devalued by the United States merely because of legislation and acts of people in power that say, especially to our Black boys, that they don’t matter. I see it all too often. I think that, socioeconomically, people that sit in my tax bracket are not putting money back into our community. This year, I participated in Bloody Sunday’s 50th anniversary, and I could count the number of celebrities on one hand. I saw more politicians than people who influence the culture. They haven’t taken their platform to really use it in a way that is influential in our community.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Photo credit: DeWayne Rodgers


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