Blood, Sweat & Heels: Brie Bythewood
Reality television star Brie Bythewood has had a pretty interesting year. Her storyline wasn’t as juicy and dramatic on Bravo’s hit reality show, “Blood, Sweat, and Heels,” and many wondered if that’s why she didn’t return for the show’s second season.
But Bythewood doesn’t have to be on television for her job to be valued. Real estate is critical when it comes to urban development and gentrification. While those two topics don’t particularly make for exciting television, they certainly make for invigorating conversation. JET caught up with Brie to get her take on the importance of real estate development, motherhood, and how to balance work and home.
JET: As a first time mom, what has the experience been like for you?
Brie Bythewood: Nothing can prepare you for motherhood, but at the same time, nothing can compare to the love of and for a child. It’s so refreshing and unconditional.
JET: What’s it been like balancing motherhood and work?
Brie Bythewood: Luckily for me, I have the opportunity to work from home. I’m in real estate development so I can do my projects, conference calls, and all of that from home. I’ve become much more regimented and focused as a result because my work schedule revolves around my daughter’s naps and downtime. I like it though. I could get used to working from home and spending all the moments I can with my daughter. Although I will be back to work soon.
JET: A lot of people don’t know that much about real estate development. Tell us more about your profession.
Brie Bythewood: On the show I was portrayed as a real estate agent, and while I have my broker’s license, I mainly work in real estate development. Real estate is very competitive and interesting for television when you’re trying to sell multi-million dollar homes, which is why that was the one element of my job they decided to portray on TV. But on a daily basis, I basically find properties that either already exist as far as being occupied with buildings, or [ones that] can be developed and suggest those to be renewed or constructed. In my company, we do a lot of new construction as well as rehabilitation of property. Currently, I have projects we’re looking at in Harlem and Long Island.
JET: So what you’re describing sounds like the conversation that’s happening about gentrification. What role does real estate development play in that?
Brie Bythewood: It all really does go hand in hand. For me and the work I do with my firm, we find properties that have been abandoned and try and make them thrive again. Be it housing or a business, we find places where we can bring life back into a community. We also look at it from whether or not we can boost the economy of a community — either by creating a space for business or [by] bringing jobs and opportunity into that space. I can see the argument about displacement and all of that, but on the other end, we’re trying to bring more opportunity into those communities. Bringing in jobs, better housing opportunities, and just an overall revival of an area– which in the long run serves a greater purpose.
JET: With all you have going on in real estate, what made you get into reality television?
Brie Bythewood: Years ago, if you had told me I would be on reality TV I would’ve looked at you crazy. All I used to see was the messiness and drama of reality TV with housewives and stuff like that and I wanted nothing to do with it. But when Blood, Sweat, and Heels was pitched to me, it sounded revolutionary: showcasing professional women as they went forth in their careers. I wanted to be a part of, what I thought was changing the perception of women in reality TV. The ladies and I all had kind of a bonding experience before the show began, we spent a lot of time around each other and going out together and stuff like that. So I thought, “this will be great.” I can expand my network and gain some friends while trying out TV. But then the cameras started rolling and everything changed. I was under the impression we were supposed to be our genuine selves, so that’s what I was being. I missed the memo of “turning on” when the cameras turn on. Do I regret the experience? No. It taught me a lot about myself and the business.
JET: Would you consider going back to television, reality or otherwise?
Brie Bythewood: Definitely. I have a lot of support from fans and people tweet me all the time asking when I’m coming back to TV. Right now, I’m focusing on motherhood and spending as much time with my daughter as I can, but I also have some TV projects in mind I’d like to consider doing. Broadcast journalism was my major in college, so I really want to get back in front of the camera. I’d also like to produce projects. I’m working on creating a blog that touches on topics I find interesting and want to talk about…I’m all for empowering women to follow their dreams in whatever career they’d like. I think career planning isn’t something that is discussed a lot with women and I’d like my site to be a place to discuss that. I have a lot I want to do, so stay tuned for me.