Draya Michele: Balancing Her Life

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

Feature Image shot by Kitrell Cage.

Most know Draya Michele as a co-star on Vh1’s hit TV reality series, “Basketball Wives,” but aside from that, she’s an entrepreneur, rising actress and proud mother of one. Despite running both a swimwear line (Mint Swim), and clothing line (Fine Ass Girls), she manages to still make time for her family and pursue her dream of acting. Draya sat down with JET to discuss life, balance and stardom. 

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

JET: Mint Swim seems to be getting a lot of positive feedback. What were your reactions to that?

Draya Michele: I was super excited. Every time I posted something, I always get so many comments. For the first time, I think that Mint Swim is getting recognized the right way. The way that I always wanted it to be. I just had to be patient and wait for my time and it’s my time. I’m excited and happy and I couldn’t be more appreciative. You know, it’s a humbling experience and I love it.

JET: What do you think sets your swim collection aside from others out there? What makes yours unique?

Draya Michele: I think just me being the designer sets it aside from other brands. I think that people can relate to me. Often when you see clothing lines that you like, you don’t really know who makes it and I think that people relate with me because they know I’m the designer and already have a understanding of who I am.

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

JET: Do you plan on expanding the line?

Draya Michele: This year we’ve expanded Mint Swim to plus size and children. I think for the holiday season, I’m going to introduce our loungewear, pajamas, and intimates. There will be something to shop for all year around — not just swim stuff.

JET: Last year you received some backlash about only using models of a certain skin tone. What do you think about that?

Draya Michele: Being in such a public position, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and their thoughts, but some things just aren’t true. A lot of people just don’t do enough of their research. Just yesterday, people were saying “Oh, you don’t use brown skin models” and I had to remind them that you know just a few weeks ago, April 19th actually to be exact, I had a runway show and I used only brown skin models. So you just have to ignore the people that aren’t knowledgeable because if they were, there wouldn’t be any room for them to make a comment like that. You just have to handle things the right way.

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

JET: Aside from your fashion collections, you’re also pursuing a career in acting.

Draya Michele: Yeah I ended up loving it and it’s something that I want to continue [doing]. It’s really really fun you know. I’ve been on set with cameras now for 4 years being myself. It’s just nice to get in front of these cameras and be someone else for a change. It’s completely different and I love it.

JET: What was that process like? Was it easy?

Draya Michele: To be honest, I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to do it and underestimated myself. But I realized I should have been into it [acting] years ago. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but I finally got offered a role and I was like “Ok I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna take this seriously and practice.” Once I started filming, I was like “Wow I really like this.”

JET: So it came naturally for you?

Draya Michele: I mean I guess, kind of sort of. I was comfortable being on a set and in front of cameras.

JET: I know it’s a lot having all these projects. How do you balance all of these things with your everyday life and family?

Draya Michele: You know, you got to make time for family first and I have a pretty good family that I have to make sure that I [make time for]. It’s just little things that I do. I have to sit down and make time for my son every day. We get to discuss how school’s going, things with his friends and sports. You know, just different topics.

JET: You definitely have a lot going on. What do you think people’s biggest misconceptions of you are?

Draya Michele: I think that a lot of people think that I’m a victim as far as reality TV goes. That’s really the biggest misconception. I don’t want to really be taken as the victim. I’m not winning in life because I got picked on or bullied or harassed or any of that. I’m winning in life because I’m a naturally good person. I just don’t do evil things to people. It’s not in my nature.

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

Photo by Chris Paul Thompson

JET: And being in reality TV, do you think that has hurt your career?

Draya Michele: Absolutely not. You know, being on reality TV was one of the best decisions that I’ve made. It was a great platform for me to promote my brand. It gives me the opportunity to tell my story and get people familiar with who I am. So I think reality TV has been a great blessing.

JET: What your favorite thing about being on Basketball Wives?

Draya Michele: My favorite thing? You know, just promoting my brand. So many audience members see that and the commercials. People pay millions of dollars for those commercials and that’s a great way to get my brand out there.

JET: Outside of the show, do you still get along with the cast pretty well?

Draya Michele: You know, when I’m not filming, I tend to just mind my business and kind of stay out of the way and leave Basketball Wives stuff for only on the cameras.

JET: Is Basketball Wives something you see yourself continuing to do in the future?

Draya Michele: I never say never, and I haven’t made a definite decision on returning or not. It just depends on where I’m at in my life.

JET: Any other long-term goals you have for yourself?

Draya Michele: Eventually I would just like to have these companies that are so big that they run themselves. I’d like to settle down and marry and just be eternally happy.

Want more Draya? Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.