By// Starrene Rhett Rocque
Big Rich Atlanta’s Sharlinda, Sabrina (Brie) and Khadijah Rowe have are feisty and business savvy. When the ladies aren’t busy taking care of their Tu La 2 nail salon, they’re expanding their brand to nail polish, shoes, jewelry and more. We caught up with the trio to chat about Sunday’s season finale, their reality TV guilty pleasures and more.
What made you ladies decide to do Big Rich Atlanta, especially since you already had an established business?
Sharlinda: The reason I decided to do the show was because it was a mother and daughter duo show, and it was an opportunity to do a show with my family, which was my daughter and my sister, Brie (Sabrina).
Brie: We decided to do the show because like Sharlinda said, it was something we could do together as a family and we could support each other along the way.
Khadijah: For me it was more so that my mom and my aunt have their own brand. I have a lot that I want to bring to the table and honestly, I think it’s a great marketing strategy to promote yourself and promote your business. The audience becomes a lot greater, so therefore just make sure that your business are ready and that you’ve nurtured them to the point that they are and you’re going to succeed. It was about success for me.
Sharlinda, there were rumors that you were being considered for Real Housewives of Atlanta. If that’s true, whatever happened with that?
Yes. That’s true. I was interviewing with the Housewives as well as interviewing with this show and if I did the Housewives, it would have just been myself, and I just thought it was a good opportunity to do Big Rich Atlanta to have my family with me and also to promote my business and have a family thing going on for me.
Why has Atlanta has become such a super hotbed for reality shows?
Khadija: Because there’s more drama in the south! [Laughs]
Brie: I think Atlanta is considered Hotlanta! It’s a lot going on. A lot of people, when they want to visit different cities along with LA, New York and Miami—Atlanta is like the top four. Everybody wants to come to Atlanta, so why not Atlanta? It’s a lot going on here especially with film, actors and actresses.
Brie and Sharlina, talk about your nail salon and your history in the business.
Brie: The nail salon that we have is an all-natural nail salon. We actually reintroduce ourselves to the nail industry. A lot of people were doing a lot of things, and we had to reintroduce ourselves and that’s what we did. We’re all green, all natural and a lot of people are loving that. So, we did that with the salon, and we ventured out with our jewelry line and our own polish. So, we’ve got a lot of things going on and a lot of things in the making. Atlanta right now is one of the biggest markets for TV and film, so of course we’re doing work on a lot of the TV and movies, and we also do a lot of covers of magazines so we’re working.
Khadijah, where do you fit in with the family business?
With my mom and my aunt’s business my niche is more so the marketing of it. I do have a degree from the University of Alabama and I’ve used that to help some small businesses with their marketing strategies and things like that. And I actually have helped my mom and my aunt with all of their brands. So my job is kind of to bring it all together. I think they do an awesome job and they’re great role models that made me want to start my own business and market my own stuff.
Khadijah there’s also the drama with you and Ashley that whole situation seems like it was blown out of proportion but what can you tell us about the legal side of it moving forward?
I will say that for me the whole incident was very unfortunate. I agree, it was blown out of proportion. I never expected it and never wanted it to happen. The biggest thing was I wanted to get along with all the girls, but for some reason, when I met Ashley it was just two people butting heads all the time, because I think her approach is always off. I think it’s a personality. The personality. She just likes being that way, and I didn’t really connect with it and I know a lot of the girls on the show don’t as well. It was a kind of bullying and I don’t stand around and let people bully me. I wanted it to be different and I wanted it to be better. You saw what happened, it’s not good and it’s gonna get better but for right now it’s one of those things where we just don’t get along.
And she made that comment about you being a fat Black girl that didn’t sit well with a lot of Black women watching. Is she racist?
I think I’ve heard her say a lot of things that would hint to racism. I think she has an issue with it and I will say that when I heard it, it was like it was a disease. It was like, I’m in a room full of people and she said that like I wasn’t worthy of being there or something. I think that was the first trigger that put me into defensive mode in that whole incident. I think it was very unfair and very unfortunate. Besides the fact that she’s White and I’m Black, Ashley and I have tons of differences in personality. It’s not just based on color. And I really hated that that was what she brought out of it. I do think that like you said, the viewers were able to see that and see her for what it was, and I’m very thankful for that but it felt nasty. And that wasn’t her first racist comment, I will say. So it feels like that’s the problem.
On that note, what have the three of you ladies learned about yourselves from doing the show?
Khadijah: I think that I learned a lot more about loyalty, and I say that because my mom, my aunt and myself are very loyal people. We stick together, we tell each other when we’re wrong but we also stick together and I think in the instance of being on this show with some of the other ladies, it doesn’t feel like that same loyalty is there. Like, when you talk to them one time it’s one story and when you talk to them the next time it’s another story and when you watch it on TV it’s a whole different thing, so I think that that has been the biggest lesson for me, that you can’t expect everyone to be as loyal as you are so watch who you give it to.
Sharlinda: I will piggyback off of Khadijah about the loyalty part because we do stick together. I also know that I parent hard and I just know that I’m a parent to the core and I’m straight black or white, there’s no gray with me. So, I’ve learned seeing myself on TV that when I stand for something, I truly believe in it. As far as Khadijah defending herself, I just wanted my child to stand up and I think a lot of people wanted me to say that I was embarrassed of my daughter for getting into a fight on TV. Things happen but my thing is, I just really believe in defending yourself, and standing up and believing what you believe in. That’s what I learned about myself. I am who I am, and I’m not gonna apologize for being that way.
Brie: What I’ve learned from the show is that you have to be a good friend to people, and as long as you’re that way, you can’t be fair weather friends like which ever way the wind blows. If you’re with me today and then tomorrow, your friendship changes for whatever reason—you just just have to stay loyal and honest and I think that’s what I’ve learned out of this show.
Would you ladies do a second season?
Sharlinda: I‘m looking forward to a second season but also, it has been a lot of relationships destroyed. When you see what other people think and the things they say about you, I’m curious about how a second season is going to play out and how it’s gonna start, because we found out a lot of people don’t have loyalty to anybody. And some of the stuff that was said, I’m like “Oh my goodness!” So, I’m curious about how the second season would start since so many of these relationships have been broken.
What are some of your reality TV guilty pleasures?
Sharlinda: Being the businesswomen that we are running our salon, I really don’t get to catch many of them but I do hear about them from salon talk about some of the shows.
Khadijah: I DVR them. One of the newer ones that I do like is, Married to Medicine. That show is actually very interesting to say the least. It’s a really good show. Of course, we’re fans of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, they kind of set the tone for reality shows here in Atlanta and they do an awesome job at it and there’s several others but those are my top two.
What can viewers expect for the rest of Big Rich Atlanta?
Sharlinda: Drama ‘til the end. [Laughs]