JET Exclusive: Marlo Hampton Shares Her Life’s Struggle From Foster Care to Entrepreneur Pt.1
By// Starrene Rhett Rocque
If anyone knows the power of TV editing, it’s Marlo Hampton. The label-obsessed glamazon made her mark on the last season of Real Housewives of Atlanta on an eventful trip to South Africa. She swiftly became a member of the Nene-named “Talls” crew, and butted heads with Sheree and Kandi, and infamously uttered the f-word. She later apologized for the last transgression but it didn’t help the already negative press she had received due to her past legal troubles.
Rumors circulated that Hampton had been arrested seven times and that she was an escort but in a forthright conversation with her good friend Nene Leakes, she revealed a softer, more level-headed side of herself and explained that you simply can’t believe everything you hear—especially in the case of reality TV, where it’s not wise to judge based on a one-hour snippet of the bigger picture.
“I wanted people to know where I came from. I mean all of the material stuff, that’s all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day that doesn’t make Marlo,” she said. “That’s a temporary high for me then it’s replaced with something else. I was thinking people would read between those lines but the way they showed it you couldn’t.”
In reality, Marlo Hampton is a woman who is a self-described work in progress.
“They may not [always] put Black women in the best light [on reality TV], but I’m not portraying to be a minister’s wife or the first lady,” she said. “I’m not hurting anyone. Everything that has happened has happened for a reason.”
The fashion enthusiast and entrepreneur is speaking of the hard knock life she endured throughout childhood. She grew up bouncing from foster home to foster home in Florida because her parents had substance abuse issues. But despite the setbacks, Hampton put herself through college and blossomed into an entrepreneur in the fashion world ranging from stylist to boutique owner. However, it is her Glam It Up Girls Foundation that is closest to her heart. Through Glam it Up Girls, Hampton empowers young girls, also in foster home situations, by taking them to brunch, taking them shopping and introducing them to concepts like money management and good personal hygiene in order to propel them triumphantly into adulthood.
“I can relate to them more. I wish I had my mom I could be with,” she said as through gritted teeth as her voice wavered from holding back tears. “I want them to see nicer things and know that they can have that too. I want them to see if Marlo can do it then so can we.”
Marlo, who is currently working on her latest project, a high-end consignment shop, had so much to say that we allowed her to speak her own words. In an exclusive interview with JETmag.com she breaks down her life and explains how she left home at nine but went from negative to positive based on her will to thrive.
Click page two to read her testimony.