We caught up with the feisty Mariah Huq, one of the masterminds behind Bravo’s Married to Medicine. She dishes on pitching the show, her “Blackadeshi” relationship and her new perspective on reality TV.
You’re one of the producers behind Married to Medicine, so how did the concept for the show come about?
A few years ago I thought it was a wonderful idea because I’m married to an ER doctor. We live work and play with other doctors, and I just thought there was so much more of a story that the world should see in terms of the sacrifices that families as well as the physicians make in order for them to be in practice, so that’s how it came about. And Bravo took a few years but finally it started to catch on fire and that’s why we’re here today.
You were a journalist before marriage so talk about that part of your career.
That was back in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is my home town. I was a public affairs news anchor and producer and I worked there for about three and a half years. It was my passion. I love the media but when I moved to Atlanta I was in a place where I really wanted to make money, so I went into the medical field. I did everything from the cardio vascular field to medical devices but when my husband got out of residency-he did six years of residency, we always had an agreement that I would launch my media company and he’d support me and that’s what happened. As soon as he started practicing I quit my job and went back to what my true passion is, which is writing and the media.
How did you actually meet your husband?
It’s so funny because I met my husband at Justin’s, which was Puff Daddy’s restaurant in Atlanta. It’s ironic, I was just hanging out eating there and I was like, who is this little short Indian guy approaching me but we met that one day and have been inseparable ever since. He is sweet.
What element does your family bring to the show?
We are the show. I think there isn’t a show without me, I’m just being honest because my family and I—first of all, we are the nucleus of the show. We brought everybody together. This is our circle of friends that we decided to integrate and I think we bring a very unique element in the sense that we have a multicultural family. My husband is from Bangladesh, I’m from Tennessee, and we joke about how we morphed our cultures and I say we started a new race, Blackadeshi. I cook curry chicken, I cook macaroni and cheese; we call It Indian soul, so I think the multicultural aspect is truly a unique component that we bring out, and just the energy and excitement that we bring. I am the life of the party and I’ve been the one to keep the women together and bring them together, so I think we have an extremely integral role as far as being a part of the show. There is no show without me, how about that.
How did you and your husband deal with merging your two very different backgrounds and cultures?
It was extremely hard and a the beginning coming from different places because my husband grew up Muslim. I grew up Christian and where he was from had arranged marriages, and out of seven kids [his siblings] five of them had arranged marriages. One of them didn’t, which is my husband and the other one isn’t married yet. So we absolutely had a very difficult time in the beginning but the beauty of it is that we were able to accomplish something that not many people can do, which was bringing our families together to create one big universal family.
Have you been to Bangladesh?
I’ve been to Bangladesh twice, and we traveled to the village that my husband is from. Right now we’re trying to build a hospital and medical clinic in my late father in law’s name. So, I’ve been twice and it changed my life. Bangladesh is the poorest country in the world and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after seeing that.
Surely, there’s going to be drama but over all, what do you want viewers to take away from the show?
Think any tome you get a group of women together you’re gonna have ups and downs, so of course you’re gonna have drama. That’s just how women are, no matter what profession they are. You’re gonna always have issues, but I think the beauty of it is we’re able to move past it and keep it moving. It’s a very colorful cast everybody is very unique and I think everybody has something to bring. What’s really important to me is that viewers see that this is one of the first times I’ve seen a primarily African-American cast of professional college-educated women, two of which are physicians. The other three women, there’s six of us, four are doctors’ wives, all of us are college educated and two are physicians, so I think that in itself is phenomenal to me. All of us are wives, married with families, businesswomen, and I think that we’re extremely sophisticated sassy and at the end of the day we’re just balancing work and life.
Do you have your own reality TV guilty pleasures?
I am a reality TV junky [laughs]. I love Real Housewives of Atlanta, that’s my favorite. That’s really the main show that I watch. I know Phaedra. My sister and I run a multicultural bedding and décor line, and we did the nursery Phaedra’s first baby.
How do you feel about Love and Hip-Hop and all those shows?
If you would have asked me before we filmed I probably would have been one of those sisters who said that I wanted something more positive on TV. I think we can do a lot better, however after doing a show myself I have a totally different level of respect for anybody that can do reality TV, because you set out to do one thing like, I’m professional, I’m a mother, and then reality happens. This show is very organic. It’s real, so I can’t say anything bad about it but what I can tell you is there’s no comparison, and I say that because we’re all professional mothers, wives, physicians and I think it’s such a different level of drama that we have on our show. It’s not about people’s shoes or boyfriends, it’s about our families and some serious heavy issues. I just want to add that people should watch the show it’s imperative for us as minorities to see each other doing well, especially minority women. I think it’s a phenomenal show. I think people will definitely be entertained and will see the good the bad and a little bit of ugly too, but at the end of the day they’ll appreciate the realness of it.