Gloria Govan may have captured national attention by starring on VH1’s Basketball Wives, but she is so much more than a reality star. One thing she surely isn’t though is a fool, so with the exposure she is taking time to evolve and shed light on her full-fledged individuality and many talents. A mother and significant other, Govan is family first, but in the next couple of months she’ll complete her transition of changing the perception of reality star to actress, host, author, philanthropist, executive and all around boss. We caught up with Gloria in New York in between a slew of fashion week appearances to talk about her upcoming projects and why things are really about to get busy for her in Los Angeles. Whether you know her from reality T.V. or not, what you need to know about this 27 year old beauty is that she is serious about her passions and although she has been in a long term relationship with the newly signed L.A. Cliipper, Matt Barnes, she is still her own person and brand.
Parlé Magazine: You’re at a turning point in your career, moving towards being an actress. Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Gloria Govan: I’ve always inspired to be an actress, I know that sounds cliché but when I was younger I used to stand in front on a mirror (holds fake mic) and be like, ‘thank you, thank you. I wanna thank my mom, my dad—‘ you know. I’d always do my acceptance speeches so I always knew that entertaining is what I really loved to do and what I really want to do, regardless of the entertainment. So when we moved to L.A. and Matt got traded to the Lakers, I started taking acting classes seriously and that’s where it all started.
Parlé: You took acting and hosting classes to build up the craft, correct?
Gloria Govan: Yep, I been doing that almost two years now. And it started out almost every day, I was going to school for it. I was doing it Monday, Wednesday, Friday, long hours, 6pm to 11. Then I would do different exercises with acting coaches. So I really been going heavy with it for at least 2 years.
Parlé: What are you most comfortable with at this point, in terms of acting or hosting?
Gloria Govan: You know, I just started hosting, I did my first hosting gig this New Year’s Eve for the Shaq All Star Comedy show in Oakland. Someone from Codeblack called me like, (excited voice) ‘what are you doing?’
I was like, ‘it’s New Year’s Eve, I’m bout to bring it in, you know.’
He says, ‘Can you come to Oakland, can you fly to Oakland?’
I was actually on my way to St. Croix for an appearance and I was like I’m at the airport, my flight leaves in two hours. Long story short, I went to Oakland, I interviewed Tommy Davis, D.L. Hugley and it was the first time I’d ever done it. And I realized, I might be able to do this too. I like holding the microphone and interviewing people. And I’m a talker, if you haven’t noticed, and I love to ask questions.
Parlé: Is it that connection that led to the Clean Ops situation?
Gloria Govan: I had to audition for the Clean Ops opportunity and I actually got it. That was a whole process, but that’s how I built my relationship with Codeblack and it really is about putting in the work and having relationships with people. So I started my relationship that way with them.
Parlé: Tell the readers about Clean Ops.
Gloria Govan: Clean Ops is a short film series, basically I play the character V, she’s the lead character. Basically I’m a ballet dancer during the day and an assassin at night. It’s kind of like Salt meets The Professional. Its really dope. I’ve had to do training for it, I had to do weapons training, tae kwon do and ballet, all in like three weeks. It was an amazing experience but the hours were crazy. The hours were 6pm to 6am. I’m a mom so by 10:30 I’m like, (yawn). But it was a dope opportunity.
Parlé: Are you into action films yourself? Can’t tell if you’re that type of girl.
Gloria Govan: I am. I’m a huge Angelina Jolie/Lara Croft, Kate Beckinsale, I’m a huge fan of theirs. I really like kind of tapped into my Underworld fighter chick. And I watched Columbiana like eight times. (Laughs). I played basketball in college so athleticism wasn’t an issue it was more about tapping into that female bad ass.
Parlé: What about the ballet side? Any experience there?
Gloria Govan: That was my favorite part. My life is so chaotic so to be able to calm it down. I only trained for my ballet routine for 3 hours a day so I loved it. That was the only part of my whole hectic day that I was able to chill out for a second. But it was also my toughest part cause I had to be on point. I don’t know if you know it takes girls like 15 years to get to point, and I was like standing in those things so after 3 hours my toes are bleeding, I was like, ‘this is for the birds! You can keep this.’ That was by far my toughest part.
Parlé: You have a lot of amazing products in the works, including an upcoming cook book. Tell me what makes this cook book special.
Gloria Govan: To me the cook book is different because I’m Black and Mexican, Matt is Black and Italian and I honestly didn’t have to learn how to cook until I had kids. I’m the youngest of nine kids so when I was younger I’d just say ‘I’m hungry’ and someone would make me something. If they didn’t do it I’d just tell. But when my kids were hungry I’m like, ‘oh, I might have to learn how to feed ya’ll.’ I started cooking and it just became a passion. And Matt’s actually a good cook as well, he’s taught me a few different recipes as well. It’s different because what it does, especially nowadays, everyone is mixed, bicultural so what we’ve done is taken the soulfood side and the Mexican side and the Italian side and just fused all the different sides together.
Parlé: Do you have a title for the book yet?
Gloria Govan: The title of the cook book is Mixing It Up In The Kitchen: A Biracial Girl’s Favorite Recipes. That’s what it does basically. It has meat loaf and it has fried chicken and it has the seven fishes which is a Christmas Italian tradition, then it has shrimp pasta, then it goes into shrimp ceviche then it goes into Southern fried corn, so it has all these different recipes. We’re doing it on ebook, and doing the hard cover only during the holidays. Ebooks we decided to do because of Amazon, ipads, kindles, noodles and kadoodles (laughs) and everything else is technology nowadays. So we wanted to make sure that it was very easy to access online. And most importantly if you’re a mom and you’re on you’re way home and you’re like, ‘what am I gonna cook?’ You can easily pull it up and then you can run to the store and grab what you need for the recipe. I’m really excited about it. I never in a million years thought I’d be doing a cook book.
Parlé: Are you releasing it independently?
Gloria Govan: I am. I decided to self-publish. We did a whole bunch of research and realized you get almost 80% more from self-publishing than you do trying to go through a big publisher. And then going through ebooks they sell 10% more ebooks than they do hard copies. With all these book stores going out of business everything has to be online. Everything!
Parlé: What’s you favorite recipe in the book?
Gloria Govan: My favorite recipe I’d have to say is my honey glazed brown sugar salmon and it comes with garlic mash potatoes and asparagus.
Parlé: Sounds tasty.
Gloria Govan: It’s good, its really good. My brother, I don’t care how many times I see him, he makes me make that, every single time.
I make a good meat loaf, its turkey meat loaf. And Matt likes the lasagna. He’s a pasta eater so that’s his favorite.
Parlé: When does that come out?
Gloria Govan: It’s supposed to drop in October but we haven’t set a date for it yet. We have one more photo shoot to do for it. Those shoots are a beast cause you have to cook like 50 different things. And then in the end I’m like what am I going to do with all this food? So we have one more shoot to do before we can release it.
Parlé: So many thing going on for October and these coming months for you…
Gloria Govan: So much, the show, the cook book, the digital short film, we’re working on a fitness DVD we’re supposed to drop in January, soooo much.
Parlé: Right. We’ll get to the fitness DVD in a second, but first let’s talk about Backstage Confidential. How’d you get involved with that?
Gloria Govan: It was kind of a follow-up to the New Year’s show in the Bay area. I think when Shaq Entertainment, not to toot my own horn, this was my first time doing it, but I think that when they saw the potential in what I could do with a little more training and maybe some classes, hosting and interviewing people. Then I interviewed Chris Rock and Kevin Hart, that alone was the biggest surprise in terms of projects. You want me to do what? They’re talking Eddie Murphy, Steve Harvey, Whoopie Goldberg, I’m looking at them like you want me to interview them??? I’ll be like hey, ‘hi Eddie. You’re my favorite.’ I’m really looking forward to that but I’m just really excited overall about all the training I’m getting. All the stuff I get to put in my tool belt and just pull out. And I like shocking people. People would’ve never thought about my cook book, or being able to act, or even sitting down and interviewing people. That comes out in January and I’m really excited about where that can go and all the comedians I can interview. We can start interviewing athletes and actors and actresses. There’s so much room fo growth. I’m really excited for it.
Parlé: Let’s get back to the fitness DVD. Tell me about that, that sounds exciting.
Gloria Govan: We start shooting I think around November. It’s with Mel B from the Spice Girls and we’re talking to another house wife in terms of joining. But that’s basically to let women know, yeah, we all have kids—the women that will be involved will all have kids—but you have to stay focused on yourself. If you’re not healthy, how do you expect your kids to be? You really have to be an example. And to kind of switch it up, you know on Dancing with the Stars, all of them leave there with banging bodies, they all lost weight, they’ve done this huge transformation. We’ve taken this choreographer, she’s a huge dancer and basically she’s teaching women how to do these dance routines in their own living room, the fitness DVD will come with the dance shoes, and basically women will just dance. You’ll be surprised at how much that tones your legs, you can do it in your living room, you can involve your kids in it, involve your husband, your significant other. Just the results itself, its a different way to show women how to be sexy. How to walk, how to drop it like its hot in the club, or at a wedding, just to surprise people. So that’s going to be a really exciting project.
Parlé: Of all these projects, when you walked into the Basketball Wives franchise did you foresee some of these opportunities?
Gloria Govan: Not at all. I walked into Basketball Wives blindfolded, I didn’t know what would come of it. For me, reality tv wasn’t something that was always on our tv so it was kind of a hit and miss, it was either going to be a hit or it was going to sink. So when it was a hit, I think we were all like ‘oh. We got season 2?!’ Then when I went to L.A. it was like, ‘you want me to do a spinoff?’ I didn’t expect any of it at all so none of this was planned and I didn’t even start thinking plans, foundation, platforms until L.A., it just didn’t play that type of role for me when I was in Miami and I was in Orlando. And I feel like moving and this show alone has made me grow, that growth has brought this progress and business mind frame. This is all very new, all in the last two years.
Parlé: Having all this success and all these projects in the works can you see yourself doing Basketball Wives for much longer?
Gloria Govan: I always feel like my reality star is starting to flicker a little bit. If I continue to go down this path I just don’t want to be put in this box as just a reality star. My acting kinda gets put off and my other projects aren’t taken as seriously. I definitely have to pay homage to Basketball Wives because its brought me to where I am now, but I don’t know how much longer I’ll be involved with the project. I always put my foot in my mouth and go, ‘I’m not coming back next season, then I’m like, ‘Hey Ya’ll, I’m back!’ (Laughs) I definitely don’t want to put a time frame on it, but I know I want to continue to try different things and get my feet wet with different projects.
Parlé: As a woman doing the things that you’re doing, you are a role model to women and mothers every where. What do you want them to get from everything Gloria has been through and is doing now?
Gloria Govan: I think in this last year I’ve grown so much, not only as a person, but as a mother, as a significant other, so I think I want women to understand that throughout the whole process of growth, just try not to lose yourself. Just maintain individuality and independence, just that solidarity of being a woman and taking care of yourself. This kinda comes because my mother is a breast cancer survivor, I’m the youngest of 9, and so she never put herself first, so I was really frustrated and mad at her. I don’t know why, but that was my feeling. And I realized she never put herself first. It was a headache for her to go to the doctor and she never had time to go to the dentist, so now I take that and I love my kids to death, love Matt to death, but I need two days to myself and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. I need those days to recoup and I need that time to get my mind back together. I need a manicure, I need a pedicure, I need somebody to rub on my body. I need me time. So I want to give women that security and that freedom to know that’s okay, they shouldn’t feel guilty for putting themselves first sometimes.
Parlé: Some people know that you played basketball yourself in college, what position did you play?
Gloria Govan: Point guard. I’m way too short, but I passed. Those girls were towering over me.
Parlé: Was there ever a time when you thought about pursuing it professionally?
Gloria: No, not really, I met Matt my last semester in college, I graduated, it just wasn’t for me. My sister actually went overseas and played, but for me I just knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Not that I wasn’t good, but I just didn’t have the heart. I was like, ‘man I got stuff to do, I’m trying to be cute.’
Parlé: That brings me to your coaching earlier this year, how’d you get involved with the Palos Verdes Girl’s High School Varsity team?
Gloria Govan: My trainer actually got me the opportunity, I sat down and talked to the principal. I was like, I know how to play, but do I know how to coach? And Matt actually helped me out a lot. I’m really stubborn but he’d be like, ‘I know you don’t want to hear this…’ And he’s be whispering in my ears as I’m screaming at the girls. I’m in the game as a player and I’m like, ‘what do you mean you’re tired? We only got 40 minutes left!’ But that was an amazing opportunity. I got into it because of my trainer. He knew one of the gentlemen at the school, they knew I could play and they knew Matt would be involved in terms of influencing them, it was a huge opportunity for high school players to have an NBA basketball player come in and just talk to them and give them pointers. One of my girls got recruited to Pepperdine, one of my girls is going to St. Mary’s in the Bay area, we have some pretty good D1 players. We had a blast, we made it to the state quarterfinals, we placed 5th in the Nike tournament. We were dope. I don’t think I could do it again just because of the commitment, but if I didn’t have anything else going on I could see myself coaching. I fell in love with it and the girls were amazing. I still talk to them and still go to their games. It was from August to March, and I was filming, the boys, it was so much going on. And I wish if I could do it again I wouldn’t have anything else going on so I could dedicate my time. I’ll probably keep in touch with them for the rest of my life.
Parlé: They always say that teachers leave a lasting impression, as a coach what was your lasting impression?
Gloria Govan: I think it was confidence. They had a tough season the season before I came in so what I really had to do and my main focus was rebuilding that fire in them. Trying to make sure they understood what it meant to be an athlete, what it meant to be a student athlete. I think I left with them how to have fun and how to live in the moment, a lot of them were worried about college, and they were freshmen. Not that college isn’t important but if you have fun and you continue to keep your responsibilities as a student athlete, you will go wherever it is that you need to go. That’s what I kept telling them. I guarantee you they will never forget that season. I felt like I built a team.
Parlé: What advice do you have for women overall who want to be in a similar position to where you are?
Gloria Govan: You know what’s crazy, I have 16 year olds coming up to me like, ‘what clubs do you go to to meet basketball players?’ (Laughs) And I’m like, ‘Girl?!’ So many girls and women are like where do you kick it so I can find me a basketball player? I’m like, do you know I knew Matt when I was like 12. I was not booty popping. He did not just pick me up off a pole. That’s not how that happens, and that’s not how 85% of the relationships in the NBA happen. They are high school sweethearts, they met at the coffeeshop, and such and such hooked them up. I’m like, there’s not a meat market, I can’t tell you to go to 3rd and West, between the times of, (laughs). That’s not how it happens. I would just say if this is something you want to do, I guess there are places you can hang out, but I didn’t see my life ending up here. If I could give advice to any women in a position of power, just embrace the power. My biggest thing now especially with the growth I’ve gone through is my independence and keeping my individuality. I’m with Matt but we are two very different people and we hold two very different plans so my biggest thing for women in general is to continue to be strong. And you don’t have to be so, you know, hard, where you can’t let love in, but you definitely have to keep yourself as a priority. Whoever comes, whether its an athlete or a garbage man, that’s whoever comes, that’s what relationship you’re in. And just know that, there’s not a place where you can go and athletes come and scoop you up. That place doesn’t exist. I had braces. Matt’s six years older than me, he thought he was too cool for school. This just happened and I love stressing that. As a woman I guess having an influence, I’d say women just need to be themselves first and not look for a man to take care of them. If you take care of yourself, you’re going to attract men.
Parlé: On a totally different note, I know you have your nonprofit, Athletes Versus Cancer, tell me a bit about that.
Gloria Govan: Athletes Versus Cancer is a foundation Matt and I started, his mom had cancer, she had four different types of cancers and she passed away 26 days after she was diagnosed. And it was just a crazy downward spiral, it happened in the beginning of his second season with the Golden State Warriors. We had just started talking before that so to kind of take over and try to fill that void and be there for him, Matt and I realized that we don’t ever want anybody to go through that. Having been affected by cancer, my mom being a breast cancer survivor, my dad being a prostate cancer survivor, Matt’s mom passing from cancer, soooo many people have been affected by it. We didn’t realize it, Matt’s mom was the first time it directly affected us, we had always known someone who knew someone, but when it hit home we were like, ‘this feeling is terrible!’
So I think with Athletes Versus Cancer we just wanted to use our influence and our awareness to bring some sort of action. How is this affecting so many people and how is it even still possible?! We wanted to bring athletes together, we do an annual golf tournament or some type of event to raise money for the cause. Our next thing too is to start talking to children who have lost parents to cancer or a parent to cancer, because that’s tough. Losing a parent in general is tough, but not understanding cancer is even harder. That’s one of our next things, to start developing scholarships for kids that have lost a parent to cancer.
Parlé: The entire journey so far has been full of surprises, but if you could write the script for the next year or so, where do you see yourself?
Gloria Govan: In a year I definitely want to see myself in at least two big screen feature films. I want to continue to do philanthropy and work with kids. I don’t know where reality tv will be for me. If its in the cards, cool, if its not, I’ma work with that too. Matt and I are working on our own production company, we’re developing a television series. For Matt and I that’s really important, for people to see us in a light other than the one that we’re in, basketball player and a reality star. And to also extend my brand, and the extend this 15 minutes into at least 20, maybe 22. I’m hoping I’ll be on top, but we live in L.A., a bucket full of crabs, everyone is trying to pull you down. I just got to keep my head up and keep moving.
Parlé: Is there a name for the production company already?
Gloria Govan: Okay, get this… Snotlocker Productions! There’s a story behind it. (Laughs). Our kids, they’re four, and they’re super disrespectful. And they’re boys. They’re always kidding around saying, ‘I’ll punch you in the snotlocker.’ So that would be our tribute to them. It’s either that or Double Trouble Productions. Something for our kids. I don’t know why, but I love Snotlocker productions.
Parlé: It sounds great, you should go with it. On that note, any final words you want to put out there?
Gloria Govan: I’m on Instagram and twitter and facebook so I just want to give a special thank you to everyone that encourages me and supports me.
For all PR inquiries contact, Kweisi Gharreau: firstname.lastname@example.org
Images by Reggie Wilson for Parlé Magazine
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