When it comes to Marlo Hampton, either you love her or you love to hate her. Once a celebrity fashion stylist and boutique owner of The Red Carpet in the “A”, now turned reality TV star as a former cast member of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Hampton is setting the record straight. In a one-on-one we scratch beyond the superficial surface of Marlo and discover more than expected.
Right off the bat Hampton goes hard in the paint. She’s mentioned in the past that people perceive her in a negative light because of scenes they’ve seen her in from RHOA and then go on social media to broadcast their dislike of her. That’s one thing that really gets under her skin. Hampton says,” They don’t even know me, how can they say they don’t like me? The reality show is edited and there’s so much people don’t see.” Although she reveals the real Marlo Hampton isn’t that different from what we see on TV; she speaks her mind, doesn’t sugarcoat things, but she’s also human.
Marlo’s very grateful to Bravo and the opportunities she’s had because of them. While the 2012 episode of RHOA didn’t show Hampton and co-star Sheree Whitfield in their best light as they argued during a trip to Africa; she states the parts where she maxed out her credit card to buy supplies for the children in the school didn’t make it to TV. Everything she did on the show wasn’t all bad. She has no regrets about it however and realizes that drama and ratchetness sells. It’s TV and outside of that, you have to live in your own truth.
Hampton softened when she discussed her past, which included a long stint in the foster care system from age ten to twenty-three when she aged out. Due to abuse and drug use, her mother was no longer able to care for her and Hampton admitted that leaving her family has been the toughest thing she’s ever had to endure.
Life with her mom wasn’t always bad she recalls. She attributes her impeccable sense of style to her mom. “She inspired me. We didn’t have much, but she always made sure I was dressed nicely and she put pretty bows in my hair,” Hampton said tenderly. She revealed that her life was difficult while in foster care and the children at school used to bully her, tease her, and make fun of the clothes her foster parents made her wear. She hated it, but it made her stronger, helped define a better person within and in essence put an edge in her.
Today, Hampton has no regrets about her past. When she’s feeling sad or having a rough day, she goes into her closet and dresses up. “It makes me feel good and takes me back to a happy place in my life,” she says. People like to talk and judge, but no one can walk a mile in Hampton’s shoes. We all have to do what we have to, in order to get through this life and fashion is Hampton’s coping mechanism. It was that passion for fashion that led her to create Glam It Up for girls living in the foster care system. It’s not only a way to give back to an underserved population, but it’s a way to instill self-esteem and self-love in a child that may not have that in her life. Fashion helped Hampton in more ways than one and she’s committed to sharing opportunities with young girls to feel good on the inside and look good on the outside. Her charity hosts events that teach etiquette, hair and makeup skills, and life skills like freedom of debt and financial independence. She wants every little girl in her program to know that they can be empowered to overcome their situation and that their current situation doesn’t have to define their future.
Who knew ‘hard-hittin’, quick to call you out’ Hampton had such a warm and fuzzy side. You see that’s what happens when you judge a book by a very edited cover. But don’t get her twisted, when asked if there was a chance for her and former co-star NeNe Leakes to rekindle their friendship, she replied with a passionate, “NO! She betrayed me and hurt me too much. But I’m cool with all the other ladies and will be doing a project with Cynthia Bailey at the Bailey School of Modeling on February 28th.”
So what’s next for Hampton you wonder? She was tight-lipped, but hinted around at a new book, another TV show in the works, additional events hosted for the girls with Glam It Up and of course more fashion! Seems like Hampton has her hands full reintroducing her brand. One thing is certain; no matter what Hampton does… she’s going to make it fabulous!
When she’s not working, she loves spending time with her family and friends, vacationing in her hometown of Florida as well as overseas in Paris. And it would be an understatement to say her favorite pastime was shopping!
Always the consummate fashionista, Hampton offers you her best fashion tips. She says:
“For women, always have a nice black dress in your closet and heels. A good pair of heels will change your life.”
“For men, you can’t go wrong with a nice crisp, clean white button down shirt. You can dress it up or dress it down.”
This season she’s been rocking her favorite accessory that she gifted herself—a Burberry monogrammed poncho. Hampton also shares, “Whatever your personal style is—own it. Don’t be afraid to show your style.”
Images by Rob Ector