The Westbrooks transition from social media vixens to reality TV queens

Words by Kacie Whaley; Images by Dallas J. Logan

The Westbrooks’ empire all began with a few flirty social media pictures. India Love Westbrook, 19, began posting selfies on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Not long after, she gained million of followers, which made several bloggers begin to take note of the young model in 2012.

In the midst of India’s popularity, her now million plus followers became curious about her four older sisters — Crystal, 22; Morgan, 25; Brooke, 27; and Bree, 22. Soon after, all of their social media spaces became Internet hot spots.

Coming from the gritty streets of Compton, California, the tight-knit siblings knew that if they acted fast, they could capitalize off the enormous amount of attention they were experiencing. So, the girls posted hundreds more photos that had the right lighting, the right poses, flaunted enough skin, and were guaranteed to attract all eyes on them.

Now, the siblings’ strategic moves have paid off in the form of a combined two million-plus Instagram followers and a new reality show on BET. “The Westbrooks,” which began its first season in fall 2015, focuses on the strong bond and drive of the sisters and also features their two brothers and parents. Viewers get a peek inside the Westbrooks’ tireless grind with the goal of building a Kardashian-like family brand.

Though the sisters, who are of Black, Creole, Indian and Mexican descent, have similarities, they’re definitely individuals with their own unique experiences, aspirations and character.

India strives to be a pop culture icon. Brooke and Bree are both mothers to young children. Morgan has a boss attitude and runs a tanning salon. Crystal is the private, but sweet sister.

Between a reality show and growing stardom, the Westbrooks are on the path to becoming a world-famous family and top brand. Get the inside scoop on how they plan to blow up, straight from the beauties’ mouths.

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You guys have been called the “first family of social media.” Is this a title that all of you proudly claim?

Morgan: Yes. That’s our platform, so to be the first is a win all around.

What changed in social media for you to feel comfortable opening up your homes to millions of viewers around the world?

Morgan: To me, it seems like people don’t open up a book anymore or watch TV. Everything revolves around social media. It’s what’s poppin’ right now, so if that’s where everybody’s at, then that’s where we need to be.

When asked to do the show, did you have any friends or family who were against it?

Crystal: My mom was at first. She was like, “I am not about to be on TV. No way!” Now, she is starting to like it. She didn’t understand it and really likes her privacy.

What’s changed for the family since you’ve been in the spotlight?

Bree: We don’t have privacy anymore. Our privacy is shot. You can’t go to the grocery store without someone wanting a picture. It can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes be a bad thing.

Morgan: It gets overwhelming at times. The hate is getting stronger and stronger every day. Every morning, you wake up and see something new about yourself that you never knew about. That is kind of boring.

How are you all handling the criticism?

India: The key is not to take the criticism.

Bree: Don’t read it.

Crystal: Don’t take things personal from a person who doesn’t know you personally.

During the photo shoot, I noticed you have a tight family bond. How do you maintain the sisterhood and not get swept away by the fame?

India: I think that [bond] was built in us as we grew up. My mom and dad empowered us to stay together. We’ve carried that our whole lives, and we are stronger as a unit, so we take advantage of that.

Morgan: It’s not easy. We are sisters and we love each other, but it is not easy. One is missing and now and we have some issues, but if we call her for a photo shoot in a couple of days, she will be here. With the love that we have for each other, there is no one that can come in here and tear us down.

How do you plan to build your own personal brands aside from the Westbrook brand?

India: I think it made it easier for us because we started off as a unit and branded our last name. That is something we all carry, so now all we have to do is branch off and put our own style to it. We are now venturing off and doing what we love.

Morgan: Honestly, if one of us is winning, then we are all winning. If one of our brands is a little bit stronger, then they’ll help the other person.

Would you advise others to do what you all have done and go the same route?

Morgan: Definitely, because the love of the family will always win. You will have friends and enemies that will stab you in the back, so I advise families to stick together. Know who your family is and love each other. At the end of the day, that is all you have.

For the young women who look up to you all, what is one piece of advice you can give them?

India: Confidence is very important. Nobody cares until you win, so win.

Crystal: Be you.

Morgan: If someone tells you that you can’t do something, you really can. As long as you love what you do, then got for it. That is what I feel like I did. I just went for it.

What is one thing about the Westbrook family that nobody would know about you guys?

Morgan: It’s all on TV. You see a lot in the show. We are a big Christian family. We pray and go to church. My mom always dabs us on the head with holy oil. Jesus got our family.

Crystal: When I am in town from school, I stay in Morgan’s bed and she will lay in the bed with me. That’s a secret. Sometimes, it’s just us three in the bed.

What was it like growing up as sisters? Was there ever tension in the house?

Bree: It was really fun. Morgan beat all our a–es.

Morgan: I just think that it’s really fun, but at the same time, it can be a headache.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

Morgan: I want to empower women a lot more. I want them to see from the show how my sisters and I empower each other. I want women to empower women.

Bree: I want to brand our last name. I think that will make our family very proud. I think that will be legit.

India: I want to personally take over Rihanna. I love Rihanna, but I am ready to take her place and that is where I am headed. I will be there one day.

Crystal: I want the world to be more positive. I just want people to love each other.

Catch “The Westbrooks” every Wednesday at 10 p.m. EST on BET.

Go behind-the-scenes with the first family of social media, The Westbrooks, on the set of their exclusive cover shoot with Rolling Out.

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