In light of the recent announcement of the impending divorce of Kordell and Porsha Stewart, stars of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” therapist Dr. Shatavia A. Thomas of drshayspeaks.com weighs in on setting expectations for personal relationships.
1. Know yourself. Reality television broadcasts an interesting mix of entertainment and everyday life. The very notion of entertainment (including filtering through the lens of networks, producers, makeup and hair consultants) creates the risk of exploitation of a certain part of your personality and character. Know when and how to stay true to your values. Understand the risks and benefits of being associated with a reality television show. Know the distinctions between the “you” in real life and the “you” on television (your genuine, authentic self vs. your on-camera, co-created persona).
2. Know your relationships. In order to thrive in the entertainment industry using reality television as a platform to establish or sustain career success, you must weigh the potential impact on the relationships with your family and friends. Consider issues such as trust, mutual respect, work-life balance and other values and strengths. Facilitate conversations with your loved ones about how the time commitments, editing and slant of the show will affect your rapport. Establish boundaries so that you all are on one accord about how to deal with addressing news stories, social media, etc.
3. Handle your business. If hindsight is 20/20; foresight is 40/40! Reality television is a business, an industry. Develop a supportive, experienced professional team that has your legal, financial and personal interests at heart. Read your contracts before signing, understand the expectations of the network, production companies, etc. Know your rights concerning your likeness, image, claims, and financial worth.
4. Know when to say when. Because of the short seasons and plethora of competition, most agree to do reality television as a means to an end. Although seasons get renewed, cast members come and go. Know your deal breakers, have an exit strategy and plan for the future! –dr. shay
Dr. Shatavia A. Thomas, LMFT