Season 3 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) premiered this week on Bravo. Why, you might ask, are we covering a reality show that features more catfighting and hair pulling than a prize-off between Kenneth Kratz and Jack Camp?
Because the new season brought with it a new cast member who is not only a southern belle, but is also the managing partner of her very own
boutique tiny law firm. She describes herself as fabulous, fierce, and beautiful. She’s even been nominated as one of Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence for 2010.
Most importantly, she knows she can have it all.
Meet Phaedra Parks, a graduate of Wesleyan College, University of Georgia School of Law, and an entertainment Super Lawyer! To listen to Phaedra, you’d think she was a direct descendant of Johnny Cochran. He’s the one who told her to hang out her own shingle — though it’s unclear if Cochran was suffering the effects of his fatal brain tumor when he made this suggestion…
Phaedra eschewed a career in Biglaw because she didn’t want to “stifle the essence of who Phaedra is.” Phaedra and I are like two peas in a pod — I didn’t choose a career in Biglaw because there is nothing more essence stifling than being able to pay your own rent.
Although one of her RHOA co-stars claims that she is lacking in fabulosity, Phaedra has represented clients such as Jazze Pha, Too $hort, Jermaine Dupri, and Bobby Brown. Yep, Phaedra likes to make her own decisions – that’s her prerogative. Phaedra has also served as a legal analyst on NBC and Fox News. Cable news networks will let just anybody on their air.
So, why is she on RHOA this season? Isn’t this supposed to be a show about wives?
Well, she’s married to a man that is seven years her junior who also happens to be an ex-con, so I’m sure that helped her case with the producers. Hello ratings. At least she isn’t bankrupt.
Phaedra’s husband, Apollo Nida, was convicted under Georgia’s RICO statute and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. After serving approximately five years in the slammer, Apollo was granted parole on May 27, 2009. Within six months of his release, Apollo and Phaedra were married and expecting a baby.
Phaedra claims to have met her husband in 1995 before he started his crime spree, but I much prefer the shotgun wedding scenario. Of her husband, Phaedra says that “he signed a pre-nup, so I know he doesn’t want my money, he wants me.” Yes, he wants you — and some free legal advice.
Like countless other Tier 1 graduates, Phaedra is an ex-pageant queen, making her the perfect picture of southern hospitality and etiquette. On the premiere of the show, Phaedra delicately advised one of her clients not to “stoop to any hood rat type levels” with regard to a contract dispute. Oh, what beauty and grace! And what genteel client counseling skills! She obviously picked those up on the pageant circuit.
She may be a member of the Junior League of Atlanta, but don’t make her angry – you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry. On her debut on the show, a very pregnant Phaedra was filmed admonishing someone, telling him that she would “get out of this bed, put on some pumps, walk to any court room, and try a case any day of the week. Don’t play me, because you’re playing yourself.” Oh snap, girl.
So, like many people who have opened up their own law firms, Phaedra is worried about her work-life balance. She wants to be a mom, but doesn’t want to feel like she’s trapped. It’s too bad that Phaedra didn’t choose a career in Biglaw – she could have been lactating in luxury.
Will you be tuning in to watch Phaedra’s dirty laundry be aired on national television? I know I will!
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of reality t.v.