Last week I spoke with Lea Black. We featured the first part of my fantastic interview on Sunday, but here is part-two. Lea talked Real Housewives of Miami, her friendship with Adriana de Moura, and what went so wrong between her and Marysol Patton. She also gave her opinion on all the drama with Karent Sierra.
In addition to be a Housewife (and housewife), Lea is also an author with her first novel coming soon, a serious philanthropist, and a skin care maven. Lea is frank, funny, and exactly as she comes across on the show – meaning she's very 'take me as I am' and very fun.
An excerpt from our conversation is below.
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Lea revealed she joined the show to bring more awareness to her annual charity event, The Black Gala, but then the show "took on a life of it's own."
I asked Lea if she believed the charity was positively effected by RHOM. "In some ways it did," she shared. "Some of the sponsors were happy so they participated again this year. The charity will be showcased a little bit more prominently this year – at least I'm hopeful that it will."
Can you give us a little insight on the all the drama with Marysol
"The Elaine factor of the drama is separate from my issues with Marysol. Elaine not being on the red carpet was not anything [that] I was really bothered by because last year Adriana wasn't on it when Marysol was working the carpet and she was upset."
"That trivializes the issue because, they're volunteers and as much as I would like them to be on the carpet our primary focus is taking care of the donors who give the big, big money and the celebrities who perform for free. And then, after that, the volunteers. They should be doing it for the right reasons and hopefully they get what they want out of it as well."
What is your relationship with Marysol now?
It's difficult when people don't want to take responsibility for things and so they always want to blame someone else. It would have been very easy for this to go away, but, you know, her friend [referring to Ana Quincoces] bringing up things to me put me in a position to tell my side of the story. And so once I'm in a position to tell my side of the story and facts are on my side then I'm gonna do that and honor that. People sometimes don't want information to come out.
I didn't have an agenda to bring it up. It was history to me – I was way past it. But her friend on the show started making false accusations against me and of course I defended the charity. I've been doing this charity for 19 years.
[This charity] it just gets harder and harder every year. I need everything working with me, and I don't need anything working against me. Anytime I see an issue I try to nip it in the bud. That's just how I am basically in my life, but if someone won't drop it and continues to bring it up or continues to justify something then it puts me in the position to keep the conversation alive.
On her friendship with Adriana; I asked Lea if the show has changed their friendship:
"I first met Adriana when our sons went to school together and they were playing tennis together and I got to know her while the kids were playing. I found her in a horrible situation where her husband had cheated on her, gotten a young girl pregnant and she left. And she was living in her art gallery. I just felt it was so unfair. I decided to do what I could to help her. And then we became friends. I always kinda feel, I guess in a way, like a big sister to her.
Has it changed? You know I feel anytime you're on these shows your relationships change. There's more interaction. I think it brings out the best and the worst in everybody. I've had some minor conflicts with her and I've had some great moments with her. But, you know, my nature is that what I think and what I feel is just out there. I don't hold back. So I'm not a phony friend. If I'm not happy about something I let you know. If you need my help, I'm there for you.
As for friendships ending because of the show, Lea explains, "That's the risk you take, but I think what allows that to happen is when people don't have honest, adult conversations and they just let things build. And that's not something that normally happens with me."
"With Adriana, many times we've had some straight conversations and I've said some things maybe she didn't want to hear, but she always knew that I was coming from a place of what I thought would be best for her and it was never anything other than really truly having her best interest at heart and her son's best interest at hear. So I think our friendship has probably developed better and stronger through the show."
Do you feel you are accurately represented on the show?
"I think yes and no. I'm always willing to stand accountable for what I say and do. But the show is only an hour long and there's eight characters. So they can't put everything in the show. This isn't the Lea show. But I think there were some moments that I would have liked to have been shown that weren't shown."
What is going on with the drama with Karent?
"Well, that's one of the moments I wish had been shown! (Laughs). When I first met Karent, she was very loud and kind of all over the place. She sat down by me and I said, 'Listen: I've said some things about your chattering getting on my nerves and I just want you to hear that from me before you hear it from anybody else.' And she said, 'I respect that.' and I gave her a hug and that was it."
"For whatever reason her behavior really pushes a lot of people's buttons. Everybody's got something to say about Karent! I somewhat find it a little humorous to watch. On the other hand I feel like the punishment that they give her does not fit the crime. How far are you gonna go to somebody because you don't like what they said or did or their personality or their smile? I kinda feel bad for her. I think the more they piled on, the more I supported her."
"I don't get that invested over someone's behavior. I overlook behavior, which is really evident based on the company I keep. Which I get a lot criticism for too! (Laughs)"
What is your perspective on the tension with Lisa?
"To my face, she was always friendly and everything was always cool and fine. And then I see the show and I'm like, 'Wow! Why was she always sitting on all this pent up anger?' Why didn't she just say to me, 'You know, you hurt my feelings or you dissed me, or I don't really like how you are, or whatever.' But she didn't. She didn't say one word to me, she just said it all in her interviews and her blogs."
"I don't hold it against her because I don't think she's malicious. She could have come to me at anytime and I would have welcomed her with open arms to tell me any issues she had with me. I don't know! It's funny, in a way, to watch!"
"There's so much over-reaction. And to let that continue like that. In a way, it's heartbreaking. I really don't fault her for it, I'm confused by it. I didn't have any idea that she didn't like me, that she was talking behind my back, that she had all these issues with me or anger about me. I've never had a clue until I saw it myself."
Do you think you stay out of drama?
'I love watching the drama! I'm not trying to stay out of the drama, but I also don't place as much importance on things as other people would place on them. So what someone else might consider a huge event in their lives, it went right past my radar. So I just am who I am on the show. I don't think ahead about what I'm going to do, what I'm going to say. I just work the show into my life. I didn't work my life into the show. If you're going to try and be something you're not, don't be on reality TV!"
Finally, I asked Lea about what other projects she has outside of the show.
"I've had a skincare and cosmetics company since 1984. I still have that company. I've added new, cutting edge state-of-the-art products to that line in the last two years."
In addition to Sudden Youth Skincare – and her charity The Consequences Foundation – Lea's other products include handbags and "I can't deal with stupid." pillows. Lea also writes a political blog for The Huffington Post and has been for four years. She says she's "very opinionated about how our government should work."
Lea is also a novelist whose first book is tentatively titled, Lea's Little Black Book. "I wrote it myself, but I now have an editor going through it. It's about Miami social life and it's a kind of a Jackie Collins/Jaclyn Susan type book about socialites in Miami. And the characters are somewhat camouflaged. It's just kind of a fun read. It's comic relief."
There's no Housewives in this book – but Lea promises in the next one, which she already has in her head.
And finally, tonight is an all-new episode of RHOM where the ladies discuss the drama from Lisa's party! And it's also the night this year's Black Gala will be featured.
As always, we'll be live-tweeting. Cocktails and ballgowns at the ready. So join us and lets all pretend we're paying $2000 a plate to watch Queen Latifah sing and the ladies of RHOM cause trouble in evening gowns.
[Photo Credit: jlnphotography/WENN.com]
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF LEA'S TAKE ON ALL THE DRAMA?