The year is 2009 and I’m on the way to the mall with my girlfriends to get a graphic tee from Wet Seal and a pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. We just spent hours on this new site called YouTube watching the Lonely Island music videos in between memorizing the choreography to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” I’m happy because it’s my freshman year of high school, I’m finally allowed to make a Facebook account, and, most importantly, there’s a new episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta recorded on my family DVR. I come home from the mall, ready to witness the launch of She by Shereé.
Now, almost exactly 13 years since the infamous fashion show without fashions first aired on October 22, 2009, I’m sitting in a coffee shop writing about Shereé trying to pull together a fashion line. Presidents have changed, eight more cities were added to the Real Housewives franchise, Robyn and Juan Dixon divorced and got engaged again, and the second coming of Christ is around the corner — but still no She by Shereé. I encourage everyone to take a moment and think of all the things you’ve gone through in the last 4,692 or so days, because it’s been quite the journey. Shereé can definitely relate, as she’s been fired and rehired from the show three (or is it now four?) times during that period. But 13 years was not enough for a visionary like Shereé to prepare for her debut. I’ve lost my virginity, moved five times, and gotten a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree in that time, but making T-shirts and joggers is hard! I guess this is why, mere days out from her
fashion show presentation, Shereé is scrambling to pull it together.
Back home from Jamaica, the ladies are readjusting to life in Atlanta. Kandi takes Ace to meet with his acting coach, because he’s never too young to miss a bag, and Marlo prepares for the return of her nephews. Thirty days after being evicted, Michael and William come back to Marlo’s ready to prove they learned discipline. She says she’s planning to meet with an “educational aid” and is seeking therapy for all three of them. She makes them a labor-intensive meal of reheated pizza and fried chicken while she watches her assistant help with their homework, a.k.a. a full day of work for Marlo. The boys are happy to be back living in luxury with their aunt, Michael admitting he took having his own bed and a clean shower for granted. It’s unfortunate and uncomfortable that she used her sister’s life as a “lesson” for the boys, but we can unpack that another day.
Drew is recuperating from her ankle injury at home; her stumble in Jamaica led to a complete Achilles’ rupture repair and 20-something stitches, but she now has two strong ankles. Shereé and Sanya visit Drew in her house, a 180 from their stance at the beginning of the season. I’m not surprised, Shereé has allegiance to no one and Sanya flip-flops every episode. They catch Drew up on what she missed at the last dinner of the trip and Shereé tells Sanya that Kenya felt uncomfortable with Ross’ outburst, calling it aggressive. Sanya promptly calls Kenya asking her to explain herself. Kenya comes down with select amnesia and dismisses Sanya’s attempt at a conversation. For Sanya, this is strike three, and she ends the call with a dry, “Bye bitch.”
Kenya, on the other hand, has bigger fish to fry as she helps Shereé with a model call for the presentation, giving us a great “coochie crack” callback from her first time at the Bailey Agency. Shereé’s “fashion show coordinator” Rawan is helping with the model call, although “out of respect for Shereé’s wishes” she kept the IG request for models on the down low… while also tagging Bravo. Sporting a gorgeous Gucci hijab, Rawan is Shereé’s strongest soldier; reminiscent of Sonja Morgan’s enigmatic business partner Gaurav, she’s giving slight snake-oil-salesman energy, reassuring Kenya that everything is more than fine, while for the rest of us nothing is adding up. When Kenya questions why there wasn’t a bigger promo behind the casting call or why they aren’t going through an agency, Rawan has an ironclad, no-nonsense response. They begin to see the models, or as I like to call it, the procession of short queens. The tallest model was maybe 5’6”, but that’s fine because I’m 5’5” myself and we need representation for those of us who struggle to reach the top shelf!
Still healing, Drew attends Ralph’s photo shoot for his book about her son that she isn’t allowed to read but is writing the forward for. He’s giving Kermit the Frog meets Steve Harvey meets Forex trader with a three-piece pinstripe suit and unending rows of creepily white teeth. The book is around 75 percent done, and though Drew was only granted permission to listen to the snippet he shared in Jamaica, in her confessional she claims to now “see the vision” in how this book could help families. He remains firm in his decision not to adopt Josiah, expanding on his reasoning and saying he’s waiting for Josiah to ask to be adopted for himself. He’s been in conversation with Josiah’s biological father, who has attended one (1) of his son’s basketball games. Let’s get the Dad of the Year trophies printed for these two!
Drew’s mom, however, is not with the bullshit. She’s disappointed in her son-in-law’s decisions, not buying the flimsy excuses. She reminds him that Josiah will grow up and remember these moments and there’s a possibility he could have resentment toward Ralph. Not that Ralph cares, or listens to anyone but himself.
Shereé and Drew decide to co-host a joint surprise birthday party for Aquarian babes Kenya and Marlo in an attempt to bring the two enemies together. To avoid as much drama as possible, they plan the party under the pretense that it’s to celebrate Drew’s recovery. Drew decorates her house with streamers, balloons, and a Happy Birthday neon sign. There’s a professional chef, a DJ, and fancy dinner settings — it’s almost as nice as one of the RHOBH children’s after-school playdates.
Shereé arrives an hour late with a paper bag of champagne and a bucketload of excuses. Unimpressed by Drew’s planning, Shereé says she’ll pay a fourth of the invoice and is somehow not at all embarrassed by saying this on camera while wearing a Louis Vuitton frock. She receives a call from a friend in L.A. regarding some of the garments she outsourced for the presentation and finds out the showroom does not have the correct number of pieces and some of the pieces are incomplete. Mind you, this is nine days out from the event. Instead of leaving to handle the mess, Shereé stays at the party, since filming may be the only stable income she has. The ladies, as well as a few of Marlo and Kenya’s loved ones, arrive at Drew’s and await the guests of honor. While waiting for the birthday girls, Shereé tells the women her samples (not the L.A. ones) are stuck in … Alaska?
Once Kenya and Marlo arrive there’s obvious tension between the two and the birthday party shifts into an intervention regarding their animosity. It’s another rehashing of invites to housewarming parties and the plethora of jabs thrown between the two. There’s really no resolution, and I don’t think there ever will be, and I’m sick of writing about it, so let’s move on.
Later, Shereé gifts bubble-wrapped glass box invitations, complete with doll-sized renditions of her designs. Everyone is confused about how she had time and money for these invitations and doll’s clothes but not the actual line, prompting Marlo to say to the table, “I think you really just want to have a party.” She’s not wrong. How does Shereé have these ornate invitations, and claims to have spent a million dollars, but there are absolutely no garments?
There are so many people who would jump at a chance to help Shereé materialize the longest-running Housewives business that never was; I’m sure there’s a wealth of aspiring designers, models, publicists, and advertisers who gladly offer their services to a veteran reality TV star. Does Shereé tap into any of these resources? No. Instead, she meets with Apollo Nida, of all people. Catching up over coffee, Shereé, Apollo, and Apollo’s scarf discuss Tyrone, who Apollo crossed paths with while in the hood scammer section of jail or wherever they were. He gives her the rundown on loyalty and romance in prison, eventually saying that Phaedra “left him to rot.” On next week’s Love After Lockup: Real Housewives edition, we get a Tyrone appearance in the flesh and possibly a fashion show with fashions!
Peach Tea To-Go
• Kenya and Rawan at the model call had me wanting to give Rawan a peach. She didn’t take any of Kenya’s shit and her monotone responses to Kenya’s nit-picking cracked me up. Especially the back and forth after Kenya insists contact information be put on the photos:
Rawan: “That’s fine, it’ll make her feel better.”
Kenya: “Yeah it makes me feel better.”
Rawan: “I’m happy for you.”
Kenya: “I’m happy for me too.”
Bring her to the reunion!
• Speaking of the model call, Shereé’s stomach tattoos peeking over her leggings and Kenya’s confessional saying the only million dollars Shereé has spent was to a collections agency gave me nostalgia for the chaos of the early Housewife days.
• Drew’s scooter and glitter cast is giving Mariah from Married to Medicine a run for her money. I too aspire to have matching casts for my outfits if I ever break a limb.