When the world first met socialite and real life basketball wife DeShawn Snow in the debut of Bravo TV’s Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2008, we were ready for major drama. But by the end of the first season, the supremely mellow Snow was ousted for being too normal. Fast forward to 2012, and Snow has coped with more off-screen drama in the past two years than anyone could script for television, even for a reality show.
Despite a very public divorce from now retired NBA player Eric Snow, DeShawn has managed to pick up the pieces for herself and her family in the most positive ways. And it didn’t hurt that she succeeded in dropping over 30-pounds at one of the most difficult times in her life.
Since her departure from RHOA, DeShawn has been building up her DeShawn Snow Foundation, which focuses on mentoring tween and teen girls. She launched a children’s book line, Lil Shawnee, promoting self-esteem for girls at even younger ages. Additionally, Snow has an adult book, a teen book series some television production plans and more in the works, all while taking care of her three growing boys.
In this exclusive interview, UrbLife.com puts DeShawn Snow in our Parent Trap to discuss the challenges of family communication through divorce, managing personal business with her sons before the blogs get ahold of it, the inspiration from relatives for writing her books and more. Read on…
Tell us a little bit about your kids. How old are they and what are your greatest joys about having them?
Deshawn Snow: I have three boys and they are 10, 13, and 9. The greatest joys… that unconditional love we have for each other, especially during this last year and everything. They are like my rock, they are the one solid thing. In life sometimes people go through things, they have their children and say, “This is the one thing I did right.” I thank God for these blessings.
Considering that your oldest is already a teen and your other two aren’t far behind, do you have any apprehensions about the hormonal teen thing?
DS: Oh yeah! We are going through that now. He just turned 13 in October. I didn’t have any brothers, I have all sisters, I am a girly girl and I am not that experienced with teen boys, and it’s totally different. He went from not caring about how he looks to being totally into what he wears, and is definitely into the girls. He’s so opinionated. He’s a typical teen from what they say.
Girls go through changes, but it’s definitely different from boys.
DS: It’s definitely different. It just seemed like he grew overnight. He’s as tall as I am now; his voice is deeper. I can still look in his face and see my little baby. We have a good relationship, [but] of course he’s closer with his father. Eric and I do share custody, so the boys go back and forth between houses week to week.
Actually, EJ stays longer with Eric because he’s at this stage where he needs to spend more time with is father. Aside from Eric being able to relate to him as a young man, he can help him manage sports and school.
On Real Housewives of Atlanta, you struck me as a girl’s girl. You like being out with your girlfriends, you love your charity work, and things that are very social about being a woman in general. So when you are out with your boys, what are some activities you do with them that might compromise what you like to do as a woman?
DS: Well, if we are out playing sports, obviously. I never played sports in high school or anything like that. I’ve been around it enough, so I sort of learned to play the game by default. They are always laughing at me – it’s always comedy hour when we all get together.
We definitely have different views on the ideal day so we have to compromise. I like to go bowling, to the movies, little things like that. They prefer to go to the park, play ball, etc. So we talk about it.
Unfortunately your marriage ended, but you are working things out [to move on]. What has the growth process for you been like, and how have you talked to your kids about the separation and pain they might go through?
DS: What I think I’m trying to teach them is that things happen in life. It might throw you for a loop, it might knock you down, but the key is to get back up and to keep going through it. Ultimately God is in control of everything. So even if you don’t like what’s going on and it sucks, God never ends on a negative note. So it’s the end of your chapter, but not the end of your story.
Fortunately they get to spend equal time with their father. When they are with me, I am forced to get up and do what I have to do. When they are not with me, I can have time to process things in my own way and go through what I need to go through, It’s impossible to mask my feelings all of the time around them. They certainly can sense that mommy is sad sometimes, but they also are learning that they have to get out and do whatever they need to do, regardless of what is going on.
It’s got to be hard to have some of your life played out on TV and on the internet, and to have gossip spread about you. How do handle that with your kids? Do you have discussions with them or do you try to shelter them?
DS: When Eric filed for divorce, we talked to the kids first, because we knew it would be part of the media. Since my oldest son is in middle school, it affected him the most. Initially, he was having issues at school because people were saying things. But we were honest with him and he knew what was going on.
Even though the stories reported were not factually correct, we explained to him that people were going to form their own opinion regardless and there was no need to defend himself, his father, or me-just as we didn’t go on twitter or blogs to defend ourselves.
Let’s talk about your books. What were your focus groups to get the stories together?
DS: I have nieces and friends who have girls, not to mention I have boys in the same grades that the books target; so I understand the level of peer pressure and the type of things girls are exposed to at much earlier age. I felt it was necessary to start planting seeds in girls younger than the girls I serve in my foundation.
Do you see yourself continuing on with the series? What’s your goal with these books?
DS: Absolutely. My ultimate goal is to have a full line of chapter books. I got the first three out, but I want to put one out every six months or so. One or two a year. I also want to have a merchandise line and an animated series. Those are my ultimate goals.
What are some things you want to do within the next couple of years for yourself?
DS: I would like to expand the Lil Shawnee brand with additional books, a merchandising line, and an animated series. Additionally, we are currently pitching my adult book Drawing Strength, and teen book series, Vanderbilt High, to different publishers, so I hope to have a home for those soon.
I also have television projects that I am pitching, so I hope to be back on TV. Through these various platforms I can continue to empower, encourage, and enrich the lives of girls and women.